Most marketing teams are sitting on a ton of old content that isn’t ranking or getting traffic. But this content isn’t a lost cause.
With a bit of know-how you can bring it back to life and get it on the front page.
A little while back, one of our hawk-eyed clients spotted a content refresh opportunity on their website.
They’d published a few pieces of content targeting a high traffic keyword a few years ago. But the content wasn’t performing.
They set us the challenge of helping them to drive much more organic traffic to this old content. No mean feat, considering the keyword they wanted to go after got almost 10K searches a month and was very competitive.
Guess what? We got it to #1 in just seven weeks, as well as grabbing a featured snippet!
Want to find out how? Then keep reading. 👇
As you probably know, we’re a SaaS agency. But we’ve not always been.
We’ve worked with loads of different clients over the years and we still work with some great non-SaaS companies.
Hamilton Fraser is one of them. They provide insurance cover to landlords and we’ve worked with their awesome marketing team since July 2018.
Their content marketing strategy is to give landlords everything they need to know to manage their properties and look after their tenants. Tax, legislation, tenancy agreements, property maintenance, dispute resolution – you get the picture.
The target keyword they wanted to start ranking for was ‘subsidence’, a short-tail keyword with a pretty high keyword difficulty.
If you don’t know, subsidence is when the ground beneath a property sinks, pulling the property’s foundations down with it. This can make the walls and floors shift, leading to cracks in the walls and potentially destabilising the whole property.
It can be a total nightmare for homeowners. Because it’s such a hot topic, our client had already written four posts on the topic.
But there was a problem…
- None of the posts were search-optimised
- They were full of overlapping content
- They were all competing with one another in the SERPs
- They weren’t matching the search intent of the user
Since we started working with Future Content our content strategy has gone from strength to strength. … The guidance from Future Content has been invaluable.
Cate Fairbanks, Marketing, Hamilton Fraser
How we pushed this old content back up the rankings
#1 – Consolidated and redirected the URLs
Our client spotted in Google Analytics that they had five different URLs talking about subsidence.
Having multiple blog posts ranking for the same keyword is something we see a lot, especially when we first start working with a new client.
If a topic is important to your business, your content marketers will naturally want to write about it. But you need to make sure that Google is able to tell the posts apart and index them for separate keywords.
Otherwise search engines won’t know which piece of content to prioritise, which means all of the content in the SERPs for that keyword suffers.
Basically, one killer post that completely nails the topic is better than four or five which are all kind of similar.
Our first step was to consolidate all of that existing content down to one URL:
#2 – Took all of the best bits from the existing content
We then took all of the existing content from those four URLs and consolidated them down to one long form guide that would be the focus of our content refresh.
We chose a Q&A format, because it’s easy for readers and Google to make sense of. We also double-checked the content in the SERPs for this keyword to make sure that we were matching the search intent of the user.
We cut out a lot of old content that wasn’t relevant and made sure that the tone of voice felt consistent throughout, rather than a hodgepodge of different writers focusing on different things.
#3 – Did a ton of research to make sure we hadn’t missed anything
We already had a pretty comprehensive blog post, but we wanted more. We wanted our fresh content to be the most comprehensive guide on the internet.
The guys at Hamilton Fraser had already identified all the top-ranking content for this keyword as part of their research, so we knew what we were up against.
We used Frase.io and SEMRush to identify topics that were related to subsidence but not yet featured in our draft. This helped make sure our content was thorough enough to be super useful for readers and helped Google index it better for organic search results.
#4 – Created unique imagery
We’ve found that creating unique imagery really helps with SEO. So once our draft was ready, our Hamilton Fraser’s design team got to work to create some imagery to illustrate the information we were sharing.
#5 – Optimised the copy
Finally, we did all the standard keyword optimisation stuff you probably already know about making sure we get the right density and incorporated the necessary LSI keywords.
Basically, we went to town. We set out to create the best subsidence resource on the internet and, you know what?
It worked 👍
Want to find content refresh opportunities on your website?
Chances are there are similar opportunities for organic traffic just sitting on your website waiting to be uncovered. If you want to find them, here’s a quick and easy way:
- Jump into a tool like SEMRush and get it to show you the keywords for your site
- Filter the results so you only see keywords that you’re in the top 50 for but not in the top 5
- Filter it again so you only see keywords with a volume of 1,000 or more
This will give you a long list of target keywords with a decent search volume for your editorial calendar. You should be able to improve your rankings for by creating fresh content following the steps above.
It will also show you the URLs that are currently ranking for those keywords. But remember, you need to make sure that your new content matches the search intent of the user.
If you have questions about the content refresh process or anything else mentioned in this post, feel free to drop me a line on LinkedIn or Twitter.