You hear it over and over again no matter what you’re doing on the internet – creating a podcast, starting a Youtube channel, and yes, even writing a blog – that the most important thing you can do is be consistent. And consistently creating new and fresh content is important.
But eventually, you’re going to look back and see a slew of hard work that could probably use a bit of cleaning up. The new stuff will always be necessary, but it’s important to keep your older posts up to date, too.
I’m talking about good old blog post SEO. It’s not the most enjoyable part of the process, but I think if you are blogging for more than just the fun of it it’s something you need to learn.
I’ve been blogging on Alyssa Lost in Space for over a year now, with well over a hundred posts in my backlog, many of which I wrote when I was still learning what I was doing and trying to figure out my blogging style. And that’s part of the problem – you’re going to continually get better at what you do and you’re older posts will reflect that.
That’s how I came up with this idea in the first place. I wanted to go through my old blog posts and give them a fresh coat – I put a lot of work into them, and many of them I’m quite proud of.
So I created a list of ways I could update and improve on my content and better my blog’s SEO and I thought it might be useful for others, too!
If you’re only interested in the printable, scroll on down to the bottom for your blog post checklist in handy pdf format.
Let me preface this post by stating that I am not an SEO expert. I’ve done a lot of research and I’ve read a lot of blog posts, so I know more than your average person, but in terms of experience, I’ve only really applied these concepts to my own blog.
But if there is one thing I know, it’s that’s keeping your content up-to-date and fresh makes Google happy, and it’ll keep your readers happy, too.
1. Update Your Content
This is an excellent chance to re-read your work and cut information that is redundant or no longer relevant. Expand on what you’ve already written with new information. You want to make sure your point is getting across in a clear and concise way. Write a better introduction and conclusion. Edit passages to make the information easier to understand and more readable.
Blogs have a lot to compete with these days – Youtube, podcasts, flashy Instagram stories & posts. You might have a lot to share but you need to deliver it in the most appealing way possible.
You might want to
- Bold your key points
- Break up paragraphs
- Create bulleted or numbered lists
- Create images to break up the text
You also want to be consistent – are you using actual numbers or spelling them out? Are you using bulleted lists for one thing and numbered for another? Are you centering your headings on the page? Are you keeping your images a consistent size? Whatever formatting you choose to employ, make sure it is consistent throughout the post (and for every post, for that matter).
2. Add headings and subheadings
Nothing makes your content quite as navigable and easy to read as the right placement of headings. Especially since a lot of people tend to skim until they find something that interests them. I know I’m guilty of it.
Hopefully, your post already has a natural flow to it – point A leads to point B leads to point C and so on. So turn those points into headings. And if you can further break up your points with subheadings than I highly encourage you to do so.
Just make sure you use the right ones:
- h1 is for the title of your posts – don’t use that in the body
- h2 is your for your primary headings
- h3 is for the first subheadings
And so it goes with h4, h5, and h6, breaking down the headings even further.
3. Add relevant pictures
Maybe its a diagram or an illustration to better highlight the points. Maybe you’re remaking the header/title images to better align with your theme. Blogs involve a lot of text and a lot of reading, but we live in a very visual world. People like their pictures and videos.
Adding the right image can really enhance a post or help get a point across. The right picture will draw someone’s attention, and that’s exactly what you want! Just don’t take it too far and include an image after every paragraph. That just makes the reading experience more tedious. And a slew of pictures won’t make up for a lack of substance or sub-par content.
4. Add relevant keywords and tags
Ah yes, keywords. They do seem to be the bread and butter of internet marketing these days, and they are nothing if not confusing, especially if you’re new to the concept. A more serious, marketing-savvy blogger will probably have more information to share with you on this particular point, but I do have some suggestions for finding and incorporating keywords into your posts.
The first, if you’ve no idea where to start, is to use Google. Think about what you’re blog post is about, and then search for it on google. Chances are you might see a drop-down list of other suggestions – other things that people entered into Google. And that’s a good place to start. Come up with as many variations as you can and compile a list.
And then plug them into a keyword finder to dig a little deeper. Ubersuggest is probably my go-to, and while it is a premium service, you can get a few searches for free each day.
