Case Research: The ROI of Re-optimizing Content material (Plus Bonus How-To)

The writer’s views are totally his or her personal (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and should not all the time replicate the views of Moz.

We’ve been re-optimizing Brafton’s weblog content material constantly since 2018. It’s been one of many primary website positioning methods we’ve used to extend our weblog site visitors from 20,000 to 200,000 month-to-month guests over the past three years, and we’re persevering with with this technique into 2022 (and possibly past).

For the aim of this research, we wished to reply the query, “How effectively does content material re-optimization work, and is it value your time?”

However first, let’s again up and get some definitions out of the way in which.

What’s content material re-optimization?

In its easiest kind, content material re-optimization is the method of updating current content material with new materials as a way to add worth to the unique piece.

There are numerous methods content material might be up to date. Listed below are some strategies we’ve used through the years:

  • Including new visible content material, like an infographic, to an current weblog to attraction to readers who’re extra visible learners.

  • Including a video tutorial to assist elaborate on a subject we’re overlaying.

  • Changing outdated examples featured in a roundup weblog submit with higher, more moderen examples.

  • Including lacking subject gaps that our opponents are overlaying however we aren’t.

  • Utterly re-writing the content material in favor of a greater goal subject (a really drastic measure).

In all cases, we’re adjusting current content material in a roundabout way to make it higher for our viewers. Ideally, that content material may also carry out higher in natural search.

Why re-optimize content material?

Should you’re something like me, you’ve in all probability invested vital time and power into creating superior content material to your model — and similar to me, precisely how a lot effort goes into each single phrase revealed. There’s the planning, the analysis, the writing, the rounds of evaluation, the copyediting, the proofing, the curation of useful visuals, and at last clicking “Publish” when you’re executed. All of this takes time and participation from a number of stakeholders.

It’s exhausting. And costly.

It’s in your finest pursuits to guard the time and financial funding you’ve put into each single piece of content material you create to your model, and ensure it retains acting at or past your expectations. For this reason we re-optimize our content material at Brafton. As a result of we’ve discovered it’s an extremely cost-effective solution to preserve our content material aggressive and generate the enterprise outcomes we anticipate from our web site.

Why this research was carried out

We all know that our content material re-optimization efforts can take credit score for a portion of the natural site visitors outcomes we’ve seen on our web site. For this evaluation, my purpose was to calculate the actual affect content material re-optimization was making on our weblog efficiency.

Let’s get into it!


I centered strictly on written content material updates that had been made to our weblog posts between January 1, 2021, and October 31, 2021. Utilizing this timeframe, I used to be ready to make use of all 16 months’ worth of Search Console data for the metrics analyzed:

  • 41 articles had been analyzed.

  • The articles had been republished with written content material updates — their publish dates had been up to date on the time of the re-optimization.

  • Every article had a singular key phrase goal.

  • Main instruments used:
    • Search Console. I in contrast the three-month timeframe earlier than the republish date with the three-month timeframe after the republish date.

    • Ahrefs. I took a snapshot of the info from three months pre- and post-re-optimization.

  • Every article chosen had been listed for no less than three months earlier than being re-optimized, with a subsequent three months of information to guage.

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

    • All natural clicks to the URL.

    • Whole variety of page-one key phrases every URL ranks for.

    • Goal key phrase place for the URL.

    • Whole natural impressions for the URL.

Outcomes: Extra clicks to URL from goal key phrase

Our main purpose with re-optimization is to extend the variety of clicks every web page is producing. The very first thing I wished to have a look at was how effectively this works for every weblog’s particular goal key phrase (with the understanding that these aren’t the one key phrases these blogs will get clicks from — extra on that in a bit).

Utilizing Search Console, I checked out how complete clicks have modified/improved after every particular person weblog’s republication:

Clicks to the weblog submit for the goal key phrase “artistic content material.”

In keeping with the info pulled from Search Console, 41.46% of the articles had extra clicks to their URL for his or her goal time period after being re-optimized. In mixture, all articles noticed a 5.89% improve in clicks to their goal key phrase after we re-optimized them.

