Gini Dietrich

Keyword Analysis: Refresh Your Old Content

By: Gini Dietrich | October 22, 2013 | 

Keyword Analysis: Refresh Your Old ContentBy Gini Dietrich

A few months ago, I had taken the week off from meetings so I could get Spin Sucks mostly written and start on our 2014 plan.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried writing all day, every day, but it’s not easy. In fact, it gets to the point where you look for other things to do (someone please call me!) to give your brain a break.

So, during my week of writing, I found myself digging into a client’s analytics to do a keyword analysis and give them some content ideas.

I was looking for keywords they ranked for, but not on the front page of search results. Then the idea was to go back and revise that old content to create a long-tail keyword opportunity.

Fast forward to yesterday when the CEO of the client’s company and I were chatting on Skype and he asked me the process for which I did that particular exercise.

Dig into Your Analytics

Here is what I did:

  1. Go into analytics and set the date range for the past 90 days (it won’t give you data beyond that).
    Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 6.13.33 AM
  2. In the left-hand sidebar, click on “acquisition,” “search engine optimization,” and then “queries.” If your analytics are not connected with Webmaster Tools, it will ask you to do this before you can create a query.
    Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 6.12.49 AM
  3. At the top of the query page, sort by “average position.”
    Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 6.04.43 AM
  4. Set an advanced filter for average position.
    Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 6.05.47 AM
  5. Set it greater than 10.
    Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 6.06.34 AM
  6. Hit apply.

The chart the search provides gives you a good idea of what people are searching for, but not finding you on the first page of search results.

If, for instance, I want us to rank for “communication,” I have to create content around that term to get us from page four (position 40) to 10 or lower.

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 6.10.32 AM

Keyword Analysis

That was the easy part and should have taken you only a few minutes. Now it’s time for the hard work: The keyword analysis will provide you a list of content you’ve already written (for us, it’ll be communication, social media, PR, digital, and Pinterest) and want to increase your results.

Open a Google search tab (or Bing or Yahoo or whatever you use) and type in keyword.

So, for instance, ours would be communication.

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 6.18.41 AM

You can see only one blog post in the first few that is more than a year old. On the rest of the page, there are two others. This is good! I’ll start with those.

I’ll open The Four I’s of Leadership Communication in WordPress and get to work.

Refresh Old Content

The process I’ll follow is this:

  1. Change the headline to Communication: The Four I’s that Are Important to Remember.
  2. Add “communication” as my keyword both in the post and in Yoast. Right now, it appears four times and the post is 849 words long. The keyword density is too low (less than one percent) so I need to add the word a few more times without making the copy sound ridiculous.
  3. The word doesn’t appear in any of my headings so I’ll add it to one of them.
  4. The word doesn’t appear in any of my anchor text to links. I’ll add that.

I’ll hit update. I may share it on the social networks again to drive some new traffic to it. And then I’ll watch my analytics.

The same process will be followed for the other blog posts that are a year or more old for that particular keyword.

The keyword analysis is actually the easy part. The tedious part – the labor of love, if you will – is refreshing the old content. But the results you’ll soon see – for the keywords that are important to you – will be worth it.

P.S. I didn’t come up with this idea all on my own. It’s from Andy Crestodina’s Content ChemistryIf you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you pick up a copy. It will soon sit on your desk like the dictionary and the AP Stylebook.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • I couldn’t find the Apply button. 
    My take away is I have never used that Analtyics Module. What I found really neat is every impression of someone seeing my site from a search is listed with those search terms. 
    The two lists I found most valuable is seeing what search phrases got the most impressions and which got the clicks. And while it is neat people saw my site who searched for Daiquiris I am pretty sure those folks aren’t looking for marketing help thus zero click throughs. And while the total CTR rate is better than Facebook ads CTR there were only 5 phrases that got clicks. 4 related 1 seemingly unrelated. 
    So tying in with your post advice because I never go off topic….ever. I can now go through and find the phrases I want more impressions from (Marketing Plans much more, Daiquiri’s not so much.) And use the new ninja skeelz from here to help out.
    BTW If your site is not WebMaster Tools Enabled (mine was not) you get asked to do so. Now it is.