You can search for a topic or keyword, and Ubersuggest will spit out a list of keyword ideas. It can also supply you with things like SEO difficulty and search volume. A higher difficulty means it is competitive and thus, much harder to rank for on Google.
Another tool I like to use is LSI Graph, which can give you keywords that are related to the keywords you are currently using, and thus gives you more keywords to work with.
You don’t know what people are going to plug into that search bar after all, but this can help give you some idea, and get your posts in front of the people it’s of most use to. Like Ubersuggest, you only have a limited number of free uses, but it can really help you find keywords to include in your posts.
Now that you have a list of keywords, what do you do with them? How do you get them into a post organically so you don’t end up keyword-stuffing?
There are a number of ways you can do this:
- Add it to the title of your post
- Include it in image titles (writing-a-fantasy-novel.jpg for example)
- Include them in the introduction and conclusion of your post (remember how I said this was an opportunity to give them a fresh coat of paint?)
- Meta-descriptions and image alt tags.
5. Add alt description to images
If you’ve included images or diagrams in your post, you’re going to want Google to be able to find them, and the best way to do that is to fill in the alt description. I exclusively use WordPress, so I’m not sure what it will look like for you, but you should be able to find something wherever you edit your images. And you’ll want to describe in as much detail as you can the post (and the image), using your keywords.
Of course, if you’ve already done this step, this might not seem quite as relevant, but if you’re taking a second look at a post, it might not be a bad idea to re-evaluate your alt descriptions. Has the scope of your post changed? Are there any keywords in there that could be added or removed?
And as mentioned above, it’s a good idea to rename your images so the title reflects the same.
6. Create a more intriguing title
Titles are hard. Thankfully, you don’t have to keep them if you come up with something better. If your original title is lacking a bit of oomph, you can always brainstorm a new one that’ll catch more attention.
Take a look at what the post is doing – is it a how-to post? A list of interesting things? A review? An opinion piece? If you’re trying to explain how to do something, or sharing some piece of information, make that clear in the title. If you’re writing to entertain or sharing an opinion, you’ll want something that intrigues your readers – after all, why should they care about what you have to say?
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7. Add/Update a call to action
Engagement is important – why would you spend your time writing online if you don’t want to help others or engage with them in some way? And the best way to get people to engage with your work is not just to like the post, but to comment. And the easiest way to prompt a reader to comment is to ask them a question they can respond to. This is also known as a call to action.
Take a look at my blog, for instance. At the end of every post, and that includes this one, I include a ‘Chat with Me’ section, where I ask a bunch of questions related to the post I’ve written. I try to ask at least two or three of varying specificity, so anyone who reads my blog has an easy jump-off point if they want to leave a comment. It’s also a question I genuinely want an answer to. Don’t have them comment for the sake of commenting – you want to start a conversation!
Whether it’s on your blog or on social media, engagement is crucial to building a community and getting your work out there. So at the end of every post, leave a little something to prompt a response.
8. Link to other relevant posts
It’s probably been a while since you’ve touched this post, which is why you’re going back to update it. But you’ve probably written a lot of great content since then, so why not link them together and save your audience the trouble of searching for it? You want to keep people reading, and if you have more content on related topics, you’re doing them a big favour as well.
But don’t just stop there. You can also link to someone else’s posts and resources. It doesn’t just have to be about you and your content. I love checking out other blogs, and sharing amazing posts when I can. You’ve nothing to lose by sharing a link to another blogger’s content.
And if you do share it, you can drop them a message and let them know you loved their stuff and linked to it in your blog. If you write the same sort of content, maybe they’ll do the same for you. Or you could reach out to them and suggest writing something together. Then you can grow your audience and score some backlinks at the same time!
9. Update the URL
If you change the title, make sure you’re also changing the URL. With WordPress at least, the URL slug (that’s the end bit of your URL) will usually become whatever you title your post. And if you have a different title or even a very long one, it can be confusing. Keep it short, and remember your keywords.
Remember the titles we discussed earlier? You might have a URL that looks like this:
Which is honestly way too long, and Google doesn’t like that. So you’d want to shorten it to something clean and keyword-friendly, like this:
It’s more succinct, and far more Google-friendly.
