Moz’s Rand Fishkin hosts a video Whiteboard Friday every week in which he explains how certain SEO practices work. What I like about those videos is that he often gets deep into the weeds with practical SEO advice. This week he talks about republishing old content.
It’s important to understand that we’re not talking about re-purposing old content. We’re talking about republishing. What does that means? It means taking an old piece of content, maybe something from five or six years ago, and rewriting that content as a new blog post, either because you want to update the information or you want to gain new search engine traction.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re asking, “Won’t that result in a duplicate content penalty?”
Not if you do it right.
The Benefits of Republishing Old Content
Rand talks about the benefits of republishing old content. Your two audiences–Google and your human audience–will both reward you for doing this. Google rewards republishing because your republished newer content has the potential to earn its own links, audience engagement, social shares, etc. It also has the potential to earn its own search engine rankings.
Another benefit is, if you publish multiple pieces of content on the same subject over time, then Google uses that to showcase you as a topical authority on the subject. And because you get better over time in presenting yourself as an authority, both Google and your human audience come to recognize you as such.
Now that you know what the benefits of republishing are, let’s talk about how you can do it.
How to Republish Old Content
There are three primary ways to republish old content. Here they are in a nutshell:
- You can publish multiple pieces of content with slight keyword and content variations. Sometimes this is done in a series, but it doesn’t have to be. You can target “health food diet plan”, for instance, in one piece of content and “diet plans for health fanatics” in another. Instead of just rewriting the first post, which could focus on a single diet plan, you could rewrite an entirely different post in the second case summarizing several different types of healthy diet plans.
- Another way to republish old content is replace your older post with the newer one. You’re just going to republish a new post that serves as a sort of update to the old post, but you’re not going to un-publish or redirect the old post. You’re going to leave it in place. You might want to do that because that old post still has respectable search engine rankings and is getting a lot of targeted traffic.
- Finally, you could redirect the old post to your new post. This is beneficial if you want to transfer the link authority and other SEO benefits of the old post to the new post.
As you can see, republishing has its benefits. You should try it.