3 min read
min read
April 10, 2024

Content Refreshing: 10 Tips to Update Your Old Content for Better Results

Content Refreshing: 10 Tips to Update Your Old Content for Better Results

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Content marketers, including myself, can’t seem to stop talking about the long-lasting benefits of content refreshes. Specifically, how these refreshes have helped them increase their website traffic and paid conversions.

Take HubSpot for example. 

HubSpot’s content refreshing strategy has helped them increase the number of monthly organic search visits to their old posts by an average of 106%. And double the number of monthly leads generated from these posts. In fact, they generate more leads from their old posts than the new ones. 

Content refreshes work like a charm. And are the need of the hour currently, as content marketing teams are required to produce results with less manpower and tighter budgets due to economic constraints.

In this guide, I’ll share 10 actionable tips you can implement to get the most out of your content refreshing efforts.

But we’ll get to that in a moment. 

Let’s understand, what according to me, content refreshing is.

What is content refreshing?

Content refreshing is a content marketing strategy that involves updating and optimizing your existing online content. The primary goal of content refreshing is to make sure that the already existing content on your website remains accurate, fresh, relevant, and can continue to attract traffic and engage visitors over time.

Also, increases the chances of your readers taking some kind of desired action. Like signing up or booking a demo. 

For example, Single Grain, a US-based digital marketing agency, increased their website traffic by 96% after refreshing 42 posts within a time period of six months. 

Another interesting example is Scribe, an AI-powered documentation platform. Recently, I have been helping them refresh their old content pieces for better rankings and conversions. 

And here are the results of my work their content lead shared with me:

However, this doesn’t imply that you should stop producing new content. 

A winning content marketing strategy involves having a balance between updating old content and creating new content. 

There’s no universal number around what percentage of your efforts should go into each. 

But after having a conversation with nearly a dozen content marketers at well-reputed B2B companies, it’s a good idea to aim for 70-30%, where 70% of your content marketing efforts go into creating new content, while 30% is invested in refreshing and updating existing content.

Also, I’d like to point out that a big mistake many content marketers make the first time they undertake content refreshing is trying to update every single blog post in content libraries. 


Otherwise, you may find yourself overwhelmed and your efforts diluted. 

Instead, a more targeted approach is recommended. This involves refreshing:

1. Posts that need a slight boost:

The first organic result drives 39.8% of all clicks, followed by the second position standing at 18.7% and third position getting 10.2%. The higher a post ranks, the more likely it is to be opened. Look out for posts that don’t hold the #1 or #2 positions in SERPs yet rank in the top 10. 

2. Decaying content:

This includes posts that were once performing well but have seen a decline in traffic, search engine rankings and/or engagement over time. 

3. Blog posts targeting high-volume keywords yet not ranking as expected :

These are posts that can possibly bring in a lot of traffic to your website; however are not ranking as expected on Google. Look out for posts that target high-volume keywords yet are not ranking in the top 15.

4. Posts that target keywords with high purchase intent:

Make it a priority to refresh posts that target keywords with high purchase intent for a higher conversion rate. Even if these keywords have a one or two digit search volume.

5. Top-performing posts for a higher conversion rate:

These are posts that are already bringing in a good amount of traffic to your website and rank well on SERPs yet don’t have a conversion rate as high as you’d like. 

6. Posts that don’t fulfill the search intent anymore:

Search intent is dynamic as it evolves over time. Look out for posts that lost their rankings because they don’t fulfil the search intent anymore. 

That being said, let’s understand why it’s a good idea to focus on content refreshes.

Why content refreshes?

Here are a few reasons why content refreshes are on many content marketers’ radar right now:

1. Google loves content refreshes.

Back in 2011, Google rolled out its Freshness Algorithm update. This update prioritized and still prioritizes fresh and up-to-date content in Google’s search results. It puts a heavy emphasis on keywords that suggest a desire for the latest information. 

These keywords are divided into the following categories:

Recent or hot topics:

This includes latest news or trending events. 

Regularly recurring events:

This includes events that happen on a recurring basis like presidential election, NFL score, cricket score etc.

Frequent updates:

This includes searches that aren’t trending or hot yet require updated information like best camera or best smartphones.

Here’s an example:

Suppose you search “NFL score,” the Freshness Algorithm is designed to understand that you're likely looking for the most recent game results. Hence, Google's search results will favor the latest scores and updates over older content.

