You don’t improve underperforming content on a blog by creating new content to get leads. It doesn’t work that way.
It’s time to take a hard look at your older content. How is it performing in the search engines and on social media?
If you notice that you’re not ranking in Google’s top 10 results pages for your primary keyword or, worse, your readers aren’t commenting, sharing, linking to or studying the content, you’ve got a problem.
It’s time to re-optimize your content.
I know what this is like. I’ve been re-optimizing some of my older posts that used to be popular, but aren’t bringing in traffic now.
Of course, over time, the engagement that a piece of content generates will decrease. As long as you continue to create content that gets people talking, you’ll succeed at content marketing.
If you implement the tips that you’ll learn in this article, you’ll take your content engagement to a new level.
This is critical, because more than 68% of marketers face challenges in creating engaging content.
Most people think that the solution to underperforming content is to create new content. But, that’s not always the case.
After all, your previous content is the foundation of your blog.
Pam Vaugham conducted a content study, and found that up to 76% of the traffic to a blog comes from posts that had been published a month or more before.
If you’re spending time, money and resources on content creation, I think you deserve to reap the benefits of increased website traffic, more leads, better email subscribers and more money.
Here are 4 simple ways to improve the performance of your old posts and drive more traffic to your blog:
1. Reoptimize old content with long-tail keywords.
Content pages that are optimized for long-tail keywords tend to perform better in the search engines.
That’s because long-tail keywords are highly specific and less competitive, so it’s a lot easier to rank for them.
I believe that every piece of content has to either:
- Address a particular keyword, or
- Answer a question
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about stuffing keywords into your article. But, you produce content online for a purpose: namely, for people who are searching for specific information to find your content.
Remember that Google isn’t the only company that makes use of keywords in their rankings algorithm.
Other sites, such as Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, Bing, Yahoo and even authority blogs rely on keywords for search functions.
Before users can find these helpful resources, they have to enter a keyword or key phrases into the search box.
So, you can see that keywords are important at many levels.
However, you already know that some keywords are just too competitive. You can’t compete with multiple authority sites in your industry, for those ultra-competitive, head keywords.
And, it’s possible that your old posts are underperforming because you were targeting those very head keywords.
Head keywords usually contain 1 or 2 words, and generate a measly 18.5% of search traffic. Compare that to long-tail keywords, which generate up to 75% of organic search traffic.
Head keywords are difficult to rank for. They usually have huge search volumes, which is the major reason why most sites target them.
The harsh reality is that you may have created one of the best pieces of content anywhere for a particular topic, but if your target keyword is competitive, your content will suffer – considering that over 2 million blog posts are published every day. That’s huge!
So, let’s assume that I want to improve the performance of one of my older posts,“14 Mobile Marketing Tips That Drive Leads and Sales.”
I underlined the main keyword for the content. If you study that keyword (mobile marketing tips), you’ll agree with me that it’s not long enough. It’s a head keyword.
As you can see, my content is underperforming. I’m nowhere near the top organic results for that keyword.
What I need to do, then, is research keywords and find longer variations of the keyword “mobile marketing tips.”
So, let’s quickly enter that keyword into Google AdWords Keyword Planner and see what long-tail variations we can find.
The Keyword Planner hasn’t been helpful. Some of the keywords it suggested are still very competitive.
So, what should I do next?
Simply go to Keywordtool.io and enter the main head keyword. Then click on the orange search icon on the right.
This tool will suggest a lot of long-tail keywords, based on what you entered.
Here’s the result:
Now, we’ve found a few long-tail keywords that we can use to rewrite my title.
The potential keywords are:
- mobile email marketing tips
- mobile marketing tips and tricks
- mobile marketing tips for small business
Even though the first keyword is long-tail, I’ll skip that, because the topic isn’t related to “email marketing.”
So, we’re left with two long-tail keywords. Now, let’s replace the main head keyword with these long-tail search terms. Instead of this:
- 14 Mobile Marketing Tips that Drive Leads and Sales
Our optimized title becomes:
- 14 Mobile Marketing Tips and Tricks That Drive Leads and Sales
- 14 Mobile Marketing Tips For Small Business That Drive Leads and Sales
Don’t try to manipulate search rankings with your long-tail keywords. Instead, focus on delivering immense value in your content.
2. Add power words to your headlines.
Power words – yes, words truly have power. Use the right ones in your headlines and you’ll increase your CTR.
Before I discuss power words further, let’s remember that Google uses over 200 ranking factors in its algorithm. Digital marketers have tried to uncover all of the specific factors, without success.
However, lately, marketers have noted that there’s one factor that quickly boosts organic search rankings.
It’s your click-through-rate.
In the click-through behavior chart below, the majority of search users are responding to the first page. The study by iProspct found that 68% of search engine users clicked on a result on the first page of results.
On the flip side, if your web page is ranked at #5, you’re supposed to get at least 15% of the clicks. If, instead, you get a 25% click-through-rate, Google will reward your page by pushing it up to a higher rank.
