One of the many great benefits of blogging is the traffic from search engines that you get to each and every article for keywords related to that specific article (if you blog is set up correctly). The traffic for each keyword or for each article is usually small - though once in a while you usually hit it big. But when you add up the traffic for dozens, or over time, hundreds of blog articles, it can really add up.
One example of this is an article I wrote 6 months ago in June 2007 about "Free Google Advertising". Even as recently as a couple weeks ago, we were still getting some traffic to this article because it ranked on the first page of Google for terms like "free advertising on Google", and a lot of people search for terms like that.
But, recently I noticed the traffic for these keywords had died off. (Oh no!) I checked our rank for the keywords and sure enough, or rank had declined so we were no longer on the first page. As we all should know by now: No first page = No traffic. I could have just accepted it and moved on and written some new articles. But I didn't. With a few quick changes to the article, I was able to climb back up in the rankings and start to get some of the traffic back in just a couple days.
Here is a HubSpot graph showing our rank for one of the relevant keywords. Notice how we were on the first page for a long time, then fell off, and then moved back up.
How to Revive an Old Blog Article for SEO
Here are the steps I took to climb back up in the rankings for this blog article and get my traffic back.
Research the keywords that were driving traffic before. Knowing what the most important word or phrases were that had been driving traffic to your article before is important, since you know you have a very good shot at ranking for those terms again.
Analyze the key on-page SEO characteristics of the article. The most important field is the title of the article (which should also be the page title and the page URL if your blog is configured properly). You should also look at any headings within the article and the text of the article itself. For instance, I noticed that I had not used the word "advertising" or "advertisement" very much (only a couple times).
Rewrite the article title. My old title "Free Advertising on Google: A How To Guide" was good at getting people interested in reading the article. It was not as good for search engines. I made it shorter and more focused on my keywords. The title is now "Free Advertising on Google". Because my blog is set up correctly, this text also automatically appears in the page title and the URL, so they are more focused as well. Cool.
Rewrite or add headings. Search engines look at text in headings as more important than other text on the page. So, if you don't have any headings, add them. If you do have them, make sure they focus on your keywords. I re-wrote one of my headings to be "How to Get Free Advertising on Google" and added two others with keywords.
Edit the article text. Tweak the article content a bit to try and incorporate the keywords for which you had been ranking into the article content a bit more. I don't believe in measuring keyword density like some people - I think the text needs to be well written not mechanical, but you can probably add the right keywords into the article 3-5 more times without much trouble.
Write a new blog article that links to the old one. A new blog article that has a well placed link to the old one using anchor text that includes your keywords can help a little bit, since it is an additional link and references the relevant keywords in the link text. For example, at the top of this article, I linked to the old article.
Track your rank for the next couple days / weeks. Depending on the authority of your website with Google and how often they index your website, you can see changes in a couple days (like me) or it might take longer.
One of the more advanced things I did not do, but could have done, is to analyze all of the links into the blog article and see if I could optimize the anchor text of any of those links to be more focused on the right keywords. Maybe if I get bored this weekend I'll do that too.