10. Create/Update a download or printable
People love getting free stuff, and offering something for free is naturally going to make people more interested in what you’re going to say. After all, they’ll get something out of it and it won’t cost them anything. And there are so many great (and free) tools out there that can help you deliver.
Maybe it’s an ebook of a ten-thousand-word short story you wrote, or a workbook or checklist based on the post you’ve written. Canva is great for making beautiful printables, and you could use Microsoft Word or Scrivener to format a little ebook. It gives them a little something extra that they can continue to enjoy in the future and further extends the usefulness of your post. And it also’s good for promotion, should that be your goal.
11. Make sure it’s mobile-friendly
You should always be checking your posts on your phone or tablet device. Images that look nice on a desktop might be squished and unreadable on a small mobile screen, and the fancy formatting might not look as clean as it did on your computer.
More and more people are using their mobile devices to browse, especially if they’re on the go, and that might be how they experience your blog and your content. If you want to potentially find consistent readers, you want to make sure the experience is as fluid and painless as possible no matter what device they are using.
So grab your phone and your cousin’s iPad and take a look at all of your old posts. Make sure they load fast and your information isn’t obstructed. You want the user experience to be a good one because you never know which post or page is going to be someone’s doorway into your blog.
12. Check for broken images or links
This is especially important if it’s quite an old post. Or if you’ve changed the look of your website at least once since you first hit publish. Go through it and make sure all of the images are still being presented properly. You don’t want them to be cut off or awkwardly stretched and pixelated, do you?
It’s also a good idea to click on any links to other blogs or websites to make sure they haven’t changed things on their end either. Or removed it altogether. It’s not going to do your readers much good if those links are broken or take them somewhere else.
Have you ever found an amazing blog post that linked all of these incredible resources, only to find that half of them were broken, leading to home pages or dead websites? It’s incredibly frustrating, and you don’t want your readers to have to deal with that.
There are tools out there you can use to clean up dead links, but keep in mind that many of them will be a premium service. If you’re willing to pay for it, especially if you have hundreds of posts to go through, then do what you’re most comfortable with. And do keep in mind that a link might not be broken but still need changing.
13. Give it some love on social media
You might have more followers than you did before, and maybe they haven’t had a chance to check out your older posts, so why not drop a link on your social media of choice? Especially if you’ve gone through this list and given it a shiny new coat of paint. You should be proud of the work you’ve put into that post, so make sure you share it with your followers!
14. Create a new pin for Pinterest
I don’t think there is a better place to promote your blog, especially if you have a niche topic. A little harder, I think, if you’re in a creative field, as I am, but then you just have to get creative. I think the bold graphics and striking visuals on Pinterest can really draw new readers, so I make a lot of my primary images pinnable to keep it easy. But, you can always whip up a second or third (and you should), and repost – don’t just use the same one. It’s a way of trying something new – whether it’s keywords, text, or images, to catch someone’s eye, without having to write a brand new post. And it can get more eyes on those posts you’ve worked so hard on.
15. Remove it if it’s no longer relevant
And this doesn’t necessarily have to apply to the literal contents. Maybe your branding doesn’t mesh with what you wrote, or you’ve written follow up posts that describe the contents in better detail, or you’re changing the topic(s) of your blog.
I’ve already had to remove at least a few of the posts that I wrote last year because as I continue to write and grow my blog, I know what sort of content I want to be putting out there, and the kind of content that I don’t. Don’t be afraid to delete old posts.
But if straight up deleting does sound unpleasant (which is perfectly understandable if you put a lot of work into it), you can always archive it.
I realize I’ve thrown a lot of information at you, and I thought, seeing how this post has suggestions that can be used over and over again, it might be a good idea to have a printable version you can hang on to. Whether you decide to print it up, or copy some form of it into your bullet journal, here is a handy checklist to guide you through all the steps!
It’s an arduous process to give this kind of attention to every blog post, and I don’t suggest you do every single thing on this list to every single post you have. Some are going to benefit from this sort of polish more than others. But there is definitely some TLC listed here that could be applied to any blog post.
Chat with Me!
Do you have a hefty backlog that could use some TLC? Do you have any other suggestions to add to this list? Do you enjoy the SEO aspects of blogging or do you find them a little dull? Let me know in the comments!