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The Article Refresh

September 27, 2018
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At Diamond + Branch, we believe in efficient marketing efforts. Why would you spend hours developing the perfect content – only to use it once? Instead, we promote a “write once, use often approach,” where content is packaged in a few different ways and shared across multiple platforms to reach a broad audience with a consistent message.

We also believe in opportunities that increase your site’s SEO value and rankings.

And it turns out there’s a great marketing tool that can be used to accomplish both goals, extending the life of already existing content and creating some major benefits for your site’s SEO – the article refresh!

What's an article refresh?

It’s when we re-publish an already existing article or blog post with a few key updates.

Importantly, an article refresh is NOT copying the content from one page (one URL) and pasting it to another page (with a different URL). This is called duplicating. Search engines hate this and will penalize you for having the same content on 2 different URLs.

Instead, we pick an article or post that was written in the past (at least a few months previously), but that has become relevant again (or maybe never lost its relevance). For example, we often choose to refresh a post because we know it will pertain to an upcoming event, holiday, or season. As these events are typically recurring, the content of the original article remains relevant from one year to the next.

What gets changed/added in a D+B article refresh?

1) An important part of our article refresh is to update certain key information like dates, locations, and website URLs that may change between the first and second publishing dates.

2) The article refresh also gives us an opportunity to build on the content created the first time, fleshing out details or adding related content where it seems useful.

3) The other critical opportunity the refresh allows for is the addition of keywords for SEO improvement. For every article refresh, I use Moz (an SEO tracking tool) to see how an article is currently ranking for keyword searches and determine if specific keywords can be added to improve its SEO ranking and allow it to show up for more search queries.

For example: if I’m refreshing an article on the San Diego County Fair, I may see an opportunity to rank for people searching for San Diego County Fair Parking. I can then update the article to include relevant parking information about the fair, which both improves the content for our readers as well as increases our opportunity to rank for these extended search terms.

4) In addition, an article refresh provides an avenue to boost the visibility of other content on our site, by adding links to relevant articles and posts that have been published recently. For example: a refreshed article about an outdoor festival may recommend bringing lots of water to stay hydrated, and since the first publication of the article, we have published a new article on the benefits of drinking water. So, in my article refresh, I’ll now include a link to the newer article as part of the recommendation. By doing this, we give an extra SEO boost to our more recent content by showing its connection to these pertinent topics.

The article is updated, now what?

Now you simply change the publish date to be recent. This will move the post back to the front of the feed and make it look like a new post. Importantly, when we do this, we haven’t changed the URL of the article, so we don’t confuse search engines (or make them think there is a duplicate) AND the article keeps all of the SEO value it originally had while adding even more!

Tell me more about this added SEO value!

1) The additional opportunity to add relevant keywords (as discussed above)Search engines (like Google) rank content that is both relevant and recent for a given topic.

2) By refreshing an article, you gain points on both accounts.

3) Republishing your content with updated content, keywords, and a recent publish date also makes Google favor you more for search queries. This makes it more likely you can get even more eyes on your content or engage with your target audience anew.

You don’t have to just take my word for it – let’s look at some data.

As I’ve mentioned, for one of our clients, the D+B team writes articles about San Diego events and lifestyle activities. On average a non-refreshed article about an event has a 100-110% increase in page views year over year (from the month it was published to the same time the following year).

Our two most recent refreshed articles have had a year over year increase in page views of over 480% – over 4x times the rate of our non-refreshed articles!

So, there it is, the article refresh – a great way to 1) reuse your awesome content, 2) update your audience with relevant information, and 3) improve your SEO opportunities – that’s a marketing win/win/win!