[Step by Step Guide] How To Revive Old Content For More Google Traffic

Filed in Blogging, Case Studies, Content by on May 14, 2016

I'm going to tell you something now that's going to scare you.

Are you ready?

Hold tight...

Your new content is worthless.

Yeah, you read that right. As it stands, right now, your new content - unless it goes insanely viral - is worth absolutely jack shit. Nada. Zilch. Bugger all. Why?

Because your new content isn't supposed to drive you traffic...yet.

It's supposed to add to your site. Build up authority. Get links. Answer people's questions. And then it's supposed to start driving you traffic.

But you're so caught up in getting fresh, new, edgy content out there into the world that you forget your old content even exists.

So, it's time to change that.


What You'll Learn

  • How To Revive Your Old Blog Posts To Boost Your Organic Traffic
  • What It Takes To Create Real High Quality Content
  • A Simple Way To Make Your Site Easy To Crawl
  • How To Get Even More Links To Your Old Content


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The Current (Really Stupid) Way Of Thinking

When you run a niche site you have this exact thought process:

“I’ll write an article. I’ll publish an article. I’ll optimise an article...and then I’ll forget about it forever

By the time you’ve hit publish and shared it a few times, you’re already focused on the next piece of content you’re going to write. Hell, you forget this content ever existed after a few weeks.

But this process, which is the most common in the world , is one of the least effective. Because new content isn’t supposed to drive you traffic , and convert customers, straight away. It’s supposed to do it three, four, five and six weeks down the line when it’s built enough authority to matter.

That’s why creating valuable, evergreen content that solves problems people always have is so important. For example, Buffer stopped posting new content for 30 days in 2015 and barely even saw a change in their traffic:


Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.19.50


What I’m trying to tell you is that all of the old content you have is a goldmine of organic traffic waiting to be accessed. You just need to climb in with your pickaxe and get it out.




"New content is necessary, but it takes far more time to create something new than it does to update and optimise something old"

- Erin Everheart

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How To Update Your Content To Unlock More Organic Traffic

I’m going to be updating my first ever post on Nichehacks, How To Start A Profitable Niche Site For Under $110 ($106.90 To Be Exact), because in comparison to the content that you’re seeing now, it sucks.

Now, before you do update a post, you need to find out what you actually need to update. For every piece of content you update, you should ask these five questions:

  1. Can you make it any more in-depth, interesting or relevant to what’s happening in your niche right now?
  2. Are there any studies, or articles, that have been mentioned that are now dead or out of date?
  3. How up-to-date are your keywords?
  4. Does it fit your current brand standard?
  5. How clean is the code?

For my article right here, it can be improved on all of these fronts.

The article is pretty short (around the 1,000 word mark) so it can definitely be more in-depth and interesting. In fact, it’s pretty short on content all around.

There are few studies, or practical elements to it that are mentioned so they can definitely be expanded upon. In fact, the whole article itself should be a walkthrough and not a bullet point list of what you could do.

The keywords in the article haven’t been updated since the article went live, so there’s definitely room to fit more, or at least more relevant, keywords in there.

It’s also a world away from the brand standards on the site right now. For example, if you were to click on the post right now (well when I was writing this article), you’d see this:


Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 12.21.19


While if you went over to any post from the last year you’d see a much more refined, easy to understand article structure:


Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.04.16


And, as for the code, you’ll see that while it’s not bad, it could be much more refined. Like, there are 28 instances of ‘   ’ in the post, which isn’t doing any favors with Google Crawlers whatsoever:



Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.49.53


Right...looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me then. Let’s get stuck into the meat of it, shall we?


Step #1: Improving The Quality Of Your Content

With this post there are a few things I wanted to focus on:

  • Can I make the content more actionable to you as a reader?
  • Can I make a niche site for even less money?
  • Can I give more depth to each point?


The answer to all of these is yes, I can. And for this article itself I’m basically going to rewrite and update everything, because it’s almost two years old.

Now, I can hear you saying, “Why aren’t you just writing and publishing it as a brand new article?”, to which, I’m going to give you a sexy little quote-box answer:


Why Not Just Make A New Article?

New content is good, but as you saw earlier, it’s not going to benefit me in the same way. This post already has links to it, it’s got social shares and proof, it’s been indexed by Google and is already generating traffic. I just want to make sure it generates more traffic. You dig?

Let me explain it for you using a section of the post. I’ll use this one about designing a logo to give you the gist.

In this first edition of the article, the content is short and to the point. But it doesn’t really answer the question of “How do I get a logo designed?”. I’ve just told you that you can find great designers on Fiverr and that they cost about $5. Great work, James. Sigh. 


Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 12.26.23


There’s also the fact that Fiverr now operates a little differently to the way it used to. The additional extras from designers often cost extra money now, so that piece of content is really out of date.

In the second, newer, version I’ve tackled all of these points and given a visual walkthrough of buying a logo - and how I’ve done it for my own site - to make it more informative and interactive. Here’s how part of that looks now:


Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 12.26.43


Much better, right? Not only does it look better when someone comes across it, it looks like a more comprehensive and complete article.


For Your Content…

Look for opportunities to:

  • Add depth to your point
  • Use visuals, videos, studies or references where possible
  • Ensure content is as up to date as possible


You don’t have to completely rewrite your article like I’ve done, you can just update and change sections that need it. Hell, even just adding in one or two links to newer, more relevant studies is good enough.


Step #2: Create Forward Linking Opportunities

A forward linking opportunity is where you create links to your newer content, that came out after the article was put together, to help keep people on your site.

