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    Author: Jon Smith
    Date: May 4, 2020

    How To Increase Search Traffic And Revenue From Old Content

    Do you know that all the SEO strategies you'll ever try will always have unequal cost, risk and reward? 

    For example, the cost of creating more content towards the growth of organic search traffic and revenue can hardly be equal to the cost of updating old content pieces. 

    Given the above fact, we'll explore in this post, how to get more affiliate sales and ad revenue simply by updating old content. 

    At this point, there is a chance you belong to the following categories of people interested in how to increase search engine ranking of their niche websites. Wherever you may be in the spectrum, this post is meant to help you accomplish your goals. 

    Niche Site Starter: Probably, you belong to the school of thought that believes in 'SEO without backlinks'. And that led you into publishing lots and lots of what you thought to be great content. But now a good amount of time has passed. Some of your content pieces are already outdated. Unfortunately, the ROI from your niche site isn't close to former expectations. 

    Perhaps, your on-page SEO foundations were not laid properly to match the kind of earning results you are looking for. 

    Niche Site Portfolio Builder: You may be in this for the long haul. Interestingly, you might have some niche sites in your portfolio. But a good number of these sites are not performing well regardless of how aged the content seems to be. And somehow, you have this inclination that publishing more content won't move the needle as much as you want. 

    Hey, it's time to think differently. I bet that's the reason why you are here. 

    Niche Site Flipper: You love the quick site flipping profits.  Now you've got some sites that need a boost between the next 3 – 12 months before you can put them up for impressive monthly recurring revenue multiples. 

    Here is the reason why some people like you are looking for the best ways to increase organic search traffic and revenue from their websites. 

    Whatever your stage among these categories or current priorities, reading through to the end of this post will prove helpful. But why would you care to do that? 

    Besides the potential benefits, you are probably thinking about right now, updating your old content for SEO is important for the reasons discussed below. 

    Why Update Old Niche Site Content For SEO

    Constant Google Algorithm Updates

    Just when you think you've figured out the magic formula that guarantees consistent growth of organic search traffic and niche site revenue, the algo updates will hit you like a stone on the head. When such happens, some of today's SEO best practices become practically obsolete. 

    In reality, niche site SEO, especially on Google, is like chasing after a moving bullet. In most cases, this doesn't happen as a result of the dreaded Google penalty. But the impact can be negative in some cases. 

    In line with this fact, here is what one SEO expert had to say after recovering from an algorithm update. 

    ''This was not a penalty we were slapped with. Penalties are arguably much harder to recover from. Instead, we were suffering while our competitors in the Google SERPs were being rewarded. This algorithm update was specifically focused on rewarding quality content that was previously under-rewarded.'' Maureen Stimola – Monitor Backlinks

    The key point is that when some of your old outdated content loses search traffic or simply not ranking high enough, it becomes very important to take action instead of leaving them that way. 

    Unintended Keyword Ranking

    Ranking for keywords you didn't expect to rank for.

    When you are intending to increase organic search traffic and revenue from your niche site, it is good to explore a possible way to make it happen. However, one fact that stands true is this – your best SEO strategies are within your control, the outcomes are not. 

    Unintended or accidental keyword rankings are those rankings that appear in Google SERP even when a certain page is not targeting such specific keywords. 

    The main thing is that older content pieces have a higher tendency to rank for accidental keywords usually in positions 10 – 100. Based on the current SEO ranking factors determined by Google, not your average guru with a probable opinion, the search engine crawlers attribute a certain level of relevance of such accidental keywords to your entire website as well as specific pages. 

    Now think about what I said about best SEO strategies being within your control as opposed to the outcomes. But how do all these things relate to old content SEO you may ask? 

    Read on to find out. 

    Dead Affiliate Links

    Dead affiliate links that need to be updated.

    Through my experience in Amazon affiliate niche site content writing, I have seen this a lot of times I may not be able to count. Here am referring to affiliate links that lead to non-existent pages or products that are out of stock. Based on the dynamic nature of ecommerce websites and marketplaces, products that affiliate niche sites link to often go out of stock almost daily. 

    The unfortunate thing is that most niche website owners do not become aware of these things happening on their old content pages, even the ones ranking well in Google SERP. 

    Now, are you beginning to see the benefits of updating old content to increase organic SEO traffic and revenue? Let's move on. 