Why? Well, Google only cares about its users, and about serving up the most relevant, useful, interesting and timely information.
Since more people are clicking your results, even though you’re at #5, Google will want to send more search users to your page.
Click-through-rate is simply the rate at which a particular search result is being clicked on.
Brian Dean also shared, in his insider SEO training video (he only shares with his email subscribers), that when your search result gets a lot of clicks, Google will push your rankings up. And, the higher up the results your page is, the more clicks and visitors you’ll drive to your site.
Add power words to your headlines. These are action words that prompt the user to stop whatever else they’re doing and read on.
Unbounce uses power words in their headlines, to improve the performance of their old posts.
Your headline is made up of words. So, it’s important that you use the right words. Power words can inspire search, social and blog users to click on your headline.
Remember that most people share content that they haven’t read themselves. One of the determining factors that will make your content successful is how persuasive your headline is.
Using power words in your headline builds trust with users. Weak words don’t captivate people.
Any writer, blogger or content creator who consistently uses weak words in their headlines isn’t likely to build a successful business.
Buffer’s “Big List of 189 Words that Convert” show you the importance of words used in your headlines. Some of these words will also work well when integrated into your content.
But, when you’re looking to nudge your search users and loyal audience to click and share your content, Jon Morrow’s list of 317 power words will get the job done.
Some of these power words are:
- Cancel Anytime
I use power words in virtually all of my headlines:
The top organic results pages also prove the value of power words:
If your underperforming content has a weak headline like this:
- 7 Ways to Build an Email List
You can make it more compelling by adding power words:
- 7 Smart Ways To Build an Email List Quickly
- 7 Ways To Quickly Increase Your Email List Subscribers by 110%
- How To Powerfully Build a Loyal Email List Fast
Stop using words that bore your readers and search users. You’re doing yourself a disservice and putting the brakes on organic traffic.
Find your underperforming content, then improve your headlines by adding the right power words.
3. Create a persuasive and keyword-rich meta description.
There are 3 aspects to site optimization:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO
- Technical SEO
But, even when your pages are fast (which is necessary), if your meta description is irrelevant or weak, your content may not get much traction in organic results.
Search users don’t “see” speed. They only experience it after they’ve clicked on your search result.
The question then becomes: “How can you inspire people to click on your search results?”
You inspire people with your meta description, which the user sees:
Most of the time, search users will read your meta description before deciding whether or not to click on your title.
That’s the reason why you should make it persuasive and keyword-rich.
I’m not, in any way, suggesting that you over-optimize your keywords. On the contrary, you should never over-optimize. Instead, focus on the user intent.
Brian Dean ranks at #1 for hundreds of SEO-related keywords. Why?
Among other things, his meta descriptions usually contain the main keyword:
When writing my meta descriptions, I make sure that my main keyword is integrated, so that it flows smoothly with the rest of the copy.
Here’s an example for the keyword “content that converts”:
So, let’s assume that your main keyword is “best washing machine to buy.”
The rule of thumb is that the keyword must make sense and read naturally.
In the example keyword, you can see that it doesn’t flow well. So, you don’t have to use it as-is in your meta description. Get creative:
Are you looking to buy a washing machine? You’ve got several options out there, but your final decision will depend on what you need the machine for – what specific purpose you want to accomplish.
I didn’t use the keyword as it appears. Instead, I used a closely-related long-tail keyword that wouldn’t seem over-optimized or stuffed in any way.
4. Match intent: answer user’s questions.
If your content doesn’t meet a specific need or answer your user’s question, you need to think again.
Maybe your content didn’t match the search user’s intent. If visitors land on the page and can’t find any reason to keep reading, then they’ll leave.
And, the solution is simple: Deliver the right content in the right format.
What does that mean?
If your audience is looking for step-by-step instructions, don’t give them hacks or tips. Focus on the user intent. Keywords are pointing out to you what the users actually want.
When you find a keyword (head or long-tail keyword), that’s step one.
Step two is when you ask yourself, “What exactly does this person want to know?”
For example, if someone searched for “get flat abs at home,” the user has already indicated that s/he doesn’t want to go to the gym.
Your article can only make sense for the user if:
- The flat abs advice can be applied at home
- The resources or tools needed to get flat abs can be found at home
- The product you’re recommending is probably not too expensive
In the same vein, if someone searched for “social media marketing strategy template,” then even the best content on social media strategy may not answer the user’s question. You’ve got to provide a template – a proven plan.
I did this, in one of my recent posts and it generated over 780 social shares and 35 useful comments.
The intent of any keyword is buried behind that keyword. Find it and fulfill it in your article. Your underperforming content will start gaining traction again.
After you’ve re-optimized your underperforming content, you can simply reach out to your fans and ask them to read the post.
Many bloggers actually remove dates from their old posts, especially after upgrading and re-optimizing them.
And, sometimes, depending on the level of competition, you may need a lot of links.
What specific steps are you taking to reoptimize your old posts, and what results have you seen so far?