Optimizing Old Blog Posts

Over the course of time, I’ve embarked on a project I hope helps this blog grow in online prominence. To date I don’t believe it’s helped all that much, but I think it’s important anyway. The goal is threefold in nature, with not each thing I’m doing directly impacting anything.

The first thing I’m trying to do is go back through posts with images from Flickr via a plugin I used in the past called Compfight. When Compfight crashed and burned, it didn’t take the images with it, thank goodness. What it did do was add a bit of cold that never existed previously and made the text beneath the image alter the look of the post so that it looked like amateur hour.

Luckily I figured out the code it added so whenever I look back at a post I might want to link to or share (which is more common than you might believe) and see the image out of whack, I go in and fix it. This doesn’t do anything for prominence, but if I’m sending people to the page it might as well look good.

The second thing I’m doing may or may not do all that much. For many years I used a great number of affiliate programs on this blog, and in most of my posts for at least 6 or 7 years I included a product at the end of my articles and often a link or two within an article, especially if I was mentioning or reviewing a book or movie.

What I never thought of at the time, and many people probably still don’t think about, is that not only do campaigns often close down quickly but your remaining code suddenly leads people to a 404 error, or what’s also known as a broken link. Google will penalize sites that have a lot of broken links, even on old articles. I run a plugin called Broken Link Checker which is pretty good, but it’s definitely not perfect.

Even when it does work, if there’s an image you used and embedded within the text it’ll still be showing there, possibly along with the product information that no one can get to. Once again, those things need to be cleaned up, not only for Google’s sake (I haven’t noticed other search engines penalizing anyone for this but I wouldn’t put it past any of them) but because leaving images and incorrect text sitting there once again looks unprofessional.

The third thing I do is work on shoring up my tags, “keywords”, “title” and “description”. I’ll get to the three with quotation marks in a minute; let’s talk about the tags first.

Back in the day, we didn’t have anyone telling us how to use categories or tags for our benefit. I have 35 categories on this blog; that’s way too many. I consider that a lost cause; way too many years for me to worry about it now.

When it comes to tags, I used to have multiple tags on a lot of posts, and that was pretty ridiculous because they weren’t all that focused to the extent that search engines probably couldn’t figure out what I was writing about all that well. Tags actually help us, the creators, align lots of posts that use the same topic together so that sometimes we can add a tag link into our content instead of another article for internal linking purposes. It works best when you have a lot of articles using a specific tag instead of one article with one tag. It takes some planning, but it helps pull things together.

Now for “keywords”, “title” and “description”, I have to mention that I use All In One SEO Pack to handle most of my SEO operations, whereas a lot of people use Yoast SEO instead. I’m contrary like that, but it’s a pretty good plugin. I didn’t always use the three items above when it came to my blogs, which means I missed out on a lot of opportunities to highlight any of the items above. I’ll take them one at a time.

Keywords is an easy one to understand for most of us. A lot of people assume that one’s content is good enough, and sometimes it is. When it’s not, adding keywords into the mix is the smart way to go. Remember that thing I said earlier about my tags being all over the place? If I’d put them in as keywords or keyword phrases instead of using tags to do the job most of those posts would have worked much better for me on search engines. It’s also cleaner than having a plethora of tags showing up; once again, that looking professional thing.

Title is also an easy one to know about, but WordPress handles it differently for some themes and versions. On my blogs, if I post a link somewhere and I haven’t posted a title in the Title box, it shows up as my blog name followed by the title. Not only does that look bad, but it hurts SEO at the same time. If I put my title into Google and hit enter, it comes up #1 because it’s had years go learn that specific pattern to associate it with this blog.

If I take an article like one of my early articles in 2019, 12 Things You Need To Address On Your Website, and put it into Google it doesn’t show up at all; for that matter, it doesn’t show up on DuckDuckGo either. You know when I can find it? When I start with “I’m Just Sharing”… and only on DuckDuckGo.

It’s my fault because I don’t always remember to put a title in there, and I didn’t put one in this particular article; sometimes I’m stupidly forgetful. In my defense, that article was a rewrite of an older article that I improved and reposted, but when I did that I should have made adjustments in AIO SEO; I’ll be adding it after I finish writing this article.

Description is a different matter entirely because not enough people know about this one, and I was a fool for a very long time. If you don’t add a description anywhere, the search engines will use up to 150 characters in the beginning of your article. A lot people recommend when you’re writing content to make sure to have your keywords listed early; I’ve almost never done that. This is why adding a description in AIO SEO or Yoast SEO is important.

This is your one chance to add a description that not only helps the search engines match up with your keywords, but if anyone actually finds your article they’ll read what you tell them the article is about instead of your initial words in introducing the article. I’ve gotten better about doing that, but it wasn’t something I did much in the past. For this article, my description will read “Talking about my process of going back and optimizing old blog posts”. It reinforces the title of this article and should help the search engines give me a bit of love; we’ll see if it works out.

It’s always important to optimize one’s website or blog, and it helps to do a little bit of maintenance every once in a while to see if you’ve missed something or see if something’s out of date. Why have all those older posts wasting away when not only could they help boost your blog’s prominence, but they become relevant on their own?

That’s my take on it anyway. I only have 1,800 articles to look through (well, 1,534 since I’ve made a good number of old articles private); that’s the cost of being prolific. šŸ™‚

6 thoughts on “Optimizing Old Blog Posts”

  1. Hey Mitch Mitchell,

    Great post with great tips to optimize the older blog post. I like the points that you have mentioned. Keywords and titles really are truly essential and plays an important role for blogs. Providing a suitable and correct title for blog is very much important and necessary for getting more traffic, whereas an an attractive title can attract more readers, audiences and user and can generate more user engagement.

    Helpful post and Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Aadarsh. I know titles can be important, but I don’t do them as everyone else does since I’m more of a storyteller than a marketer. With that in mind, it’s still important to make sure search engines get your article title rather than the name of your blog or website first.

  2. Hey Mitch Mitchell,

    I do agree with the points on optimizing old blog posts which we can update the content with latest points or we can add an section FAQ. We can have the track with our google search console and collect the keyword which we are generating impression and optimizing them on our blog post give more valuable.

    Thanks again Mitch Mitchell

    1. You can definitely update a post and either re-release it or leave it be. It’s harder using Analytics to look for keywords because Google suppresses most of the information… which is ridiculous since it’s for our own accounts. That would be really helpful; oh well…

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