May 7, 2024

Can I Update Old Blog Posts for SEO? Yes, and Here’s How!

Tayler Cusick-Hollman | Founder, CMO (She/Her)

Can I Update Old Blog Posts for SEO? Yes, and Here’s How!

Can I Update Old Blog Posts for SEO? Yes, and Here’s How!

When you read advice about content marketing for small businesses, the focus is almost always on new content— “Post consistently!  Create new blog posts on your website!” 

But what if I told you that one of the best things you can do for your SEO is to improve your old content?

As a search engine optimization specialist, I often get asked if updating old blog posts is good or bad for SEO:

Is it OK to update old blog posts?  Does Google like or hate that?  Does updating old blog posts help or hurt your SEO?

I’m here to tell you that it is a great idea to update your old blog posts, and it can really help your search engine rankings.  In this article, I’m going to explain exactly how to do it.

5 Tips For Updating Old Blog Posts for SEO

Updates are a must for educational, how-to, and advice posts

I’ve been blogging SEO advice on my website for almost 6 years now.  As in most industries, some of what I wrote 6 years ago is no longer accurate.  

But that doesn’t mean that no one is finding it.

I was reminded of this recently when someone asked me about a Squarespace SEO issue I blogged about in 2019.  Squarespace fixed the issue several years ago, which means my article’s information was out of date.

So what did I do?  A big review and update on the post!  I removed the outdated section, added some new information, and made a note at the bottom about the updated date.

If you’re writing educational articles, how-to posts, and advice, this information might become outdated a few years later.  These are the types of posts that you should consider updating annually or every couple of years.

To be clear, updates are less important for posts that cover an event (like a real wedding) or news.  If the post is about a specific moment in time, it is likely that it will never need to be updated, and that’s OK too.

Make it clear when the post was published and updated

So let’s say you take the time to do a thorough review and update to an old blog post.

How do you make sure the reader knows it’s updated and accurate?

I always add a note at the bottom of updated blog posts that includes the original publish date and the updated date:

If I have made a major update to the post, I usually update the publish date of the post as well. This can help it look more recent in the search results.

Updating the publish date after you make a major update to an old blog post can help it look newer and attract more clicks in the search results.

Make adding to your blog posts part of your strategy

For SEO, I usually teach my students that long, in-depth content ranks best.

But I often tell my SEO students to publish a post even before it includes everything they want it to.

Why?  Because I know that you’re busy, and writing 1000-2000 words takes some time.  So why not publish a good post at 600 words and plan to add to it over the next few months?

As an example, let’s imagine you are a wedding photographer working on a post about “15 Favorite Detroit Wedding Venues.”  I’d recommend that you write and publish it with 5 venues and add more venues to the post when you can.

Publishing early and then updating later has a couple of benefits:

  • Google can find and start indexing the URL as soon as you publish.  Since rankings take time, starting this process sooner means ranking sooner.
  • Your good content doesn’t sit on your computer, waiting until you have time to make it great
  • Google does love when we refresh and improve our content
  • You get to promote the post every time you update it (more social content, yay!)

Consider submitting to Google for indexing

Updates to old blog posts are awesome for SEO… but only if Google actually notices.

If you haven’t updated your blog or website in a while, it can take weeks to months for Google to actually come back, crawl your site, and notice that you updated an old blog post.

If you’d like to speed up this process after you do a major post update, I would recommend submitting the post for indexing in Google Search Console.

To do this, you must have Google Search Console set up.  Then, follow these instructions to request indexing:

  1. Paste the updated blog post’s URL in the box at the top of Google Search Console.  Press enter.
  2. You should now see the URL Inspection screen.  In the first section, look on the right side for a link that says “Request Indexing.”  Click it.
  3. Wait while Google tests the URL.
  4. If it’s successful, you’ll get the “Indexing Requested” message.
  5. That’s it!  You’ve requested that Google re-crawl your post.
  6. This may still take several days, but will likely still be faster than Google re-crawling on its own.

Share and celebrate updated posts

My last tip for updating old blog posts is to share, share, share to your social channels.

You know the drill on promoting new content on your social media, like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn (“Just published a new post to our blog all about XYZ!  Check it out! [share the link]”).

But don’t hold back on also promoting when you update and refresh your old blog post content too.  I often think it’s an even more engaging story:

“Squarespace has improved their SEO settings SO MUCH that I had to update my blog post from 2019.  Check out the update and my current thoughts on Squarespace SEO issues!”

So bottom line: Yes, it’s totally OK to update your old educational blog content— and you should!

Keep your blog content updated and current, make a public note when you do, tell Google about it, and tell the world!

*This blog post was written by SEO expert, Sara Dunn of Sara Does SEO. She specializes in wedding SEO, so if you're a wedding business owner and want to learn how to do your own SEO, check out her Wedding SEO Bootcamp!

Recent Articles