How to Promote Old Blog Content (SBSM Mailbag)

Filed in Blogging, MY BEST POSTS by Matt McGee on June 10, 2013 9 Comments

Anthony P. responded to my recent invite to send topics/questions with a question about keeping old blog content alive:

I’m always interested in curating content as well as the notion of reprising older content, if that is even something worth doing. I understand the notion of evergreen content, but think about movies, records, pieces of art we enjoy again and again … does anyone have a “movie collection” of SEO posts they peruse often? Is there a difference in didactic/entertaining content? It’s very stressful, as a creator, to face the fact a piece you work on has little life after initial publish.

I think Michael Gray was the first blogger that I heard say this:

The most valuable part of a blog is the archives.

That’s true. On almost every blog that I can think of, content that’s older than a month or two gets way more traffic than newer content. (News sites/blogs might be an exception.)

So it’s super smart and super necessary to promote that old content. Here’s how I try to do it on this blog:

1.) My Best Posts category

Got this idea from Todd Malicoat ages ago. Read his post from 2006, where he says:

“[I] realized just how important it is to showcase your top posts. For me personally, it is the difference between me subscribing to your feed in bloglines, or clicking away and having it sink into oblivion where I’ll never read it again.

I have all my best posts in a specific WordPress category that I try to update every month or two. And the link to that category is the first thing in my main navigation menu. I want people to read what I think is the best stuff I’ve written.


2.) Turn old material into new articles

The most recent addition to MY BEST POSTS is this article:

7 Building Blocks for Starting a Small Business Blog

If you read that, it’s essentially a collection of links to old articles I’ve written that, together, represent a coherent approach to the topic (starting a business blog). If you have deep enough archives, you can do the same by collecting 5-10 of your best articles on a specific topic and turning them into a new blog post.

3.) Recap articles for new readers/subscribers

I actually stopped doing this late late this year and don’t know why. But I used to do a monthly post where I listed the best posts that I’d published the same month, but a year earlier. So, in October 2012, I’d list my best posts from October 2011 — like this:

SBSM Flashback: October 2011

I think that’s a smart way to keep old content alive for new readers.

sidebar-grfx4.) Feature content on the sidebar

Over in the right column, you’ll see a pair of graphics that link to two old pieces of content that I want to keep alive: the SEO Success Pyramid and my How to SEO Your Site in 60 Minutes e-book.

Those are both several years old and would probably get almost zero traffic on their own. But they show up in the sidebar on every page and post I’ve published, and they continue to get regular traffic that way.

5.) Link to old stuff often

Lastly, the most obvious way to promote old blog posts and keep them alive: link to them regularly. Kinda like I’ve done in this article. And in How Often Should I Blog? And in Yelp: 1.1 Million Claimed Local Business Profiles. And in My Definition of “Social Media Expert” is Different from Social Media Experts….

You get the picture.

6.) Tweet old blog articles … maybe

I’ve only tested this a bit and don’t currently do it very often, but some bloggers regularly share links to their old articles on Twitter, Facebook and whatever social channels they use. I imagine they wouldn’t do it if it didn’t drive traffic, but I can’t speak from experience on the hows, whens, etc.

So, yeah — I’m a big believer that bloggers need to make a sincere effort to keep old content alive and continually promote old blog content. Thanks for the great question, Anthony. I hope this answers the question.

If you have a question or topic I might be able to help with by writing a blog post, please let me know.

(Stock image via Used under license.)

Comments (9)

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  1. I definitely agree with the idea that older posts generate more views than newer posts.

  2. Mike Martel says:

    I rerun old blog posts on my Facebook Fan page related to my blog. It drives a decent amount of traffic and even better the subscription rate is high from the traffic. I think this is effective because my fan page members are already interested in the niche and with the way Facebook only shows posts to a limited number of people, the post is still fresh to a lot of people.

  3. Ana Hoffman says:

    I can’t believe I’ve never thought of doing a “best posts” category, Matt – seems like such a simply idea, yet an effective way to showcase some of the posts buried in the archives.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly. as I have experience of the power of archives.

    I once posted (in 2005 I think) on my brother’s blog a comment about his recent thread concerning his recent failure in passing his driving test.
    The post was tongue in cheek, suggesting that maybe he, and people like him who are obviously not great drivers should just take the bus.

    A few years later he mentioned to me how things had evolved from that post.

    It had grown quite drastically, receiving thousands of comments, causing a huge backlash from people who had recently failed their driving test and were searching the internet for something (consolation I presume). All were comments directed at me and my inhumane comment.
    This led to this thread becoming top in Google’s search rankings for ‘Failed Driving Test’ I think it was.

    Since then it has fallen off the top-spot, in fact a quick search of similar terms and I can’t find it, I suspect that the thread has been pruned, but still, it is a useful lesson.

  5. Dave says:


    I was looking at blog content off of one smb site with a fair amt of content, including some old content.

    This calendar year about 7% of our traffic is related to blog content and about 7% of the form contacts for this smb service.

    Most of that traffic shows in search. Some of the phrases are longish tail..but very relevant. Other content hits the mark.

    We do keep making reference to the articles as you suggested. We do it appropriately as the situation warrents.

    We do tweet and reference these articles in social media including tweeting them, on FB and other media.

    7% extra traffic and leads. That is worth a LOT.

  6. Alan Smith says:

    Such a valuable tips Matt. Some old but effective posts help you lot to get more traffic to your site. People always like to relate to the niche related blogs and when you provide effective content they will definitely come to your site regularly.

  7. Stephen says:

    Add at least two links in every new blog post to old blog posts on the site. It’s a great way to draw attention to older posts.

  8. Pranjal says:

    Brilliant post Matt, I was chasing on how to get that traffic back on my old posts which, are almost dead but, now I have 6 new ways to promote my old posts. I had tried tweeting old blog posts links, and yes it works!

    And that, best category idea is mind-blowing, will definitely going to try it out and share the results with you back!

  9. Brenda says:

    I usually share my old post on my facebook page, so my new followers know about them and it has worked great! Thanks!

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