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Content is a big investment for brands. Netflix alone is forecast to spend $17.8 billion on content in 2020. But content is an important investment for businesses of all sizes, from multinational corporations to local mom-and-pop shops. Luckily it’s one that can keep paying dividends long after it was first created. 

Those dividends can include a bump in web traffic, leads, brand awareness, conversions and more. It’s just a matter of updating your old content so that it’s fresh, valuable, and engaging for your audiences. It’s also known as optimizing old content.

What you’ve heard is true. When you optimize old content, it can rank higher in search and boost your numbers across the board. Often brands get more benefit when they take a break from churning out new content to focus on optimizing old content. It’s also cost-effective. All it takes is some special attention and audience research to keep your content evergreen and engaging. 

Ways to Optimize Old Content

There are a number of ways for businesses to successfully optimize old content. They include:

Update Information

Old content often includes information that needs to be updated to optimize it. For example, a website that focuses on restaurants will need to continually update old content to reflect closings, menu changes, and openings. 

You’ve probably noticed that news sites are continually updating old articles as the news develops, and the sources and facts change. It takes less time than writing a completely new article, and it shows your audience that your brand is current. You can compare it to a car engine that needs to be fixed. If it’s a relatively quick and inexpensive fix, it makes more sense to repair it than to buy a new engine.

Use More Relevant Meta Descriptions and Keywords

Another way to optimize old content is by using more relevant keywords and meta-descriptions. Research your audience first to find out the keywords they’re using online to find your products, as well as the products your competitors offer.

Change Your Content’s Design

Things change quickly in the online world. Content design, especially when it comes to elements like calls to action (CTAs) can look dated very quickly. Update your content design if it looks or functions like it was created during another era. Use tools like info-graphics to make information easier for consumers to read and digest.

Include New Products and Services

Updating content to include new products and services should be an ongoing process. The online world moves quickly, and you need to reach consumers before the competition does.

Improve Content Accuracy

As you get new information that affects the subject matter of your content, you should optimize it. Facts like statistics change, as do trends, and your content needs to reflect that. Whether your content is consumer or B2B targeted, your audience needs to see that your brand is ahead of the curve. You can inject new life into old content and boost your brand’s relevance by getting new quotes for it from rising industry leaders.

Compare Traffic to Conversion Rates

Take a look at your old content that has low traffic, but high conversion rates. You’ll want to drive more traffic to that content by optimizing it. Likewise, if content is getting a lot of traffic but has low conversion rates, you’ll want to optimize it too.

Republish Updated Content

When you republish updated content, it ranks higher in search because it appears newer due to its new posting date. Don’t make the mistake of optimizing old content and not republishing it.

Use New Images

You should also update the images you use in your content when needed so that it appears fresh. Think, for example, about optimizing a bio of a celebrity or executive that’s been on your site for a few years. In addition to adding their latest achievements to the bio, you might also need to update the old headshot with a new one. Similarly, as cities featured in your content get new iconic buildings, using new images that include those structures show that your site is current.

Make Your Content More Useful to Your Audience

Look over your old content to see if any important details are missing. Ask yourself what new elements your audience would benefit from. Sometimes things that might seem obvious, like easy-to-find contact information need to be added. 

And consider adding value in other ways, like by making content more entertaining. Online attention spans are short, so you need to grab your audience’s attention and keep it. Consider updating headlines by making them more compelling. You can also optimize content by making it more engaging or interactive by using tools like surveys and maps. 

When you ask your audience questions about their needs and concerns, you’ll also get valuable information about your target market in the process. You can then use this information to optimize old content by adding more questions and answers to your blog’s Q&A page. You’ll also build trust with consumers by showing them that your brand understands what they want.

Use Other Channels and Formats to Repurpose Your Old Content

You might need to perform a bit of surgery on some of your old content to get the best results from it. For instance, you can repurpose an old blog post that’s still relevant and packed with helpful information. When you chop it into bite-size chunks of information for different social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, you’re optimizing it by repurposing it. This can work especially well for numbered lists or those with bullet pointed pieces of info. 

Some content might perform better in a format like video on YouTube or Vimeo or in eBook or podcast format. Do the research and testing to find the combination of these options that works best for your content.

Promote Your Optimized Content

After you’ve given your content a makeover, be sure to promote it. You can do so in a variety of ways, including links, ads, email -newsletters, and social media.

Make It Shareable

When you make your old content easy to share in a number of different formats and channels, you increase your reach. You might have a compelling blog post on your brand’s website that has a high conversion rate. But you’re not getting the most out of it if your audience can’t easily share it.

Optimize Old Content for Mobile

If your content was originally created with a desktop audience it mind, it’s probably time to give it a makeover. With mobile device usage on the upswing globally, more consumers are using their smartphones to search and browse the Internet. 

Limiting old content to a format that isn’t optimized for mobile means you’re missing out on a lucrative, growing market. When mobile users find content that’s difficult to read on their smartphones, they’ll quickly move on to content that’s more accessible to them. Make sure your brand content, including those all-important CTAs, is optimized for mobile.