Case study: The ROI of Re-optimizing content material (Plus Bonus How-To)

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the author’s perspectives are totally his or her own (except for the not going event of hypnosis) and might not continually mirror the views of Moz.

We’ve been re-optimizing Brafton’s weblog content always on the grounds that 2018. It’s been one of the primary seo strategies we’ve used to boom our blog visitors from 20,000 to 200,000 month-to-month site visitors over the last 3 years, and we’re persevering with with this method into 2022 (and in all likelihood beyond).

For the motive of this have a look at, we wanted to answer the query, “How nicely does content material re-optimization paintings, and is it really worth your time?”

however first, let’s returned up and get a few definitions out of the way.

what is content re-optimization?

In its most effective form, content re-optimization is the method of updating present content material with new material so that it will upload value to the original piece.

there are many ways content material can be updated. Here are some methods we’ve used through the years:

  • adding new visible content, like an infographic, to an current blog to attraction to readers who are more visible newcomers.

  • adding a video tutorial to assist complicated on a topic we’re masking.

  • replacing old examples featured in a roundup blog post with higher, extra recent examples.

  • adding lacking subject matter gaps that our competitors are masking but we aren’t.

  • absolutely re-writing the content material in choose of a higher target topic (a completely drastic degree).

In all instances, we’re adjusting present content in a few way to make it better for our audience. Preferably, that content material will also carry out better in natural seek.

Why re-optimize content?

in case you’re anything like me, you’ve possibly invested tremendous time and electricity into growing incredible content on your logo — and much like me, you recognize precisely how a good deal attempt goes into every single word posted. There’s the making plans, the studies, the writing, the rounds of evaluation, the copyediting, the proofing, the curation of useful visuals, and ultimately clicking “post” once you’re completed. All of this takes time and participation from multiple stakeholders.

It’s laborious. And pricey.

It’s for your exceptional hobbies to shield the time and financial investment you’ve put into each single piece of content you create for your emblem, and ensure it maintains performing at or beyond your expectancies. That is why we re-optimize our content material at Brafton. Due to the fact we’ve found it’s an exceptionally fee-effective manner to maintain our content competitive and generate the commercial enterprise results we assume from our website.

Why this look at turned into conducted

We recognise that our content material re-optimization efforts can take credit for a part of the organic site visitors results we’ve visible on our internet site. For this analysis, my intention become to calculate the precise effect content re-optimization changed into making on our weblog performance.

let’s get into it!


I centered strictly on written content material updates that had been made to our blog posts between January 1, 2021, and October 31, 2021. The usage of this time frame, i used to be capable of use all sixteen months’ really worth of search Console records for the metrics analyzed:

  • forty one articles had been analyzed.

  • The articles have been republished with written content updates — their publish dates had been updated on the time of the re-optimization.

  • every article had a completely unique key-word goal.

  • number one tools used:
    • search Console. I in comparison the 3-month time frame before the republish date with the 3-month time-frame after the republish date.

    • Ahrefs. I took a photograph of the data from three months pre- and publish-re-optimization.

  • each article selected have been indexed for at the least 3 months earlier than being re-optimized, with a subsequent three months of facts to evaluate.

  • Metrics evaluated (and which we had been trying to improve with re-optimization):
    • Clicks to the URL from the goal key-word.

    • All organic clicks to the URL.

    • general range of page-one keywords every URL ranks for.

    • target key-word function for the URL.

    • overall natural impressions for the URL.

outcomes: more clicks to URL from goal key-word

Our primary purpose with re-optimization is to boom the number of clicks each web page is producing. The first element I desired to have a look at turned into how properly this works for each weblog’s unique target key-word (with the knowledge that those aren’t the handiest keywords those blogs gets clicks from — greater on that in a piece).

the usage of seek Console, I looked at how total clicks have modified/stepped forward after every character weblog’s republication:

Clicks to the weblog submit for the goal key-word “creative content.”

consistent with the information pulled from search Console, 41.Forty six% of the articles had greater clicks to their URL for their target time period after being re-optimized. In combination, all articles noticed a five.89% increase in clicks to their target keyword once we re-optimized them.

