Double your traffic by raising your blog posts from the dead

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Find out how you can double the amount of traffic and leads you get from “old” blog content through historical optimization.

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Raising your blog posts from the dead: what is it?

This technique explained on the HubSpot blog sounds too good to be true: it consists of updating an old, evergreen, once-successful-but-now-forgotten piece of content and republishing it with today’s date while giving it the exact same promotion you would give to any new post.

Now this is what I call lean content marketing.

Does republishing your old posts work?


Econsultancy just published interesting results on how using this technique helped boost their pageviews and backlinks in a significant way.

On our end, we tested it with this post which is a quick update Julie did of an old post I had curated a couple of years ago but that was still relevant (yes, it’s a bit meta as we curated somebody else’s content into a post, then repurposed it by republishing it which leads to that other post: we’re shameless and lean content marketers…). Our results: in just 3 weeks, 3x more page views on this new post than what we had over the past 2 years on the old one; and 19 leads generated (vs we don’t know how many for the old one as we didn’t have Content Director’s analytics to track leads back then).

Can you do it all the time?

Of course not.

Is that cheating?

Not if you add value.

Not unlike the debate on content curation, this is all about whether you add value or not. If you take a 2-month old post and you change a comma, you’re clearing trying to fool your readers. But if you correct errors or obsolete data on a 2-year old post that still answers some of your audience’s questions, you’re helping them. And if you focus on old-but-good posts, chances are they’ll be stuff worth updating: the world changes fast.

Is that easy?

Yes and no.

Of course, the update part can be quite quick: in 15 to 20 minutes, you’ll easily spot what to update on an evergreen post. A much lower investment than the 4 hours a (good) blog post usually takes.

The devil’s in the detail: URL permalinks that you might break in the process as you change the publishing date on your post (we use dates in our URLs which might not be your case: good for you but even econsultancy had problems with their CMS while doing that). In our test, we didn’t care about breaking backlinks. The old post had only a few according to Majestic so we didn’t have much to lose. However, if we’re going to that on a regular basis, we want a more robust process.

So here’s what we plan to test to elaborate on this lean content marketing technique:

1. We’ll identify 1 evergreen post per month to udpate.

2. We’ll ensure we make light but significant changes such as updates, corrections, new developments, etc…

3. We’ll keep the URL title unchanged

4. We’ll adjust the date in the URL through a 301 permanent redirect (we plan to do that through the WordPress htaccess file but I’d love to hear: does anyone have a better technique?).

What do you guys think? Do you think it’s worth trying out and would you be interested in the results of such a test? Any suggestions of posts you’d like us to update?

Let us know in the comments.

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About the Author

Guillaume Decugis
Co-Founder & CEO @Scoopit. Entrepreneur (Musiwave, Goojet). Engineer-turned-marketer. Skier. Rock singer.
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