It may still be winter, but I have already started doing some spring cleaning around my house. I have been cleaning out my closet and have been amazed at what I have found. There were clothes in there I had not seen in a while or had completely forgotten about. A few pieces I knew I would never wear again, but there were some I could not wait to wear again. Many of them needed to be washed and ironed before I could show them off in public though.
If you are a blogger, now is a great time to clean out your blogging closet too. If you have been blogging for a year or longer, there are probably some older posts that could be refreshed, updated or recycled.
This week I started going through my old posts. A few of the first posts I wrote made me cringe. They needed to be refreshed and updated just like my clothes. A few of the posts made me smile as I had forgotten about some very creative and fabulous content (if I do say so myself) that I published back before anyone was really even reading my blog.
I am working on updating those posts, adding new images, updating SEO and no indexing low quality content so that I can start (re)sharing them on my social media networks over the next couple months. Not only will this increase traffic to my site and improve SEO, it also gives me great content to share when I may not have time to post something new for a couple of days.
Do you need to clean out your blogging closet too? Here are a few tips on how to refresh your blog by updating and recycling your older content and what you can do from here on out to help improve your blog’s content, SEO and social media reach:
1. Make sure your posts are all categorized correctly and have relevant tags added. This helps with SEO, helps your readers find related content and if you use a related posts plugin it will help it pull posts that are actually related. Keep your categories simple and limited (depending on your niche you should have around 10-30 categories, the fewer the better though) and then use tags to deeper categorize your posts.
2. Make sure your posts have a quality image attached that is SEO optimized. Make your images more efficient and ready for pinning by adding text with the name of the post & your website / watermark. Pinterest is becoming my #2 traffic source so I am going back through all my old posts and adding Pinnable images. Check out this article from Social Media Examiner about how to create Pinworthy Images.
ALSO – make sure you make your images SEO optimized by filling in the title and alt information in the html description for the image that includes the title of the post and with relevant keywords. When you include the title attribute, Pinterest will show whatever you put as the title when someone goes to pin the image and search engines bots will also index the image based on what you include in the title attribute. The alt attribute tells search engines what the image is as well as they can’t “see” the image, but they can “read” the title & the alt attributes (alt means alternate description). Also if your server isn’t showing the image for whatever reason, the alt description will show up so the reader will know what the image was supposed to be.
3. Check for broken links and fix them. Use this Broken Link Checker site to search your site for broken links. Also look at your crawl errors in Google Webmaster Tools to see what pages or links Google cannot crawl and work on fixing those. It can take a while to fix all the broken links, but this will help your page rank.
4. Make sure your monetized links are all nofollow. Per Google’s Policy, all paid links need to be marked as nofollow. This means any links for affiliate offers, paid posts, sponsored posts, advertisements or anything you made money from or could make $ from if someone clicks it. To do this, just go to the HTML editor and after the link, add rel=”nofollow” For instance- <a href=”http://samplelinkhere.com” rel=”nofollow”> This tells the search engine bots that this link is paid link so they know to index it correctly.
5. Update the SEO for your posts, make sure your title is SEO friendly, you have a good meta description filled in and the appropriate keywords. Remember your posts should have at least 200 words to be considered quality content and indexed by Google. If you have posts that are less than 200 words or low quality (like group giveaway posts), you should noindex them. (On your post editor there should be an option in the SEO settings at the bottom to noindex the post). Only do this for low quality posts that you can’t improve. If you can re-write the post, add more solid content to it and make it quality, then do that instead. Be sure to rebuild your sitemap / resubmit your blog when you finish updating all the SEO in your posts if you don’t have a plugin installed that automatically does that. Check SEOMoz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO and all the SEO Articles on Problogger for SEO tips if you are not really sure what SEO is. I also recommend this SEO Guide for Creative Bloggersm from The Blogging Guide and Brankica Underwood’s (from Online Income Star) SEO Optimization Guides.
6. Also be sure to add links to relevant posts on your blog on the same or similar topics. This will help increase your pageviews and decrease your bounce rate by keeping visitors on your site and clicking to see more of your great content!
7. Find your most popular or favorite posts from the past and begin sharing or re-sharing them on your social media channels. You can also recycle posts on relevant topics. For instance, did you post some stellar Valentine’s Day crafts or recipes last year? Now would be a great time to re-share them. Think about this throughout the year and re-share related content from past years for events, holidays or any current hot topics.
8. Begin posting a daily “100 posts ago” or “on this day last year, we posted” or “from the archives”… on your social media channels to drive readers to your older posts. Your followers may enjoy taking a look back at your older posts too and you will build credibility with newer readers too. Obviously this needs to be an evergreen post and you may not be able to do it every single day.
9. Submit your older posts to new link ups on other blogs. If you didn’t share those posts on link ups in the past or have found news link ups to participate in, why not post those awesome, older posts now on those linkies?
10. Use Hootsuite and schedule your old posts to be published to your social media channels over the next few months. Mix in some of your older content with the newer content to keep a consistent flow of traffic to your site. Scheduling them out a few months ahead of time will help you work smarter, not harder. Many professional bloggers automate up to 80% of their social media sharing.
IMPORTANT INFO: I have had several questions and I wanted to clarify. When referring to resharing content, I do not mean actually re-posting the content on your blog as a new post. This would create duplicate content which is not good for SEO or Page Rank. Also, depending on your permalink structure, just changing the date for the post to republish could cause a broken link, which again is not good. If your permalink structure only has the post name in it, then you would be okay to change the date and republish, otherwise you should not do that. I am mainly referring to re-sharing on your social media outlets, link ups and networking groups.
You may be like me and have a lot of new readers who have not ever seen your awesome, older posts. You may also need to wash & iron your old posts to make them presentable to the search engines and your new readers. Just because your content isn’t brand new, doesn’t mean it isn’t still worthy of showing off! Go ahead and clean out your blogging closet, freshen up your blog and strut your stuff!
PS – One more thing you should do for yourself & your blog is to print and fill out this Blog Information Document and keep up with your domain, hosting and email login and renewal information.
Also, if you are new to blogging or ready to really blog as a business/for an income, check out these 2 eBooks from Problogger.com. Use the code FWOB33 to get $10 off! I recommend the First Week eBook for brand new bloggers and the 31 Days eBook for novice bloggers. Blogging with Amy also has great FREE tips on how to start a blog. I also just signed up for TipJunkie’s Mom Blog to Money Blog Course and have learned so much in just a couple days already! This course packs in way more than you could ever learn at a blogging conference and is laid out so that you can go at your own pace. It is an amazing class and you will get way more than your $’s worth for it!
— Misty Kearns (@ceoofmeinc) February 8, 2013
Image Courtesy FreeDigitalphotos.net / Customized by me