SBS Mailbag: The Value of Recap Posts

Filed in Blogging by Matt McGee on June 2, 2008 2 Comments

go blogOnce a month I try to publish a “SBS Flashback” post, in which I link back to the best posts from the same month one year earlier. Here’s an example of the flashback post from last month: SBS Flashback: May 2007.

Whenever I’m trading emails with other bloggers who are looking for SEO help, I always include a recommendation to do the same thing on their blog. Almost any blog that generates good content on a consistent basis can benefit in a couple ways from writing posts that link back to old material. After making that suggestion recently, the other blogger replied with this follow-up question, which I’ll answer publicly here on SBS:

I do have a quick question about your suggestion. You mentioned linking back to old posts — how does that affect SEO differently than setting up a sitemap in Webmaster Tools?

And here was my reply:

We know that the spider is going to visit and crawl your new content on an almost as-it-happens basis. I’m sure you’re getting crawled very quickly with all the trust/authority you’ve built up. So, the occasional recap post which links back to older posts is a much faster way to get the spider to revisit that old content. It also helps transfer some of the trust/authority (or “link juice”) of your blog itself to those old posts.

In contrast, just relying on a sitemap to get old posts indexed doesn’t give you any control over when/how often the old material is crawled … and it doesn’t pass any of the link juice to those posts, either.

A side effect of linking to old posts is that new readers will be introduced to content they missed … and might perhaps link to something from their own blog, or tell a friend to check it out, or add a new comment (which then alerts the previous commenters to revisit the page and increases pageviews), etc., etc.

I really think linking back to old content is one of the most underrated blog marketing techniques around. It’s good for spiders and for humans to be reintroduced to old material.

(Image courtesy nightthree.)

Comments (2)

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  1. David Mihm says:

    Such a great idea, Matt, I really like your roundups/recaps. It can definitely improve the rankings of those older posts, both because of the link juice AND the additional anchor text you use in your recaps.

    But the main reason to do it, IMHO, is to give new readers a sense of other things you’ve written. Posts I wrote back in November are now some of my most popular blog content, according to Google Analytics, presumably for this reason.

  2. Matt McGee says:

    The benefit to new readers can’t be underestimated. I had a conversation a couple months ago with a “rock star” blogger whose blog I had not been following very closely until recently. I mentioned that, as a new reader, I wish this person would do some recap posts to help point me toward great old content that I missed.

    The blogger wrote back and said, “That’s really not my style.” And I said, “You mean providing helpful content for new readers isn’t your style?” Well, I guess not because I’ve still never seen a recap post on that person’s blog and would really love one…..

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