So, you’ve done the heavy lifting making your case for content, doing your competitor and keyword research, identifying your best opportunities, creating a content strategy, etching in goals, and putting pen to paper.
But now that your content creation engine is chugging along like a sleek machine, you know there’s got to be other activities you can be doing to sneak up in the SERPs and capture more organic traffic. Enter: remediation!
Remediation is only a viable option if you already have a relatively deep well of content to work with (think at least 20 blogs published more than a few months ago). If you’re just starting out, no problem! Bookmark this page and revisit it next quarter or next year.
What is content remediation?
Content remediation is the systematic and strategic process of updating your growth content in order to give your readers new and up-to-date information and, debatably more importantly, send out the signal to search engines that there’s exciting fresh content that deserves a ranking boost.
As part of your bigger-picture content strategy, it can help fortify target keyword pillars and build greater authority in strategic areas.
Why remediate blog content?
I know what you’re thinking, your content is already great. And that’s probably true! But beyond adding some fresh information to make sure your post is as up to date and timely as possible, there are a lot of other reasons to implement a remediation strategy including but not limited to…
- You lost rankings because your competitors updated their content and you want to compete with them.
- You average time on page is low and you want to add new creative to the content to get readers staying on the page longer.
- The publish date is old and may discourage readers so you want to update the content and show the updated date to visitors.
- Your bounce rate is higher than average and it’s because you don’t have enough internal links linking to your pillar pages.
- You’re ranking on page 2 and you think with some minor improvements you’ll be able to rank on page 1.
The biggest takeaway: when we tell Google content is new, we’ll likely see a spike in traffic, making the relatively tiny amount of work required well worth it.
How to remediate content
First of all, it’s best to have a strategy in place before you start remediating old blog posts. If you have hundreds or thousands of blog posts, you’ll certainly need a plan for tackling all of these in bite-sized chunks over time.
Let’s begin with process and strategy. Before you begin creating content you typically start by building a content strategy, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do when we focus on remediation.
Similar to a content calendar, it’s useful to build out a content remediation process for each piece of content going forward. This is typically done on 30, 60, or 90-day basis, depending on how time-sensitive or evergreen your content is.
Once you’ve got the overall strategy nailed down, you’ll want to develop a strategy for each individual piece of content, which I’ll discuss now.
When setting out to improve an old post with good structure, it’s good to start with improvements in keyword targeting and general writing and grammar. You want to make sure that your blog post has a clear focus, targets a specific topic and keyword, and is doing so in proper English (or whatever language your blog may be in).
Once the content itself is in good shape, make sure to add any technical improvements that the piece may need, such as relevant internal links, alt text, or schema markup.
Then it’s time to make sure it’s pretty. Instead of big blocks of text, look for ways to make it chunkable and easier to read. This could be adding line breaks, paragraphs or creating bulleted or numbered lists. Visual improvements impact user experience and can keep people on the page longer, improving overall SEO.
Expand and update
Another way to get more value out of your content is to repurpose or update the information contained to make old content fresh again. Data says that this is well worth the effort, with business bloggers who update older posts being 74% more likely to report strong results.
A few ways to expand or update a post are to explore a different take on the initial thesis, add newer data, or integrate more recent developments or changed opinions. Look to correct any data that is more than a year old with the most current information.
Increasing word count has also shown to be beneficial, as longer blog posts typically perform better. This goes the same for adding images and other rich media such as infographics, videos, and charts and graphs.
Many of the blogs we recommend for remediation are under 750 words. We want to add more content as long as that content is good quality, answers FAQs, and provides the audience with useful information.
Update and add keywords
While remediating content, we also want to update the target keywords and add as many semantically related keywords as possible without crossing over the keyword stuffing line. The best way to add keywords is to include them within a sentence where it sounds natural.
For example, in the sentences below, the keyword is in bold. Note how the first option sounds more natural, while the second one forces the keyword to create a jarring experience for the reader and the search engines.
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Sometimes adding images to long-form content can completely rejuvenate the content by increasing the average time that readers spend on the page and in turn increasing its organic rankings.
We recommend adding at least 3 images for every 1,000 words of content if possible. This can be done using a free stock image website such as Unsplash if you don’t have an extensive image library.
Content Remediation is The Low-Hanging Fruit of SEO Strategy
One of the things we find ourselves explaining most often: a great content strategy is one of the best long-term investments you can make when it comes to growth strategy. While, true, it’s a time consuming and can be more costly strategy to fire up and maintain, once you have a solid well of content, strategies like remediation can have you reaping riches for years to come.
Excited but not quite sure where to start? Let’s chat!
Derek is a digital marketer based in Boston, Massachusetts with almost a decade of hands-on SEO experience. He finds it meaningful, challenging, and exciting to develop, test, and implement new SEO strategies. When he’s not auditing websites and optimizing content he’s usually backpacking and exploring new cultures.