    Benefits of Updating Old Content For SEO

    Having clarified why it is important to update old content on your niche site, let's dig into some of the specific benefits you might experience if you do it well. In the end, this will help you to think through and compare the cost of doing the work involved. As I have stated earlier, the potential benefits are very likely to be far higher than the cost of publishing more content on your niche site. 

    Beyond my personal opinion, this SEO case study of 260.7% increase in organic search traffic will give you more insights. Now onto the benefits. 

    #1: Leverage Higher Click-Through Rate

    Depending on the nature of the content you publish on your website, the meta description details that show up in SERP, including date often influence click-through rate (CTR). If you are to make your dates visible, having older dates might not be in your favor even when you start getting first page rankings.

    Though it is still unclear whether this SERP metric is an SEO ranking factor, a higher click-through rate will have a positive impact on your overall search traffic volume. 

    Interestingly, one of the best ways to achieve good results in this regard is to update old content. Read on to discover the specific tactics for doing that. 

    #2: Longer Dwell Time 

    Again, Google's algorithm is like a black magic box. The content is usually unknown to almost all of the SEO gurus you can think of. But then it is still possible to experience the benefits of increased dwell time on your niche website. In line with the above statement, here is what another SEO expert had to say about it – 

    ''The truth is, dwell time is a confusing and misunderstood metric'' – Joshua Hardwick, Ahrefs 

    Defined as the duration of time recorded when someone clicks a link in SERP to visit your page and returns to the same search results page. 

    This is closely related to the amount of time that someone spends on a particular page (time on page), irrespective of the source the person came from – social, email or video site. The big question is – how will updating old content and longer dwell time benefit you in this context? 

    You can look at it from the following perspectives – 

    Overall Page Views – whether your niche site is monetized solely with affiliate or ad revenue model, having a higher number of page views will always benefit you. Especially for people looking for the best ways to increase Google ad revenue, this is one metric that makes a big difference. 

    Pages Per Session – how many pages is a typical visitor viewing per session? In this case, getting a higher number of your niche site visitors to view more pages per session will have a positive impact on ad revenue and possibly affiliate sales. 

    Average Session Duration – the longer the time majority of your visitors spend on your niche site, the better the opportunity to convert them into quality leads, affiliate links or ad clickers. 

    #3: Higher Search Traffic Volume 

    This is one of the direct benefits of updating old content for SEO that is easy to track over time. If you succeed in this regard, you'll experience the benefits of getting more affiliate sales or display ad revenue from networks like Ezoic. 

    The interesting thing is that there are many different ways to increase organic search traffic which we'll explore in the following sections. Fortunately, putting these ideas to work will give you an edge in your niche market, regardless of how competitive it is. 

    From an improved click-through rate to accidental keyword ranking optimization, you'll find lots of interesting strategies if you stick to the end.

    #4: Increased ROI

    Whether you are just starting a new niche site, building a portfolio or looking for ways to boost revenue in preparation for the next flipping deal, we are all in it for the profit. If you tell me you don't care about ROI, I'll question your sanity. However, the main thing is that updating old content will increase the website's search traffic potential as well as revenue. 

    For people interested in how to increase niche website revenue from display ads, spending some time and money to update old content might give you increased ROI instead of leaving your low-ranking content pieces in their current position. 

    For example, if you can increase revenue by 20% month over month for like 3 – 12 months, your net profit will also increase without having to invest in creating more content. 

    Overall, this will have a positive impact on the chances of getting 20 – 35X multiple when you sell. 

    How To Increase Display Ad Revenue From Old Content 

    Whether you are looking for Amazon affiliate alternatives with a higher commission or best display ad networks for small publishers, implementing the strategies discussed will get you a positive ROI in comparison to the potential cost. 

    But then, you just have to commit. Let's get into the specific actionable items. 

    #1: Set Your KPIs

    What are KPIs? KPI stands for key performance indicator.

    You cannot improve what you don't measure. Tell me, have you heard of this statement before? I bet you have. This is to give you an idea of why it is important to take this very first step. 

    By setting some performance indicators, you'll be able to measure the outcome of your efforts towards updating old content for SEO. Just pause and think about the opposite for a while. Without setting some content performance indicators, it becomes harder to tell if you are wasting your resources (time and money) or investing them. 

    By having a distinct record of where your site is before updating outdated content, you'll have a better understanding of the negative or positive effects of your efforts. 

