Featured Writing/Content

A Strategy to Identify, Rewrite and Update Your Outdated Content

Image courtesy Pixabay

The phrase ‘Content is King’ is well-known and widely accepted today. And thanks to the proliferation of AI writing tools, businesses and individuals are creating and distributing more content than ever.

However, that’s not all it takes to build a successful content marketing strategy. Other factors matter, too, with the key one being content updation.

In this post, I share the reasons why updating your content is critical. We’ll also look at how to do this strategically so that you aren’t updating your content in a random way that creates problems instead of solving them.

Why You Should Update Your Content

Search engines like Google take information and content very seriously. Very often, people look for information that can affect their health, happiness, and finances.

Blog content and articles around such topics and other categories in general need to be accurate, relevant, and up-to-date.

Content must also reflect changes in technology, the relevant industry, and other factors that affect its integrity.

So, content freshness is a major factor in winning in content marketing. And this translates to updating your content regularly so you don’t lose your position in search engine rankings.

Other reasons to update your content include:

  • Keeping pace with industry trends
  • Preventing content decay
  • Enhancing user experience
  • Increasing audience engagement
  • Boosting credibility
  • Attracting new visitors
  • Retaining existing audience

There are even more subtle benefits, but the ones listed here are some of the most important. As you can see, content updates are critical if you want your business to survive. Next, let’s explore how to strategize your content updates.

How to Strategize Your Content Updates

Here’s how you can strategize the best way to find obsolete or outdated content, rewrite them, and update your posts.

Identifying Outdated Content: The Key Steps

Recognizing the content that requires an update is the first and foremost step in crafting an effective content update strategy. Here are some practical tips to help you identify outdated content:

  1. Use SEO Tools: Tools like Google Analytics, SEMRush, and Ahrefs can help you track changes in your content’s performance. Look for pages with decreasing traffic, falling search rankings, or declining engagement, as these are likely candidates for an update.
  2. Review Content Regularly: Set a schedule to review your content regularly. Make it a monthly task or assign a specific person to handle updates – that’s what we do for each of our blogs. We also have multiple people to handle reviews for large blogs. Manually reviewing older posts or information in an effective way to find what needs to be updated.
  3. Watch for partner, product, and industry updates: Keep an eye out for updates from your partners, changes in your product or services, and developments in your industry. These can all impact the accuracy and relevance of your content. For example, the change that took place when Twitter became X is a perfect example of such a scenario.
  4. Read comments and feedback: Pay attention to the comments and feedback left by your readers. They may point out information that is no longer accurate or suggest updates they would like to see.
  5. Monitor social media: Keep an eye on social media, especially hashtags related to your industry, product, or service. This can help you identify topics that are trending and need to be addressed in your content.

At this stage, focus on identifying content rather than making changes immediately. Especially if your content needs careful review and multiple changes.

However, if all you need to do is add a single word or sentence like a new product feature, then it makes sense to update articles and posts right away without needing a strategy.

In this instance, we are focused on creating a strategic approach to updating content, so let’s move on to the next step.

Create a System

Answering Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How will help you create a system to update your content without a hitch.

Let’s start with who is responsible for the updates. Will it be one person or a team? Which department will handle this task? There’s no single correct answer in this situation. It depends on how many updates you have to make. For a blog with hundreds and thousands of posts, you’ll need a dedicated team. But if you need to refresh a few dozen articles, one person could be enough.

Next, define what you’ll update. This means prioritizing your content. The most important pieces are the ones that drive the most sales, engagement, and traffic. These are the money makers and should get top priority so they don’t slip through the SERP rankings.

However, what’s important depends on the goal. If you’ve done a rebrand, then your priority will be updating those pages that mention the older brand elements rather than the content that gets the most traffic. Let your overarching goal define your update priorities.

At this stage, you should set up the ‘Where’ as in where will you track these new updates. In my company, we use Asana. It’s a project management platform that lets you assign tasks and track them easily. You’ll know who is working on an update and how the overall project is going.

You can also figure out the exact ‘How,’ ‘When,’ and other details during this time.

Let’s say you have multiple blogs or have multiple important categories in one blog. You could create a separate Asana project for each of them and title them ‘Health and Fitness Update’ and ‘Company XYZ Update’.

Then, create tasks under each one. With a specific page or post update belonging to a single task each. Add due dates to them and assign each one to the right person. You can also use tasks and subtasks for greater refinement.

In this way, you have a clear picture of the overall changes you will make, when they happen, and who is responsible. We work this way in our company, and it’s highly effective.

Execution and Review

Mistakes can happen, or you may find that your update strategy is not as effective as you thought. That’s why it’s important to review your strategy after execution.

Consider these points:

  • Did our updates help achieve the desired goal?
  • Were there any unexpected changes or issues caused by the updates?
  • How can we improve our update process for future use?

Also, assign a person to recheck to see if the edits and updates are accurate and error-free. This is especially important if multiple people are responsible for different updates.

Once you have completed the review, note any changes or improvements that need to be made in your update process. These notes will come in handy when it’s time for the next round of updates.

You should also track your website performance after these updates using SEO platforms like Semrush, Ahrefs, or Google Search Console.

Best Practices

When updating content, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Be thorough. Don’t just make surface-level changes. Go through the entire piece of content and update any outdated information or links. And remember that Google knows if you make superficial changes. You won’t benefit by changing a word or two if you want to maintain your rankings.
  • Keep your tone consistent. If you’re updating a piece of content that was written in a specific tone, try to maintain that same tone throughout the updates.
  • Review regularly. Don’t let too much time pass before reviewing your older content. It should be a regular practice to keep it up-to-date and relevant.
  • Encourage communication in your team. Your writers and editors will have questions when updating content, so make sure there is open communication throughout the process and also be available to help.
  • Create a style guide and documentation. This will ensure consistency across all your content and make it easier for new team members to understand the tone and voice of your brand.

Keep these best practices in mind to ensure that your updated content is high-quality, relevant, and consistent with your overall brand image.

Over to You

There you go. This is my best advice on how to effectively update your content.

Ultimately, you can develop a different system or strategy that’s different and works for your business.

What is important is that you’re organized and have a clear goal when making updates. This will ensure that your content remains informative, authoritative, and friendly while staying relevant and valuable to your audience.

Keep updating your content, and you’re sure to see it reflected in your boosted search rankings, traffic, and sales!

About the author


Syed Balkhi

Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.