A strategy for optimizing old content

January 26, 2022

We tend to fixate on creating new content. But that’s not the only way to meet performance goals.

Updating your existing content is important, and almost nobody does it!

Remember the awesome (and not-so-awesome) pages you published months or years ago? They’re still affecting your overall organic performance – and not always in a positive way.

Each page needs to be analyzed and updated sooner or later. This often feels daunting, especially if your site has a big content library.

That’s where a content optimization strategy comes in.

🏛️ Building a content optimization strategy

The idea of updating an entire library might leave you with a lot of questions:

  • Which pages should you update first?
  • What does a given page need to perform better?
  • Where do you even begin with this process?
  • How can you complete it without burning out?

A content optimization strategy answers those questions for you. And it breaks down the library update project into more manageable chunks.

The process has four main stages:

  • Analyze performance data
  • Group pages by performance
  • Schedule pages for optimization
  • Plan action for each page

All you need to get started is access to your site’s Google Analytics.

(Don’t worry: we built a little templated tool you can use to simplify the process. More on that below.)

🏄🏼 What you can do

To get started, you’ll pull some data. I know that Google Analytics is not everyone’s favorite place to be, so here’s a step-by-step guide :

  1. Go into Google Analytics, and open up the “All Pages” view (there’s a handy search bar at the top that can help you find it).

  2. Extend the date range using the date picker. We recommend a date range that covers three months. Also, change the view to show you at least 100 posts.

  3. Click the “Export” button. This will export all the data into Google Sheets. (Here’s a gif that shows you exactly what to do.)

  4. Open the exported sheet. Sort the page data to identify top performers, poor performers, and the in-betweens. You can do this manually in the exported Google Sheet – but there’s an easier (and more precise) method that we recommend…

  5. Use this spreadsheet template to group all pages by performance category. Paste your page data in the template and it will automatically group each page into one of 4 categories: Stars, Sloths, Wallflowers, and Lemons.

  • Schedule pages to be updated first. We recommend starting with the top five Star posts, followed by the top five Sloth pages. Those two groups seem to get the best ROI from updates.

And now you’ve got the first ten optimization assignments for your library update campaign. The speed at which you update your library is up to you.

Feel free to schedule office hours to look at this together!

🏆 If you found this useful, you might want to subscribe to our newsletter. When we have enough interesting stuff to say, we send another edition (typically a couple times a month). No spam, of course.