effects: extra total clicks to re-optimized content material

re-optimized weblog posts additionally rank for greater keywords associated with the target keyword — and i desired to tune that alternate not handiest for our goal key phrases, but for all the key phrases these blogs rank for. That is due to the fact, whilst we do written content material updates, we are frequently filling in subject matter gaps to make the piece more complete. With more mentions of those related subjects, there’s more threat to rank for associated key phrases as well. This then drives up the overall range of clicks to the web page.

here’s an example of what that looks as if:

increase in overall clicks to URL put up-re-optimization for a blog approximately structuring a marketing crew.

records from seek Console showed that 85.37% of the articles had extra general clicks from all key phrases within the time period after they had been re-optimized. In mixture, the re-optimized articles received 29% extra clicks after they were updated and republished:

Bonus: The statistics shows a 0.Ninety six correlation between re-optimization and total clicks generated — a close to-ideal correlation.

I ought to end my take a look at right here and stroll away flawlessly happy with our decision to hold with our re-optimization approach in 2022. But there’s more to the story…

effects: greater web page-one keyword rankings from variant key phrases

As an brought advantage, the various blogs we re-optimized started rating on web page one for different phrases related to our target key-word:

overall web page 1 keyword scores for the keyword “innovative content.”

Our facts suggests forty three.9% of the re-optimized articles had greater page-one keyword ratings after their republish date. In combination, all articles ranked for 36.Forty five% extra page-one key phrases after they were re-optimized.

effects: target key-word role adjustments

For this a part of the analysis, I checked out how the blog’s ranking function changed for its target key-word — evaluating the timeframes from earlier than and after the object’s republication.

With seek Console, i’m able to see a three-month average role for our target keyword and might compare those numbers pre- and put up-re-optimization.

example of progressed rank positioning in seek Console, for the key-word “paid seek advertising.”

73.17% of the articles had a higher common rating role for his or her goal key-word after being re-optimized, in line with seek Console information:

56.1% of the re-optimized articles had progressed goal keyword positioning after the re-optimization, in keeping with Ahrefs:

effects: greater natural search impressions

As some distance as consequences go, I’m more interested in the clicks coming to the weblog, but it’s crucial to observe changes in click conduct within the context of search impressions. In the end, a searcher can’t click in your result if you’re now not even appearing in the SERP.

by way of searching at the alternate to impressions from earlier than and after the re-optimization, we will get a higher knowledge of the effect of rating for extra of these associated key phrases.

instance of the way total impressions have changed after a blog submit about sales enablement content material changed into re-optimized.

this is additionally wherein we noticed the most astonishing go back for our efforts — every unmarried article we re-optimized had extra organic seek impressions after it was republished.

100% of the re-optimized articles generated more impressions after they were updated and republished, in keeping with seek Console records. In aggregate, the re-optimized articles generated 62.35% greater impressions after their updates.

Insights: Why re-optimization topics for search engine optimization

the principle reason for re-optimizing content is to power extra certified visitors for your website. By using re-optimizing existing content material, you’re enhancing a weblog post or a touchdown web page that’s already operating on your target audience.


1. Google rewards fresher content material

each time we re-optimize a weblog post, we replace its put up date to reflect the time the changes have been made. We additionally manually submit the article to Google for reindexing so there’s a better chance Google will note our content material updates as speedy as viable.

Now, I’m no longer announcing you can attain the identical effects definitely by means of changing the post date to an editorial and now not converting some thing else, however a more current post date is likely a signal to Google — and searchers — that your content material is sparkling and likely carries beneficial and applicable records. They may be much more likely to click in your content material.

From a behavioral viewpoint, once I perform a Google search, out of habit, I alternate the search clear out to only see outcomes from the final yr (and on occasion I’ll only study content if it’s posted inside the final month). I’m choosy, and i will consider different searchers are, too. Have you ever ever glanced on the publish date of the pinnacle outcomes and selected to click on the most modern one?

Updating the content material’s publication date at the identical time we re-optimize it’s miles our attempt to higher serve the conduct of searchers and inspire extra clicks.

2. Subject matter comprehensiveness (no longer phrase be counted) results in greater clicks

whilst we got down to re-optimize a blog publish or a touchdown page, we’re now not just trying to beef up its phrase depend and speak to it an afternoon. A longer word be counted doesn’t continually identical greater clicks.

as a substitute, we strive for topic comprehensiveness, and often which means we’re building on what’s already there. But no longer continually. Occasionally we’ll cast off sections that are not relevant.

