Why It’s Worth The Effort To Refresh Outdated Content

Updated on: 20 February 2023

Why It's Worth The Effort To Refresh Outdated Content

Obsolescence is an issue for every brand that leverages content in its SEO. As they strive to consistently put out new articles necessary for effective digital marketing strategy, they will inevitably have a growing list of outdated articles. So, what can they do about older content? While not all will require updating as their information remains true and useful to curious readers, it pays to review everything and consider refreshing those articles relevant to your current content strategy. Thus, include updating older content to your editorial calendar to ensure it doesn’t get buried by the many other tasks. It is a cost-saving measure that is well worth the effort, as proven by the following reasons.

1. Improves your SEO

Search engine algorithms by Google and its competition all share the same goal of returning the best and most relevant results to the user. Google continues improving and updating its algorithms to elevate its user experience. Ultimately, these changes can lead to drops in page rankings—changes in customer needs over time lend to content inevitably losing its value. The keywords used to improve search rankings at the time of writing may also become irrelevant months or years later.

Therefore, apart from working with an SEO agency, you can improve your brand’s SEO performance by refreshing older content with minor yet substantial updates (like better keywords) to increase its ranking. Moreover, why not take this opportunity to optimize more than just the on-page SEO and also focus on off-page and technical SEO? Updating more than just one aspect of SEO for a piece of content helps make a page rank easier.

2. A time-saving measure that generates significant results

While time-consuming, producing fresh content is essential to any brand’s content strategy. That said, reviving outdated content should also be part of this strategy as it doesn’t take as long yet still produces results. But how do you identify which pieces need updating?

A content audit can help in this regard as it analyzes the performance of your content and provides insights on where improvements are necessary. Most of these audits typically only focus on SEO performance, but it is important to audit their utility and business performance annually at the very least.

The main factors influencing whether a page needs auditing are age and current ranking. Content pages less than six months old should be excluded from audits since ranking on search engines takes time. On the other hand, it is better to focus more on content that is lower in the rankings. For those ranking in the top twenty, better keywords may not be what is needed to push them higher in the ranks but rather more backlinks to make them more competitive in SERPs.

3. Search engines can see that your content is fresh

Updating old content is vital for those looking to increase their monthly traffic and show Google and other search engines that their content is fresh. With over 4.32 billion people estimated to use their smartphones for their online activity, Google has now switched to mobile-first indexing, i.e. they predominantly use the mobile version of content pages for ranking and indexing. Although the company states that it is not required to have a mobile version for content for them to show up on SERPs, it is still strongly recommended.

Thus, adapting content for mobiles is another way to increase organic traffic and content ranking on search engines. This is why mobile optimization should be highly considered when refreshing outdated content not optimized for mobile viewing. Simple changes like using shorter paragraphs can make a significant difference.

4. Increases the accuracy of the content

Content updates include increasing accuracy via overhauling backlinks and statistics and revising content to reflect the latest studies and findings. However, it is also a chance to create a new user experience by adding visuals and multimedia to make it more interesting, such as:

  • Photos and illustrations
  • Screenshots
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Call-to-actions (CTAs)
  • Data visualizations
  • User-generated content (UGC)

There’s more to refreshed and accurate content than the latest information and eye-catching visuals; they should also speak to your current audience. This is because your audience today may be more diverse or have changed significantly compared to the content’s initial time of publishing. These changes don’t necessarily need to be extensive, only updated to suit the new and updated perspective of your target audience.


Ensuring existing content gets updated improves your SEO and user experience as well as provides the added benefit of getting more out of past effort and acquired link equity. Furthermore, refreshed content is more likely to attract higher click-throughs due to dated search snippets.

As a reminder, it is against Google guidelines to republish older content to a new date without updating it. Appending new information, such as tools, sources, multimedia, and so on, is necessary to push them to the top of your archives and increase their odds of ranking higher and attracting more clicks.