    • Howie Goldfarb Oh good point about the Webmaster Tools. I’m going to add that in the post. Thank you!

    • Howie Goldfarb Daiquiris. Yes, I had the same issue with “Klingon.”

  • ElissaFreeman

    This? Is an amazing post.  I love how-to’s that I can actually do….you know, if you ever get bored again you could move into the instruction manual business…LOL

    • ElissaFreeman Would you believe I’m already thinking about what topic to write my third book on?! So pigs may fly and I might write instruction manuals!

      • ElissaFreeman

        ginidietrich ElissaFreeman AH HA! My Spidey sense must have been telling me that!!

      • ginidietrich ElissaFreeman Omigod. I love this idea!!!! Dooo eeeettt!!

  • My copy of Andy’s book is heavily dogeared and highlighted. An incredibly valuable resource. 
    This is a great post, and a good reminder that optimizing content doesn’t end when you click “publish”. To the contrary, that’s just the beginning!

    • jasonkonopinski Thanks for repeating the obvious.

      • ginidietrich I do what I can. 😉 
        In all seriousness (yes, I’m capable of being serious on occasion), diving headfirst into Google Analytics shouldn’t be intimidating to content creators. While SEO will largely take care of itself if you focus on creating relevant, valuable content that people will actually read, improving iteratively will continue to move the needle.

  • I love this, Gini! Looks like I’d better head on over and order Andy’s book.

  • BillDorman

    So, this is how you are going to keep me away; getting all technical and serious. Those weren’t exactly the screen shots I was looking for but it seems like your audience was impressed so it must have been a good thing. 
    Maybe Gin & Topics is a better day for me, huh? 
    We tied a record for heat last Sunday, so I don’t think we will be seeing snow anytime soon.

  • Thanks for laying this out in easy to follow steps. I have heard of a lot of businesses and bloggers refreshing their content as of late – now I know why.

    • TracyRedefined It’s a pretty great way to boost your rankings without creating totally new content.

  • Another one for the (lengthy) rainy day to-do list. I have old stuff that wasn’t optimized at all. Question: when tweeting/sharing old content, is it proper to identify it as “classic” in some way? “Here’s one from the archives, even more relevant today” — that kind of thing? Sometimes I feel a little duped when I click on something that’s old, but maybe that’s just me …

    • RobBiesenbach There are a number of WP plugins that will reshare older content from the archives (and tag it as such), so I’d say that simply acknowledging it as an older post suffices, particularly if you are resharing it based on current conversation and/or events.

    • RobBiesenbach What Jason said…and I always say something like, “It’s an oldie, but goodie.”
      You know what would be fun this winter when it’s too cold to play outside? To have a Chicago-area gathering of you and me (and maybe a select few others) to work on this kind of stuff.

      • Thanks, jasonkonopinski. And ginidietrich,  yes! Group accountability!
        It’s funny, the most popular, highest ranking blog post I ever wrote always shows up on the first page of results and gets hits almost every day. And I didn’t do any SEO for it. Dumb luck. I think I’ll leave that one alone …

  • susancellura

    Oh, the fun I can have! And I must buy said book. This is great step-by-step, ginidietrich. Thank you so very much for sharing!!!

    • susancellura Yes, buy said book. It’ll be dog eared to death.

  • kanya632

    Thanks for the tips, Gini! Never thought a little tweaking here and there could make such a big difference!

    • kanya632 Not a bad strategy, huh? It takes a lot less time to do this than create new.

  • Little details go a long way. This is the kind of stuff that helps put some distance between “you” and your competitors.

    • Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes Shouldn’t you be packing or something?