Outcomes: Extra complete clicks to re-optimized content material

re-optimized weblog posts additionally rank for extra key phrases associated to the goal key phrase — and I wished to trace that change not just for our goal key phrases, however for all the key phrases these blogs rank for. It’s because, once we do written content material updates, we are sometimes filling in subject gaps to make the piece extra complete. With extra mentions of those associated matters, there’s extra probability to rank for associated key phrases as effectively. This then drives up the entire variety of clicks to the web page.

Right here’s an instance of what that appears like:

Improve in complete clicks to URL post-re-optimization for a weblog about structuring a advertising and marketing group.

Knowledge from Search Console confirmed that 85.37% of the articles had extra complete clicks from all key phrases within the time interval after they had been re-optimized. In mixture, the re-optimized articles obtained 29% extra clicks after they had been up to date and republished:

Bonus: The info exhibits a 0.96 correlation between re-optimization and complete clicks generated — a near-perfect correlation.

I may finish my research proper right here and stroll away completely proud of our resolution to proceed with our re-optimization technique in 2022. However there’s extra to the story…

Outcomes: Extra page-one key phrase rankings from variant key phrases

As an additional benefit, lots of the blogs we re-optimized began rating on web page one for different phrases associated to our goal key phrase:

Whole Web page 1 key phrase rankings for the key phrase “artistic content material.”

Our knowledge exhibits 43.9% of the re-optimized articles had extra page-one key phrase rankings after their republish date. In mixture, all articles ranked for 36.45% extra page-one key phrases after they had been re-optimized.

Outcomes: Goal key phrase place adjustments

For this a part of the evaluation, I checked out how the weblog’s rating place modified for its goal key phrase — evaluating the timeframes from earlier than and after the article’s republication.

With Search Console, I can see a three-month common place for our goal key phrase and might examine these numbers pre- and post-re-optimization.

Instance of improved rank positioning in Search Console, for the key phrase “paid search advertising and marketing.”

73.17% of the articles had a greater common rating place for his or her goal key phrase after being re-optimized, based on Search Console knowledge:

56.1% of the re-optimized articles had improved goal key phrase positioning after the re-optimization, based on Ahrefs:

Outcomes: Extra natural search impressions

So far as outcomes go, I’m extra within the clicks coming to the weblog, but it surely’s necessary to have a look at adjustments in click on conduct within the context of search impressions. In any case, a searcher can’t click on in your end result in case you’re not even showing within the SERP.

By wanting on the change to impressions from earlier than and after the re-optimization, we are able to get a greater understanding of the affect of rating for extra of those associated key phrases.

Instance of how complete impressions have modified after a weblog submit about gross sales enablement content material was re-optimized.

That is additionally the place we noticed probably the most spectacular return for our efforts — each single article we re-optimized had extra natural search impressions after it was republished.

100% of the re-optimized articles generated extra impressions after they had been up to date and republished, based on Search Console knowledge. In mixture, the re-optimized articles generated 62.35% extra impressions after their updates.

Insights: Why re-optimization issues for website positioning

The principle cause for re-optimizing content material is to drive extra certified site visitors to your web site. By re-optimizing current content material, you’re enhancing a weblog submit or a touchdown web page that’s already working to your viewers.

As well as:

1. Google rewards brisker content material

Every time we re-optimize a weblog submit, we replace its publish date to replicate the time the adjustments had been made. We additionally manually submit the article to Google for reindexing so there’s the next probability Google will discover our content material updates as rapidly as attainable.

Now, I’m not saying you may obtain the identical outcomes just by altering the publish date to an article and never altering anything, however a more moderen publish date is probably going a sign to Google — and searchers — that your content material is recent and in all probability accommodates helpful and related info. They could be extra prone to click on in your content material.

From a behavioral standpoint, once I carry out a Google search, out of behavior, I modify the search filter to solely see outcomes from the final 12 months (and typically I’ll solely take a look at content material if it’s revealed inside the final month). I’m choosy, and I can think about different searchers are, too. Have you ever ever glanced on the publish date of the highest outcomes and chosen to click on on the latest one?

Updating the content material’s publication date on the identical time we re-optimize it’s our try to higher serve the conduct of searchers and encourage extra clicks.

2. Subject comprehensiveness (not phrase depend) results in extra clicks

Once we got down to re-optimize a weblog submit or a touchdown web page, we’re not simply trying to beef up its phrase depend and name it a day. An extended phrase depend doesn’t all the time equal extra clicks.