There are also keywords that don’t really suggest a desire for the latest information; however they can still benefit from freshness in Google's eyes. For example, “how to perform keyword research” or “how to create a content strategy.”

These aren’t necessarily time-sensitive searches, yet regularly updated information on these topics can be perceived as more valuable. This might include new insights, updated research, latest statistics, etc.

Other than this, I’d like to point out a big mistake I’ve seen many content marketers and SEOs make, i.e., trying to trick Google’s crawlers by making slight changes to these posts like changing the year from 2023 to 2024 while keeping the same information or adding a few minor text alterations that don't substantially improve the content. 

We don’t give Google enough credit but its algorithm is way smarter to differentiate between small and major overhauls. So, such shady tactics don’t really work and may even cause a decline in rankings. 

2. Content refreshes can increase traffic and possibly paid conversions.

Refreshing a blog post can elevate its search engine ranking for the targeted keyword(s). Further driving more traffic to your website. 

Performing a content refresh can also help you drive more conversions, when done right. 

You can increase the chances of conversion by:

  • Rewriting content in a manner that puts your solution front and center.
  • Incorporating CTAs at the right places.
  • Adding more workflows and product mentions, along with highlighting how your solution can help readers address a specific pain point.
  • Highlighting customer testimonials and/or incorporating case studies.

However, while doing so, make sure your product/service mention doesn’t feel forced. Also, don’t bombard your users with an incredibly high number of CTAs or put case studies in every single section.

No! Every product mention, CTA, workflow, case study and customer testimonial you add should feel natural. Otherwise, your readers will see right through it and may bounce off. 

3. Content refreshes can also help you maintain your search engine rankings.

Your competitors (both direct and indirect) would love nothing more than to take over your top spots in search results. Performing content refreshes can maintain your rankings.

Here’s an example:

Upon searching the term “blogging” on Google, I noticed that The Balance’s article on blogging held the #2 position (with the first one being a landing page). 

As per the page’s source code, this article was published back in 2008. 

So, why is it still holding the #2 ranking in 2024, despite millions of similar articles being published since then?

That’s because this post has been updated several times over the years. This article wouldn’t be holding the #2 position today if the content marketing team at The Balance didn’t regularly update it.

This indicates that content refreshes can not only help you increase your search engine rankings but also maintain them. 

4. Content refreshes can help prove your ROI during uncertain times.

We’re living in uncertain times. 

The last few years have been rough for the tech industry. From early-stage startups to enterprises like Google and Amazon, we witnessed large waves of layoffs and budget cuts.

During my time as a Content Lead at a SaaS company, my budget was drastically reduced from $15,000 to just $3,000. 

A lot of content marketing teams are on the same boat. They don’t have the kind of budget they used to before.

This means it's tough to commission new posts and have the same publishing cadence as before. 

Despite this, content marketing teams are under pressure to deliver same, if not better, results with a fraction of the resources.

As a result, for many content marketing teams, content refreshes have become a go-to method for meeting their marketing goals. Updating old posts is cheaper and less time-consuming than commissioning new ones.

And from what we discussed earlier, these refreshes can improve your search engine rankings, increase website traffic and drive more conversions, when done right.

Tina Donati, Content lead at Alloy Automation and founder of ContentCurve, shares her thoughts on the importance of content refreshes. 

5. Content refreshes lets you stay relevant and provide the most up-to-date information.

In today’s fast-paced world, information becomes outdated very quickly. What was relevant a year ago may not be necessarily true today. This can include step-by-step social media instructions, SEO best practices, statistics, changing UI and more. 

Even if one of your blog posts from 2018 ranks #1 on Google today, if the information is outdated, it can make a bad impression on your readers who are reading it in 2024. 

That’s where content refreshes save the day.

Content refreshes involve updating information like outdated statistics, adding screenshots with the latest UI, tweaking step-by-step instructions to make sure they reflect the current state of the platform, adding/subtracting information to make sure it’s relevant and accurate today and more. 

6. Content refreshes can help align your articles with the evolving search intent.

Search intent evolves over time. This means, what used to rank well a year ago may not necessarily rank well today due to the evolving search intent. 