What’s important is that we’re comparing our content material to competitors in the area, and finding approaches to improve on what we’re missing. And we’re doing all this to serve our target market with the first-class content material we possibly can. As a end result, our content covers greater floor and receives greater impressions and then, in the long run, greater clicks.


via honing your message round a goal subject matter and adding fee in your content with a re-optimization, you’re giving Google greater reasons to serve your content to its customers.

In a really perfect re-optimization state of affairs, Google notices you’ve provided greater useful information, your content will rank better in search for your target keyword, and also you’ll get greater clicks to your web page. And nice of all, the ones clicks will be site visitors that are extraordinarily interested by what your business has to provide!

adding greater facts to an existing blog post or landing page makes your content greater complete. You cowl a broader variety of associated subjects, and consequently there are extra possibilities to rank for the ones variation key phrases. This is what enables expand your reach past simply that initial set of target keywords.

And the extra chances you need to rank for these version topics, the better. The more frequently you display up in seek, the more users will start recognizing your brand. They could even start searching for your logo name immediately.

Bonus: Re-optimize your personal content material and analyze your consequences

tick list: a way to decide which content to re-optimize

in case you’re bought on content re-optimization — superb! — however you’re also probable wondering in which to start.

I’ve created a checklist that i exploit for the Brafton weblog to help me decide whether or no longer I need to spend time (and cash) to re-optimize a chunk:

1. search for pages that have had a dip in ranking role or expected visitors. this could be the primary flag that you would possibly want to re-optimize your content.

2. Take a look at the contemporary content material’s rating in a TF-IDF tool (I advocate MarketMuse or Clearscope) to look if there’s room for development. if your content rating is lower than the device’s encouraged score, it’s a hint that you in all likelihood have some missing topics to cowl.

three. Test ranking modifications/SERP-rank volatility to look what’s modified on page one. check the pinnacle 10 ranking positions and how those results have modified over the years. A SERP with numerous volatility or new competition coming onto the primary page is a superb signal that you’ll want to enhance your content to stay competitive.

four. Take a look at the contemporary outcomes on web page one and decide if you may nonetheless realistically rank there. in case you’ve been outranked for a SERP and you can’t fairly get returned onto the first page, your efforts might be better spent some other place.

5. Estimate the site visitors you may gain from your web page-one rating. Don’t forget about that clicks decline the farther down the web page you rank.

6. Ask yourself: is that this proper enough? If sure, then proceed to the re-optimization!

Walkthrough: the way to tie content re-optimization to ROI

Now for the amusing component — diving into your personal facts to discover if your updates made a significant effect in your business dreams.

speaking of dreams, you’ll want to ensure to decide the dreams that make the maximum experience to your commercial enterprise and what you’re trying to perform with organic search earlier than beginning in this re-optimization method.

some examples:

  • extra clicks to the weblog, year-over-yr.

  • greater internet site conversions from natural traffic.

  • better emblem cognizance in seek.

if you’re simply starting to re-optimize your content material, I advocate bookmarking this newsletter and coming returned to this segment later. Even as it’s genuine that acting updates to your content may have a direct impact in your content material — a bounce in key-word position, possibly — you’ll need a respectable chew of facts to carry out your analysis. And the most effective way you’ll get that is with time.

Step 1: pick out content to analyze

once you’ve got some months of data to paintings with, you may begin your analysis. Say you re-optimized some blog posts 3 months ago (and those blogs were stay to your internet site for as a minimum six months). Add the ones URLs to a spreadsheet. here’s the template I used for my look at in case you need to start there.

Step 2: word publication date, and decide timeframes for evaluation

Log your republish date for each article inside the sheet. Then determine the time frame for 3 months earlier than your republish date and 3 months after (no longer along with the real republish date). 

Tip: you can seek this in Google look for an correct answer, no calculator or calendar required:

Step 3: Pull your data

For every metric you’re trying to measure, pull the facts from the 2 separate timeframes:

Step 4: examine your information

it’d seem like steps 1-3 are short and easy, however they’re relatively time-eating and tedious. After you’re done you’ll have a adorable block of facts to analyze. Calculate the changes for every article personally, and in aggregate, to look how your optimization efforts paid off.

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