As a substitute, we try for subject comprehensiveness, and sometimes meaning we’re constructing on what’s already there. However not all the time. Generally we’ll take away sections which are now not related.

What’s necessary is that we’re comparing our content to competitors within the house, and discovering methods to enhance on what we’re lacking. And we’re doing all this to serve our viewers with the very best content material we presumably can. Because of this, our content material covers extra floor and will get extra impressions after which, finally, extra clicks.


By honing your message round a goal subject and including worth to your content material with a re-optimization, you’re giving Google extra causes to serve your content material to its customers.

In an ideal re-optimization situation, Google notices you’ve offered extra helpful info, your content material will rank increased in seek for your goal key phrase, and also you’ll get extra clicks to your web page. And better of all, these clicks can be guests which are extremely serious about what your small business has to supply!

Including extra info to an current weblog submit or touchdown web page makes your content material extra complete. You cowl a broader vary of associated matters, and due to this fact there are extra possibilities to rank for these variant key phrases. That is what helps prolong your attain past simply that preliminary set of goal key phrases.

And the extra possibilities you need to rank for these variant matters, the higher. The extra typically you present up in search, the extra customers will begin recognizing your model. They may even begin trying to find your model identify straight.

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

Guidelines: decide which content material to re-optimize

Should you’re offered on content material re-optimization — nice! — however you’re additionally in all probability questioning the place to start out.

I’ve created a guidelines that I take advantage of for the Brafton weblog to assist me resolve whether or not or not I ought to spend time (and cash) to re-optimize a bit:

1. Search for pages which have had a dip in rating place or estimated site visitors. This would be the first flag that you just would possibly wish to re-optimize your content material.

2. Verify the present content material’s rating in a TF-IDF device (I like to recommend MarketMuse or Clearscope) to see if there may be room for enchancment. In case your content material rating is decrease than the device’s advisable rating, it’s a touch that you just in all probability have some lacking matters to cowl.

3. Verify rating adjustments/SERP-rank volatility to see what’s modified on web page one. Check out the highest 10 rating positions and the way these outcomes have modified over time. A SERP with a whole lot of volatility or new opponents coming onto the primary web page is an effective signal that you just’ll want to enhance your content material to remain aggressive.

4. Take a look at the present outcomes on web page one and decide in case you can nonetheless realistically rank there. Should you’ve been outranked for a SERP and you may’t moderately get again onto the primary web page, your efforts is perhaps higher spent elsewhere.

5. Estimate the site visitors you would possibly acquire out of your page-one rating. Don’t neglect that clicks decline the farther down the web page you rank.

6. Ask your self: Is that this ok? If sure, then proceed to the re-optimization!

Walkthrough: tie content material re-optimization to ROI

Now for the enjoyable half — diving into your personal knowledge to seek out out in case your updates made a significant affect on your small business objectives.

Talking of objectives, you’ll wish to make sure that to find out the objectives that take advantage of sense to your enterprise and what you’re making an attempt to perform with natural search earlier than beginning on this re-optimization technique.

Some examples:

  • Extra clicks to the weblog, year-over-year.

  • Extra web site conversions from natural site visitors.

  • Higher model consciousness in search.

Should you’re simply beginning to re-optimize your content material, I like to recommend bookmarking this text and coming again to this part later. Whereas it’s true that performing updates to your content material might have an instantaneous affect in your content material — a soar in key phrase place, maybe — you’ll need a respectable chunk of information to carry out your evaluation. And the one manner you’ll get that’s with time.

Step 1: Select content material to research

When you’ve bought a number of months of information to work with, you can begin your evaluation. Say you re-optimized a number of weblog posts three months in the past (and these blogs have been stay in your web site for at the least six months). Add these URLs to a spreadsheet. Here’s the template I used for my study if you want to start there.

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

Log your republish date for every article within the sheet. Then decide the timeframe for 3 months earlier than your republish date and three months after (not together with the precise republish date). 

Tip: You may search this in Google Seek for an correct reply, no calculator or calendar required:

Step 3: Pull your knowledge

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

Step 4: Analyze your knowledge

It’d appear to be steps 1-3 are fast and straightforward, however they’re surprisingly time-consuming and tedious. When you’re executed you’ll have a stunning block of information to research. Calculate the adjustments for every article individually, and in mixture, to see how your optimization efforts paid off.

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