    But what are those key metrics or indicators you should be looking at? 

    Monthly search traffic volume – the first part of the title is about growing search traffic. Hence, it is one of the key indicators for measuring outcomes before and after updating old blog content. 

    You can use Google Search Console, Ahrefs or other SEO tools to measure this monthly

    Pages Per Session – a higher number in terms of pages per session is a good indication of optimized website navigation and engaging content. Most times, this metric will have a direct on overall page views per month as well as ad revenue. You can keep track of this in Google Analytics

    Average Session Duration – how much time are people spending to consume your content on average? Unless your niche site Is solely monetized with affiliate links, making your site visitors spend more time, especially on your old content will have a positive impact. Get this data point from inside Google Analytics too. 

    Average SERP Click-Through Rate – if your old content SEO strategies are working, you'll notice an increase in SERP ranking positions and average click-through rate which will impact overall search traffic volume as well. 

    Monthly Ad Revenue – this one is very simple. If you can make measurable improvements on these other metrics, they will have an impact on monthly ad revenue. You can use Ezoic, AdThrive, MediaVine or other display ad networks to get this metric. 

    These are the most important content performance indicators you should be tracking. Your main task is to write the current numbers in your project document. Make sure to add a specific date of starting to update old content. As noted earlier, this will help you to measure the outcome of your efforts before and after updating old content on your niche site. 

    #2: Identify Low Performing Old Content 

    Before growing search traffic and ad revenue by updating old content, you need to identify the pages first. But then, it is obvious that not all the old pages on your website will need an update. For most content pieces, it takes some time to get them ranking on the first page of Google. 

    But how long you may ask? To answer that question and others like how old are the top-ranking pages in Google, Ahrefs did a study with over 2 million keywords

    The indication is that the greater majority of content pages ranking on the first page are older than 1 year.

    Probably, this will help you to determine how old a piece of content is before needing an update. Based on my personal experience, the ideal age is 1 – 5 years old content. However, the most important thing is to focus exclusively on low performing pages. 

    Depending on the size of your website, you may want to make clusters of low performing pages based on the following metrics –

    Low Ranking Position – having decided on the age factor, use Ahrefs to identify low ranking pages that are currently within positions #5 – 20. Enter your website domain into the Site Explorer. 

    Click the link that will list out top pages. And then use the position data filter option to select and make a list of low- ranking pages within the position range mentioned here.

    Based on the above example, you should remember to visit each page individually. Identify and add only the older pages to your list. Note that you can also use Google Analytics or search console to make your list as well. 

    Low SERP CTR - old content with low search engine result page (SERP) click-through rate 

    (CTR) usually has great potential for additional search traffic if you update them properly. Here you can use Google Search Console to list your pages based on 28 days, 3 or 6 months performance reports. 

    First, you have to click on Pages, then on CTR as indicated above. This will show you the lowest and highest SERP click-through rate for each of the pages listed. You may want to download the CSV file to make the sorting easier. 

    Low Search Clicks – these are clicks or search visitors coming to your page, whether the pages are ranking position #1, #2, #20 or #100. For this post, you'll want to make a list of old content pages with lower search clicks, especially the ones ranking in position #5 - #20. 

    Again, you can use Google search console to get this data. 

    Low Average Session Duration – this is another content performance indicator. If the majority of the visitors to your website are not spending enough time, you won't have the opportunity to show them revenue-generating ads. Using Google Analytics, try to make a list of old content pages with the lowest average session duration.

    These are some of the best ways to identify low performing content that need to be updated for growing search engine traffic and revenue. Depending on the size of your website, you can combine these steps or use them separately to make a list of 10 – 30 low performing old content. 

    To help measure performance before and after updating old content, try to keep a separate record of the current metrics. You can use Google spreadsheet for this. Remember what I said earlier about setting your KPIs. 

    #3: Select Your Target Keywords 

    Before you even get into the work of updating old content, you need to have a list of target keywords. Fortunately, most of the pages you selected in step #2 are probably ranking in position number 5 – 20 for some specific keywords. However, a single page can be ranking for multiple keywords which could be up to 1000 search queries in some cases. 

    Beyond what conventional keyword research tools will give you, updating old content with keywords that Google has already attributed to some specific pages has its benefits. While you are still here, we'll get into how to use such keywords in the following sections. 