      • ginidietrich I hate packing. Hate moving. This is move number 8738y5284 and I guarantee there are a couple just down the road.
        And people ask me why I have become so interested in owning almost nothing…

  • Hello from the newbie always-has-something-to-learn Spin Sucker. Thank you for this; I had been procrastinating on even signing up for Google Analytics (well, I had the plug in but for some reason nothing was measured) … but this motivated me to dig deeper and figure it out. Haven’t completely succeeded yet but thank you for being the catalyst…..

    • biggreenpen If you need some help, let me know. We can get on Skype and I’ll show you my screen.

      • ginidietrich biggreenpen OOH thanks I may take you up on that!

  • This is brilliant. How much time do you find a content refresh takes? Thanks!

    • EdenSpodek Do you mean actually doing the work or how long it takes for it to rank higher? The actual work isn’t too bad – maybe 15-30 minutes (faster after you get used to doing it). For it to rank higher depends on your blog’s authority with Google and what other kinds of competition you have.

  • Content refreshes like this can save soooo much time and really give a boost to legacy topics. When we’re all stretched for bodies and hours it can be a real life saver to essentially give a rebirth to what was already a solid topic. Thanks for sharing, Gini!

  • KateNolan

    I have, conveniently, just put my hands on a copy of Andy’s book. I think I’ll use it as a shield when I go request access to Webmaster Tools from IT…

    • KateNolan O! M! G! That, literally, made me laugh out loud!

      • KateNolan

        And I win! 🙂

    • KateNolan I was just thinking…you may not need IT. Do you have access to analytics?

      • KateNolan

        ginidietrich That I do have, actually.

        • KateNolan So if webmaster tools are already set up, you have access.
          Go to:
          You’ll see your website in there. If it’s not set up and you’re not an admin, you will need IT.
          BUT if you are an admin, you can totally do it.

        • KateNolan

          ginidietrich I get it. It’s a “package” once it’s set up. I wouldn’t be surprised if it isn’t set up considering I had to point out to them that the GA code wasn’t on all our pages, just our “home” page. And, yes, I did enjoy being the one to point that out to them. 😉 Checking now…

        • KateNolan

          ginidietrich Had to verify ownership, but was able to do that through GA so I’m in! Genius!

  • Love love love love LOVE this! And not ONLY because I’ll be doing this very thing shortly. 🙂

    • belllindsay I figured it was easier this way than my telling you over Skype and you writing it on the back of an envelope.

  • You have screenshots and everything! Awesome. Just saved this to Evernote. Thank you!! #homework

    • KateFinley Of course I do! I love doing that.

  • JamesBSchultz

    ginidietrich Very very helpful and thank you! Can’t wait to dig in!

  • rdopping

    This is huge! Thanks so much for your unwavering useful insightful advice. And if you are wondering I am not even kidding (I know that’s hard to believe).

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  • Very clever, Gini – and I appreciate the “How-To” format.

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  • ronmartin05

    Probably the biggest mistake people make when doing their own PPC advertising is choosing the wrong keywords just because they want to get traffic. A couple of things to know are 1) General keywords get lots of searches and traffic but are less qualified and less likely to buy. When you’re paying for visitors, you want results, not just traffic. 2) The keywords that are being bid on must be extremely relevant to the product/services you are offering.  If it was a retail store, would you want to pay for male motor bikers to walk into Victoria’s secret? Nothing against bikers, it’s just not the target market – and that’s what happens when you bid on general, broad keywords. You get lots of untargeted visitors so your ROI doesn’t work.  If anybody wants help with this, call my buddy Simon here: 256-398-3835.

  • Andy Crestodina references this post  –
    and I am grateful  he did. 

    Nerdy and excellent, now I have a smidgen of GA, I will definitely have to try this.

  • I agree, we should keep on mind the importance of keyword research for our content. There are a lot of keyword tools we can use. I suggest we should read first before deciding what tool to use.

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