For example, in this section about SEO, there was nothing on the site about SEO when I wrote that article. Then, over a year later, Jawad created a great SEO checklist that is perfect for someone who’s reading this article. So, I went ahead and added it in:


Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 12.29.16


You can also do this to new content that’s around the web, like when I referenced this study I worked on with CoSchedule. This isn’t just to add extra data to the post…


Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 12.29.29


But so you can reach out to them for link-building and sharing opportunities that will allow you to build the profile of your existing content even more. Meaning you won’t just increase the authority of your post, but of your entire site, too.



"SEO is not always about backlinks, forward-linking and who you link to matters just as much for developing long term authority for your website."

- Jeffrey Smith

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Step #3: Adding Relevant Keywords

Okay, I’m not normally in charge of the keyword stuff at Nichehacks. I leave that stuff to Stuart and the boffin’s who create that stuff.

But, as you saw in this article I do know a thing or two about how to find Keywords and implement them. So, let’s have a crack at this post.

From the link that’s there, I can see that we’d targeted “How To Start A Niche Site” as the focus keyword. It’s in the header, and the body content, so that’s a good place to start.

But as Stuart has said in the past, he’s not been that focused on SEO in the past, so this post was really lagging behind. Thankfully, that’s not hard to rectify.

I just head over to my favourite research tool, Soovle, and type in that set of keywords. And, hey presto, it’s given me a lot more to put in the content, too:


Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 12.31.01


I can instantly look to add:

  • How to make a niche site
  • How to build a profitable niche site
  • How to build a niche website
  • How to build a micro niche site


Into the content straight away, which shouldn’t be too hard. Now I don’t recommend stuffing in loads of keywords at once, but maybe add these extra keywords in once or twice throughout the post to get a nice result.


Step #4: Cleaning Up The Code

Cleaning the code is really simple.

When you see your post in the visual tab in WordPress, hit the Text button next to it, and take a scroll through the code.

Now, you’re probably not a coder - neither am I - so let me tell you what to be on the lookout for, so you don’t feel like you’ll mess up your post. There are two that definitely need to go:

  • <Span> tags


And the rest you can leave in there without worrying about. You don’t need to do this by hand, either, you can just copy and paste all of the text into a Word or Google Doc like this:

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 11.07.05


Then copy and paste one of the tags or pieces of code into the search bar and hit the ‘replace’ button:


Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 11.07.39


I tend to replace with just one single space (by hitting the spacebar) so there isn’t anything there in its place.

Click replace all and you’re done. All you have to do is wash, rinse and repeat until all of your crappy code is gone from the post, then copy and paste it all back into the ‘text’ portion of WordPress.

Once you head back to visual, everything that needs to be there will reappear, don’t worry.


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That's All, Folks...

Want to see the end product? You can check out the page right here!

Here's the process again, in short, for you to read through:

  1. Find An Old Post: Choose one of your old posts that's not driving you much traffic for you to refine.
  2. Improve The Quality: Make your content more in-depth by adding updated research, new information and more actionable advice.
  3. Forward Link: Add links to new external content you can outreach to people about, or add links to your newer content that's also really relevant.
  4. Update Your Keywords: Do you research and find new keyword opportunities in your post.
  5. Clean Up The Code: Remove all the dodgy, crappy code that's in your posts to make it much easier to crawl.

And, that's it, over to you! Let me know how you get on in the comments...


Comments (10)

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  1. Haarwuchs says:

    Hi James,
    please allow me a quick question. When you have done all the enhancements to the old article/post, do you save it with the original publishing date or do you save it with the current date.
    Thanks and have a good sunday.

    • NicheHacks says:

      James is currently traveling in Spain. Doing a trek with no net access so he'll probably not reply. He must have saved it as the original date.

    • Hey,

      Sorry for the delay! Like Stuart said, I'm on a big walk with no access to the Internet (too often anyway).

      I saved it as the original date. I don't know what would happen if I were to change the date, but I'd rather not change it. Unless you were updating a post from a "2016" edition to a "2017" edition for example.

      Hope that helps,


  2. Vrushali says:

    This is a great idea to rewrite your old posts ,as a result it will make your posts SEO friendly and will keep your blog/domain away from Google Panda update Penalty. I do this once in awhile, I thought about going through some of the older ones that I believe would be helpful and plan to reschedule them or post them as newer blog entries. You should change the date to latest date..but don’t dig and bring the oldest article because the user may think you are lagging behind better to update the previous date.

    Also, Interlinking old posts within the new articles will play a major role in proper indexing of those articles. It works most of the time. These old posts have good page rank, so we can share the page rank to other new posts. This will increase the SERP ranking also. I think Related posts and putting them on the sidebar is the best option to get them noticed.

    Really this post will be of great help to make the blog look and behave like a website so that the good content remained evergreen. Thanks!

    • NicheHacks says:

      Thanks for your insights.

      Yeah so far this has been a one off seeing as James was writing a post on it but I would like to update many of the older NH posts for multiple reasons.

      Some are really bare bones and basics. They need more 'meat' in them.

      Some are not to the current formatting or editorial guidelines we use now.

      Bounce rate and time on site can be improved massively by improving intros, content and making them more "step by step" style posts like most of our newer ones.

      Most have no onpage SEO or KW research done and could benefit from it.

  3. david says:

    Following your logic this article is worthless. Why should I read it? I'm tired of reading "unusual" intros and really find old information. Nothing new here... move along.

    • NicheHacks says:

      Plenty of people don't know about this or didn't think about it. So it's new to them.

      And there's NOTHING new written on the internet. Not a thing. Everything has been written about before.

  4. Hi James ,

    You're right . What we bloggers sometime do is just publish content then focus on next fresh content but do not take time to look back on earlier published content.Its far better than to update content which we published because it only takes few time to update and aslo improve ranking in SERP as Google loves updated content.This is what I'm doing now a days Just looking on my published content for udpating.Its helping me .