    Practically, you can use Google search console to identify the exact keywords that every page on your site is ranking for. But that will be harder if your site is relatively large and we have to deal with 10 – 30 pages here. 

    Instead, we'll be using Ahrefs again. Below is an example of a page ranking in position #8 for the keyword, 'best beard trimmer 2019'.

    As you can see from the screenshot above, the same page is ranking for over 550 other keywords. Now, you can select your keywords in the following steps.

    Take each of the old content pages you selected in previous steps. Enter each one into Ahrefs Site Explorer one by one. Click organic keywords on the left side of the page result.

    Filter the keywords with the highest search volume or the ones ranking in position #4 - 10. 

    Make a list of 3 – 10 target keywords for each of the pages selected earlier.

    Tip: Try to focus and select the keywords with the highest search volume first, especially the ones currently ranking in position #3 – 10. Here is the reason. Updating your old blog content and making a slight 1 – 10% increase in ranking position for such keywords will have a big impact on overall search traffic volume and revenue. 

    #4: Do Some Competitor Analysis 

    At this point, you probably have some interesting ideas on how to update old niche site content for growing search traffic and revenue. However, relying 100% on assumptions or outdated SEO practices won't get you the results you are looking for. By doing some SEO competition analysis with a direct comparison of the pages that need updating, you'll have better insights into what is working now. 

    What are the top first-page ranking competitors doing better than your old outdated content? More than anything else, searching for your target keywords for each page chosen for an update is the best place to start. 

    Look for the top competitor pages ranking on the first page of Google. Focus on websites that have a similar revenue model like your own first. Below are the main pointers you should be looking for. 

    Page Title Length – having your page title truncated often masks the true meaning and value of your blog posts titles. But the main thing is to check the normal length (words and characters) for current first-page ranking competitors

    Meta Description – check to see how the meta description is written. Watch out for the use of multiple keywords or any type of link that appears in your competitors' top-ranking pages. 

    Internal Linking – this specific factor improves both the average session duration and pages per session. 

    Study how the first page competitors for your target keywords are linking from one page to the other. Intentionally lookout for the use of anchor text for internal linking to see if you can spot a pattern 

    Video Content Inclusion – a growing number of web users now spend more time on video content than text. Analyze the pattern of video inclusion where it is present in a top-ranking page. 

    Bullet Points – this is one of the reasons why some pages earn position zero rankings through featured snippets. If a certain competitor is ranking in Google featured snippets for any of your target keywords with How-To or List Post, study how the bullet points are structured. Below is an example. 

    Page Load Speed – you can use free tools like GTMetrix or Pingdom to analyze your competitors' current page load speed and compare the score with the old content you want to update. 

    While you are doing the analysis, you should be taking note of your findings. Possibly, making a list of actionable items or work to be done will be helpful at this stage. What you find from this step will guide you on the next step towards growing search traffic and revenue. 

    Word Count – trying to answer the question about optimal blog post length based on intuition is tricky. The best approach is to look at the pages that are currently ranking on the first page of Google. Use this free word counter to check the content length and compare your pages. 

    #5: Update And Improve Old Content 

    If you have completed the other steps – set your KPIs, identified pages, selected your target keywords, and done some competition analysis, here is the main step that will start getting the results you want. Interestingly, how well you completed the other steps will also determine the results you get within 1 – 6 months after updating your old content. Without wasting more time let's get into the work to be done and how to do it. 

    Rewrite Your Meta Descriptions – the very first thing to do is to make the date that often shows up in Google SERP to be current. The first part is the publishing date of the content if that is visible. If the pages you selected in the earlier steps include titles like 'best vacuum sealer 2017', change the date in the content title as well.

    For the main meta description area, try to add more keyword variations that are relevant to the search intent. This is the place you'll start making use of the keywords selected for each of the pages selected. 

    Increase The Word Count – for one thing, quality long-form content, like this one you are reading, usually engages visitors to spend a longer time on your pages. 

    By increasing the word count, you'll have the opportunity to do the following – 

    • Use a higher number of keywords relevant to the page being updated 
    • Add more subheadings and H2 tags with long-tail keyword variations 
    • Match the word count found on competitor pages ranking in page one 

    Add More Internal Links – this is another benefit of increasing word count. The first step is to use some of the keywords you selected and link from the old content pages to other relevant pages on your website. 

