Considering all the ways to draw attention to your content, one underutilized tactic can help you get more out of your creative efforts: historical optimization.
Historical optimization involves updating published content to give it new life and longevity. This powerful tactic exploits everything you’ve done. All the carefully crafted content for your website can be used over and over again to engage readers with updated information, improve search visibility, generate organic traffic money and increase the return on your content marketing investment.
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Successful history optimization example
Take a look at a blog post I published in 2014, How to showcase your content to editors . Through 2021, content will rank lower in search results, which naturally leads to a decrease in organic traffic to articles. People have stopped interacting and calls to action embedded basically doesn’t work.
We did a content check overall and realized that the site covers 2014 and two similar blog posts on the subject. (The latter two combined less than 1,000 views, 1 new contact form completed, and no new customers.) Instead of continuing to split traffic across three pages, we merged content into an updated, in-depth blog. We redirected the original URLs for two similar articles to the URL of the updated in-depth blog post. We added hyperlink into other relevant content on the site, include in this section up-to-date keywords, optimized call to action our site to be more visible and direct, and add new information.
Result? After five months, the updated blog post has yielded 7,600 page views and 26 new contacts. It starts to rank for highly relevant keywords; moreover, it affects a sale. We took old assets, added minimal new effort, and achieved new gains in our most impactful performance metrics.
A historical optimization resulted in combining three old posts into one in-depth new version, delivering massive #ContentMarketing results, said Tony Patrick of @InfluenceandCo via @CMIContent @Aprimo. Click to Tweet
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How to implement historical optimization
Here are a few basic steps to practice historical optimization in your content marketing and reap every last drop of ROI from your website content:
1. Perform content check
You won’t know where to start with historical optimization if you don’t know how your content is performing. You need to perform a content check to identify potential pockets.
List existing content. Next to each item, record engagement data, such as search rank, CTA click-through rate, organic traffic, bounce rate, etc. You can see what works well, gaps in topic coverage and an opportunity to hone your articles into a content hub.
But don’t just look at your own content. Dive into the top ranking pages for key word you want to rate for. Use this information as a guide to what kind of information should be included in your updates.
2. Select a few parts to update first
During your content audit, you may have discovered many pieces that could use some sort of optimization. But try to update everything at once, you’ll get confused and overwhelmed, and it’ll be hard to notice which incremental changes move the needle. Start slow and small.
Choose one or two articles to start your efforts and the end target for content. You can choose a post that still gains traffic and update its language, so that readers don’t encounter outdated information. Or you can choose to rank posts in search results that don’t lead to long-term engagement on your site. Trying to focus on conversions? Choose content updates that encourage users to download resources or submit forms and encourage them to take action.
3. Performance measurement before and after the update
Just as you need to perform tests to see how your content is performing, you also need to measure the impact of updates to see if they’re valuable. Think of it as a science experiment. You have a hypothesis about optimizing existing content, but until you see the data difference between old and new posts, you won’t be able to prove your hypothesis.
What happened when you updated the content on the page? Are conversions increasing? Is the work’s engagement starting to match its search engine ranking? Patient. Seeing better results won’t happen overnight.
Set yourself a reminder to analyze performance over time so you can understand which tactics are making the biggest impact. For example, you can check your progress incrementally after one, three, six, and 12 months.
In the image below you can see how we measure the progress of our updated posts based on our results tracked through HubSpot such as new form submissions, new contacts, visits view pages, etc. and Moz, such as page permissions, domain links and incoming links. Record the stats on a spreadsheet that allows us to track results over time easily. We mark improving indicators in green and descending indicators in red.
Historical optimization is a bold yet repeatable way to increase your content marketing ROI. Unleash that wealth of content simply sit on your website and take action to generate more engagement, increase conversions and CTR, and see the tangible progress of your content contributing to business goals. your business.
Cover photo by Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute