Bring out your dead

Although Google likes ‘fresh’ content, there’s no doubt that pages can improve their ranking in the search results over time. I’ve seen this time and time again. A few years ago I had some success with a couple of product reviews, so I started to write a lot more, but somewhat ‘thinner’ on content. These did not have the same impact, and I gave up on the idea. Then, some 12 months later, one or two of them started to creep up in the Google results and the traffic skyrocketed, even though the content was by then becoming out of date.

There are all sorts of reasons why pages you write may take a long time to get the ranking you feel they deserve, including the time it takes to pick up external links. It doesn’t matter why it happens – how can you take advantage of it?

The answer should be obvious: revisit them, update them, and expand the content if you can. I wrote a page about parking at the O2 Arena which (after some time) unexpectedly muscled its way onto the first page of results in Google for several relevant queries. A stream of reader comments has been keeping the page fresh and extending the content, so I’ve just had to ensure that the main copy is kept up to date, including adding a date in the title. Now I really ought to monetise the page!

Which old – possibly ignored – pages on your site might be candidates for some TLC? The answer will lie in your Google Search Console, or you could try a service like SEMrush. This has just told me that the BMON site is appearing on the first page for the query ‘what is a data sheet‘, which may be an interesting opportunity. That page was written in 2014, and did not uproot any trees at the time.

Go and revisit those pages, and re-assess them with the query driving the traffic in mind. Can you improve the way the page answers the question even further? Can you make it look more current? Most important of all, is the page doing its best to turn random visitors into genuine prospects? Does it have a great call-to-action?