    The second step is to identify the pages on your website with the highest number of inbound links. You can identify those pages with Ahrefs or Google Search Console. Use some of your selected target keywords and link from those top linked pages to the old content pages being updated. Doing this properly will increase both the average session duration and page views per session. 

    See this internal linking case study of a 40% increase in organic search traffic for more insights. Don't forget to audit your selected pages for internal or external links leading to dead 404 pages. 

    To get more ad revenue, consider adding more internal links from the top traffic pages on your website to the old content pages being updated. 

    Add Video Content – whether your top-ranking competitors are doing this already or not, adding video is another effective way to update old content for SEO. Depending on the nature of your content, you can add explainer videos, screen recorded tutorials or relevant videos from other industry experts. 

    The benefit is the video content will get an increasing number of your visitors to spend more time on those old pages. More time on your site will give you new opportunities to show them more ads. 

    Refresh Your Images – if people are straining their eyes to get real value or make sense out of the outdated images on your website, the average session duration will be very low. Here you are to add clean and updated images on your posts. 

    Don't forget to use the keywords you selected for each page in the image alt tags and image name description fields. Note, you may want to add more relevant images to your content instead of merely refreshing old ones. 

    Work on implementing these specific steps, and then wait to compare the outcomes after 3 – 12 months period. Remember you have to set your KPIs first before you start. 

    How To Increase Display Ad Revenue From Old Content 

    Growing your search engine traffic from old content SEO will have a positive impact on overall monthly page views and ad revenue. Yes, I know you are in love with the passive nature of the ad revenue model. But then, consistent or significant growth doesn't happen by chance. 

    Think about a 2 – 20% increase in display ad revenue over the next 1 – 6 months. Below are some things that will boost your niche site earnings while the search traffic is growing over time. 

    1. Build An Email 

    Especially on the old content pages you have selected to update within a specific duration of time, you ought to start building an email list as soon as possible. That is if you are not doing this already. 

    As your search traffic grows, the email list will be growing as well. 

    Among other things, you'll have an audience for the promotion of affiliate products or the new content being published on your site. This is what they call traffic on tap. Check this post on the best lead magnet ideas to discover what might be your best option. 

    1. Run Display Ad Split Testing 

    Some of the best display ad networks like Ezoic have powerful split testing or display ad A/B testing tools built into their platform. If you are not using this publisher network already, consider signing with 10,000 monthly page views. 

    The main thing is that split testing will help you to discover the best performing ad units in terms of actual revenue. The image below is just to give you an idea of what I mean. 

    Better to test and discover than to relay 100% on assumption. Some of the key variables that can be tested include ad type, (video, text, image), ad size and placement. These are the core variables within your control. When you discover the top earners, use more of it and less of others. 

    Final Words

    We all love the passive nature of ad revenue or affiliate income that comes from niche websites. But then, if a good number of the content you spent money and time to create are old enough, waiting for passive income and leaving them that way will limit your earning potential. 

    Further research might even reveal more growth opportunities in addition to the ones discussed here. 

    Creating more content and building backlinks are perfect ways to grow a niche site. However, these growth strategies can be costly for most people. And I can bet you have limited time and money like everyone else, including me. 

    One obvious thing is that if the traffic coming to older and low-ranking content on your website is low, the earning potential will be limited. That will also hurt your overall ROI from the website. This is the essence of learning how to increase organic search traffic and revenue from old content. 

    Unlike most of your competitors, you now have a set of repeatable strategies you can use to achieve some of the benefits discussed earlier in this post. 

    The key takeaway is to set your KPIs first. Identify older content with proven potential for higher ranking position, higher SERP CTR and traffic generation. Selected your keywords from those pages. Do some competitive analysis to help you implement only the SEO strategies working today. 

    Then use the insights gained to update your old content. Commit to putting these strategies to work. Eventually, you'll have real numbers to compare your results before and after updating the old selected content pages. 

    Do you have an insightful information on studies you have done with your own niche websites? Comment below. I would love to read the information.

    Struggling to get traffic to your website?

    If you need help be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel here.

    Author Bio

    I started blogging way back when it was much easier to rank websites. I now focus full-time on quality content and produce a lot of content for various websites I own. I also have a YouTube Channel:
    Jon Smith

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    Jon Smith Digital Marketing
    Online since: 2010
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