Hence, it’s important to look out for posts that used to rank well earlier on SERPs and drove a good amount of traffic to your website yet aren’t performing well right now.

While doing so, analyze the SERPs to see if the reason behind this declining performance is a change in search intent.

If yes, you can refresh the piece to make sure that this specific content piece aligns with the evolving search intent.

How to refresh your content: 10 actionable tips to get started

No two content refreshes are the same. 

Refreshing content varies widely based on search results and what the readers are looking for. 

So, while it doesn’t really make sense to create a step-by-step guide for content refreshing, I’ve put together ten helpful tips you can implement when performing a content update:

1. Conduct a SERP analysis

That’s the first thing I do before performing a content refresh. This helps me understand why the top-ranking posts are outperforming others in the SERP. While conducting SERP analysis, I compare my existing post with the other five top-ranking posts in the SERP for the target keyword.

Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Analyze the length of the top-performing posts. There have been several instances when I have seen the top-ranking posts to have higher word count than others. So if you observe a pattern where top posts have longer content, consider increasing the length of your post. 
  • Along with word count, analyze the depth of information. Check whether the top-ranking posts go into more detail while addressing specific topics or subtopics? If yes, consider adding more information and unique insights to these sections.
  • Identify the topics and sub-topics covered in top-ranking posts that you’ve missed. I’d recommend you to add these sections to your post. Amy Copadis, Content Editor at Close, loves digging the SERPs. She states, “SERP analysis is my favorite part. Normally, I open an incognito window and just read through the current ranking articles. I try to understand: what are they getting right and what are they getting wrong? I want to make sure that I’m covering all the important sections and sub-sections so that my content pieces have a greater chance of ranking higher.”
  • Count the number of visuals in competing posts. If the top-performing posts have a higher number of visuals than you, consider adding more visuals to your post. Also see whether there's a gap in how you're using visual elements to complement and enhance your written content.
  • See when these posts were last updated. Many publications mention it front and center. If it’s not mentioned there, view the competing posts’ page source codes to see when they were last updated on. Search for terms like “modified” or “updated” to find this information. Note: not all websites include metadata that reveals when a post was last updated. 
  • Read these posts to better understand how they’re better than yours. Ask questions like: do these posts comprise subject-matter expert (SME) inputs (hello, E-E-A-T update)? Were they written by SMEs themselves who’re sharing their own personal experiences? 

It’s also to note that other factors like website authority, number of backlinks, page speed, website UX can also affect rankings. So, even if you conduct a SERP analysis and make your content better than what’s written in the top-performing posts, your post might not climb to the top of search results. 

When analyzing search results, it's not always possible to quantitatively assess factors like website user experience (UX), but I can refine my analysis by examining content from lower-authority websites that are still ranking highly. By understanding what these posts are doing right, I can extract valuable insights and apply them to uplift my own content.

For example, if I’m refreshing a content piece that targets the keyword “product management process,” along with analyzing the top-performing posts, 

I also look out for a blog post from a lower-authority website that’s outperforming posts from high-authority sites. And if this post is ranking higher than mine, I’m even more curious. 

2. Evaluate the effectiveness of introduction

Forming a first-impression about a person takes less than 1/10th of a second. Blog posts are no different. Your blog post’s introduction is one of the first things your readers will see. If it’s not effective, they’ll close their tab or head back to search results. Google considers either of these cases a bad signal and this can decline your post’s search engine rankings.While performing a content refresh, evaluate your introduction’s effectiveness. Ask yourself: “would I keep reading this if I were the target audience?” If the answer is no, you need to rewrite your introduction.Unfortunately, there’s no secret formula for writing a jaw-breaking introduction. But there are a few frameworks you can implement. These include:

  • Agree, promise, preview (APP): Start by agreeing with your reader about a problem they face, promise them a solution, and give a preview of what to expect from your post. 
  • Attention, interest, desire, action (AIDA): Capture the reader's attention in the first sentence, generate interest in your topic by saying something new to them, create a desire for the solution you're offering, and prompt an action, such as reading on.
  • Problem-Agitate-Solution (PAS): Identify a problem your reader is experiencing, agitate that problem by highlighting its pain points, and then present a solution.
  • Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF): Provide readers with the most important information first rather than the end.

To rewrite an introduction with your own flavor and based on these frameworks, you can use Wordtune’s spices feature. 

Besides these frameworks, here are a few tips to uplift your introductions:

  • Avoid “water is wet” kind of introductions: this involves including obvious information that adds little-to-no real value to the readers. Generate your users’ interests by saying something they don’t really know. 
  • Aim for short and on-point introductions: don’t make your introductions too long. Instead, get straight to the point. Your readers clicked on your post for a reason. Deliver the value they're expecting as soon as possible.
  • Personalize the introduction: If possible, relate the topic to the reader directly. Use “you” to make it feel like a one-on-one conversation.
  • Focus on Time-to-Value (TTV): deliver value to your readers as quickly as possible within your content. As Ben Pines, the Director of Content at Wordtune puts it:
  • Understand the intent of the topic: if you're writing a listicle, you don't need a lengthy introduction, your readers probably won't care. They’ll likely skim the article. Hence, for each topic, it’s important to understand the intent and get into your readers’ minds. 
Essential Reading: 10+ Content Writing Mistakes to Avoid (Based on SaaS Experts)

3. Replace outdated information with the latest

Replace outdated information like:

  • Statistics: download the latest research papers, reports or if possible, perform your own surveys to provide users with the most recent data. 
  • Examples: if you’re refreshing an article about “influencer marketing examples” in 2024, campaigns from 2015 shouldn’t be in the list. Replace them with the most recent influencer marketing examples. 
  • Case studies: include data from your most recent case studies. This will help your readers understand what to expect from your solution today. 
  • Step-by-step instructions: tweak step-by-step instructions to make sure they reflect the current state of the platform.
  • Take new screenshots that reflect the current user interface (UI): if the platform(s) included in your article has undergone a significant redesign or even minor changes, updated visuals are crucial for helping users navigate and understand the platform as it currently is. 
  • Other outdated information: Remove any information that isn’t relevant anymore. If a certain feature was discarded a few months ago, just remove its mention.

4. Incorporate more visuals 

Adding more visuals to a blog post can likely improve its positioning in the SERPs, especially if the top-performing posts have more visuals.

And while it’s true that Google’s crawlers can't "see" images in the way humans do, they can understand images through alt text, captions, and surrounding content, which can contribute to SEO. 

These visuals can include high-quality photographs, screenshots, memes and GIFs, before and after comparisons, videos, infographics, charts and more. 

However, while incorporating visuals, make sure they don’t feel forced. These visuals must complement the content and serve a clear purpose.

They should align with the narrative and help to further clarify or exemplify the points you're making.

Also, here are a few best practices to optimize your visual content so that Google and other search engines understands it better:

  • Write descriptive alt text for each image.
  • Use image compression tools to reduce file sizes for faster load times.
  • Ensure images are responsive and display correctly on all devices.
  • When necessary, add captions to images to provide additional context or source credits.
  • Use clear, descriptive file names that include target keywords where appropriate.

5. Add examples throughout your post

The sole purpose of content marketing is to help your target audience.

Your blog post must provide them with all the information they need to solve the challenges they’re facing and must guide them in the right direction.

At the same time, you must provide them with relatable examples to illustrate your points and give them inspiration. If it’s from one of your customers, that’s even better.

So, it’s a good practice to add examples throughout your post. 

However, while doing so, make sure they’re relatable. If you’re refreshing a post about small business influencer marketing, don’t add examples from top brands like Nike, Coca-Cola, etc.

Instead, look for examples of small businesses who have run successful influencer marketing campaigns and add them to your post. 

6. Focus on SEO

Performing a content refresh also involves focusing on SEO. Here’s an SEO checklist I follow while performing a content refresh:

  • Update intro to include primary keyword within first 2 sentences. 
  • Add the primary keyword in title, H2s, meta-description and alt-texts. If possible, start your title with the primary keyword. However, while doing so, avoid keyword stuffing.
  • Add each secondary keyword at least once throughout the post.
  • Use an SEO tool like SurferSEO or Clearscope to check keyword coverage and optimize keyword density.  
  • Add at least five internal links to other blog posts. When linking internally, choose anchor text that corresponds with the main keyword of the target page.
  • Check for and repair any broken links within the content
  • Refrain from including links to websites with low domain authority.
  • If appropriate, include a Frequently Asked Questions section that addresses questions from Google’s “People Also Ask” snippet.

7. Focus on Google’s E-E-A-T

E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. 

Google used to focus on Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T). 

Now, they've added "Experience" to make it E-E-A-T. This suggests that Google is placing greater emphasis on content created by individuals with direct, real-world experience. 

But it’s not always possible to involve these people in content creation.

So, what you can do is fetch inputs from these experts and structure your posts around these inputs. You can also add these inputs in the form of quotes to satisfy Google’s E-E-A-T.

I wrote an article for Zapier on Google Ads mistakes, for which I interviewed with over a dozen experts, and structured my blog post around their inputs. 

This article still holds the #1 position even after nine months of being published. 

Whether you’re writing a new post or refreshing an article, it’s a good practice to fetch unique insights from SMEs, which will help you uplift the quality of your articles.

You can also add a list of contributors section front and center like this:

This specific tip is for people who can collaborate with the design team to implement this change. 

Essential Read: How to Interview Subject-Matter Experts for Your Blog Posts

8. Add/remove information

When updating content, my main goal is to ensure that the article is the best available on the internet.

To achieve this, I might need to add new information or take out parts that are no longer relevant or accurate. To understand what sections, sub-sections or points to add, I heavily rely on SERP analysis. So, if you didn’t read the #1 pointer, I strongly recommend you to go through it. 

What I like to add:

  • Sections or subsections the top-performing posts are covering yet my post isn’t. 
  • More depth to certain sections, depending on how well the top-performing posts have covered it.
  • Jump links for easier navigation.
  • A TL;DR section to provide a brief summary of the main points in the article. This is for readers who don’t want to give the post a thorough read and are looking for quick answers.

  • YouTube videos (if possible): Alphabet owns both Google and YouTube. So if I have a YouTube video available to add to my blog post, I am all down for it.
  • Add customer testimonials from relevant review sites like G2 (for software), Capterra (for software), Tripadvisor (for hotels, holiday homes, restaurants).
  • SME inputs (check out #7 if you didn’t already) to satisfy Google’s E-E-A-T.

What I prefer to remove:

  • Anything that isn’t relevant anymore. For example, references to discontinued products, services, or technologies that readers can no longer use or purchase. 
  • Removing sections that increase time-to-value: my focus is on providing users important information as quickly as possible.
  • Outdated stats, screenshots, case studies, examples. While I prefer to replace these with recent information, if it's not possible to find a current substitute, it's better to eliminate the outdated information.

9. Improve the narrative flow

Every sentence and paragraph should connect smoothly to the one before it. While reading a post, it should feel like a story rather than a couple of sentences bundled together. So, while refreshing blog posts, it’s important to focus on the narrative flow. Read the post aloud: this will help you identify awkward phrasing and issues with rhythm and pace.

Also pay attention to elements like:

  • Logical Progression: make sure the content moves in a logical sequence.
  • Transitional Phrases: Use transitional phrases and words to connect sentences and paragraphs.
  • Consistency in Tone and Style: Maintain a consistent tone and writing style throughout the post.
  • Readability: Ensure the content is easy to read and understand. Aim for Hemingway Grade < 8. 
  • Content Flow: Review the post as a whole to see if there is a natural flow that guides the reader through the content. 
  • Structure: A well-structured post helps guide the reader through the content smoothly rather than bombarding them with loads of text. 

10. Focus on increasing paid conversions

Content refreshes can do way more than just help you increase your website traffic. You can perform content refreshes to increase your paid conversion rate. 

To achieve this:

  • Make sure that the content emphasizes the benefits of your product or service, rather than just listing its features. 
  • Add workflows and product mentions, but while doing so focus heavily on the benefits your solution offers. Position your calls to action in places where they feel like a natural next step for the reader.
  • Include clear and compelling CTAs to guide readers on what to do next.
  • Add success stories, case studies, and testimonials naturally to build trust and bring your readers further down the funnel.
  • Approach each post with a marketer’s mindset rather than a writer’s. While performing a refresh, ask yourself: “how can I make this content work harder for conversions?” Think like a marketer and focus on strategically placing content that not only informs but also persuades and leads to action. 


Make it a practice to refresh your content to make the most out of your content marketing efforts. 

Don’t do it just to satisfy Google’s Freshness Algorithm but also to increase your paid conversion rate and achieve your business goals.

Hope this guide was helpful! 

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