Refresh, revive, retire: the importance of nurturing content

Sophie Wilkinson

Senior Content Manager

What are the benefits of reviewing content?

If content creation is part of your marketing strategy, chances are you’re sitting on a back catalogue of published pieces.

Nurture this and your content can continue to attract and convert traffic. But let it go to seed and at best you’re wasting money; at worst this could undermine your hard-won brand visibility.

According to a 2019 study by Databox, nearly 90% of marketers found repurposing content more effective (in results as well as time and cost savings) than creating new from scratch.

So, how sustainable is your production programme? Take some time for reflection…

A little attention to refresh and revive content can go a long way to extending its lifespan. Build on what you have and…

  • You’ve got a head start. Updating and promoting evergreen pieces will save you valuable time (in production and sign-off) and money. Keeping track of what you have will also help avoid duplication, which can confuse both readers and search engines.

  • It’ll keep your content relevant. Reviewing evergreen content regularly gives you the opportunity to update sources, references and stats, making your content so much more appealing (and useful) to your readers. This also signals to search engines that you’ve checked in to keep things up to date with the latest information and advice.

  • …And user journeys fluid. Are all links still working? Are there new pages to signpost to readers?

  • You’ll reap SEO results.

  • Rankings. Re-optimising and structuring content, informed by up-to-date keyword and SERP feature research, can increase your search engine visibility

  • That could lead to a traffic boost

  • Build on existing page relevance and authority. Rather than creating a new URL, which will have to work harder to gain authority, updating an existing page will build on any amassed value.  

  • …And business benefit. A combination of sitting higher in the SERPs and content relevancy could increase engagement and conversions.

Regular sweeps of your existing content catalogue will also help avoid the pitfalls of once-and-done content approaches…

What are the risks of not reviewing content?
  • It could go stale. Whether due to a two-year-old timestamp, an out-of-date source or a Google update, old content can drag down your E-A-T (expertise, authority, trust) score - the set of guidelines that Google uses to determine quality content.

  • …And that, in turn, could impact connected content, or even your entire site

  • You might misrepresent your brand. Even if you’ve forgotten about it, if your old content is on the web, it can still be found (that’s the beauty). So if you’ve updated your positioning or brand guidelines, you’ll need to bring existing content in line to avoid giving the wrong first impression.

What kind of content needs a regular refresh?

The best way to prioritise existing content for attention is by auditing based on a measurement framework. Generally, you’ll want to know:

  • What’s ranking and driving traffic, so you can build on success and make sure content on popular pages is up-to-date and fulfilling its potential. And that broken pages or old content can be redirected or archived.

Note: If you have a top-ranking piece of content, chances are your competitors will eventually try and better it. So keep an eye on what others are publishing in this space and revisit your best performers regularly to hold those top spots.

  • How people are engaging and interacting with your content to inform copy, structure and UX changes.

  • And what content isn’t getting the attention it deserves. Particularly evergreen pieces that can be easily refreshed and revived.

One-off content audits can do the job, but building on this and maintaining an inventory will bring greater benefits. (Not least when slicing and dicing by pillar, topic and editorial strand to spot trends in performance).

Within this, mark evergreen content and last publish/review date to help populate production and promotion plans. And highlight specific types of content that will need a regular refresh, such as:

  • Your money or your life (YMYL) pages. Google classifies these as any page that could impact a user’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety (where low-quality content could negatively impact users’ lives).

  • Stat-heavy pieces. People are relying on, and possibly quoting these stats, so keep on top of the latest updates, refreshing when things change. Alternatively, make sure time-sensitive pieces such as reports and news are date-stamped so it’s clear when they were written and that all info was correct at that time.

  • Fast-moving product content. If a product or range has sold out, is there an alternative you can direct users to?

  • Bios. Has your roster of staff or expert writers changed? Making sure your bio page is up to date will help you build trust.  

Next steps

1.Make sure your content catalogue is up to date, recording existing content as well as proposed pieces. Mark evergreen pieces, promotional periods, pillars and topics, and assign each a refresh date if necessary.

2.Keep track of results. Decide on your content measurement method and build reports around your goals and KPIs. Any movement may hint that you need to take action to refresh or retire existing content. If you have content grouped and well tagged in your catalogue, it should be easy to identify pages that need attention if a particular topic is affected.

3.Build updates into your BAU. You’re saving production time by reworking existing pieces – use those hours.

Need help combing through your content? Get in touch at results@icrossing.co.uk

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