Republishing and refurbishing is the ideal way to breathe new life into old content on your website. Maximize qualified traffic and improve the content experience on your website by learning which content to republish and refurbish and how to integrate it into your content workflow.
A bit of theory before we get into it: What is “content”? One could argue the answer is as simple as: Content = contents + format.
If we agree on this equation, you could try to – instead of creating new content all the time – change up the variables “contents” or “format,” aka republishing and refurbishing.
Republishing refers to making edits to existing articles and reposting them. For example, a while ago, I wrote the practical guide to “Republishing.” Since then, I gained more experience and a few details changed, so I took my own advice and used the blog post as the basis for an updated article on the subject.
In doing so, the article stays up-to-date and the quality of the information becomes even better, plus Google may reward the updated content with better rankings.
Let’s keep going with the example of this article: I didn’t just come up with this topic suddenly and write the article from scratch. I had already held seminars on republishing. I could even talk about it in the German podcast I do with Kai Spriestersbach or even write an eBook. Maybe I can come up with an infographic for Instagram or another platform. The advantage with all this: I don’t need to research anew in order to display the content in a different format since I am already pretty deep into the topic.
Figure 1: Curious: Apparently there is no good infographic surrounding the topic republishing. Who will be the first?
Now you see what I’m going on about: with republishing, the content of an article is updated. Refurbishing is about transforming that content into different formats and therefore making it available on different channels.
Both measures have similar goals: gain the maximum of authority in a topic area with minimal effort. Sounds a bit like content marketing, eh? Republishing and refurbishing might as well be its centerpiece. Let’s dive in step-by-step:
Generally speaking, any topic that you, as an expert, want to gain maximum authority in is suitable for this approach. However, there are a few exceptions:
So what’s left? Mostly technical and informative content that is interesting and competent. Articles, white papers, how-to’s, and product overviews. For specialized B2B areas or in very technical, complex areas with high innovation tendencies, republishing and refurbishing is a great way to provide “fresh content.”
Oftentimes, a great misunderstanding leads to marketing departments creating new content all the time. There, the thought is that new content ensures the website is “up-to-date” for visitors and Google. But that’s not entirely true: From the visitor’s perspective (and Google’s), the content should, of course, be up to date, but not contain random news.
It’s all about keeping the topical content valuable and relevant. As long as you don’t suspect that your visitors look for current news on your homepage, you should focus on fewer, more relevant current articles rather than having lots of random notifications.
Here are some ideas for content that you should definitely update in the upcoming weeks:
Figure 2: The most important pages (in yellow) account for 80% of your clicks in Search Console. It only takes 10 minutes to find out which ones they are. For pages with high traffic but low CTR (in red), you can still improve a lot if you adjust your metadata.
Now that was evergreen content. Time-related adjustments apply to these articles:
Figure 3: Here you can see the traffic for a URL on my page Contentman: In the beginning of July, I simply couldn’t ignore that something wasn’t quite right. I updated the article, and voila!
When it comes to “translating” content from one format to another, there are different rules. Here is an overview of the channels this applies to:
Remember: Although refurbishing is great for building brand awareness in different channels such as app marketplaces or in the Kindle store – it will only make a bad impression if it’s half-assed.
What I want to say: Content is its content AND format. Even if the content is exceptional, it will look awful if it is shared by a bad presenter, or it is turned into a book with lots of spelling and grammar mistakes.
Because it’s impossible to even mention all these formats here, I will focus on pure remodeling on your existing site from this point on.
Assuming this is about text content, and SEO plays a big role, the following procedure is a tried and tested option for republishing:
Figure 4: You can almost always quickly tell by the search results where a topic is headed. Here you can see that “content marketing” became a topic for classes and maybe papers, and that it is also outsourced to agencies. Oh, and many were looking for examples of good content marketing - enough material for an update. Right?
I know this sounds like a lot of work. But if you look closely at those 9 points, you will see: This is all just a small part of the time that a new article would take. In the time it takes to create a new article, you could probably republish five new articles. That’s worth it!
With refurbishing, of course, a new content piece (or even a series) is created. This is more comparable to the creation of an article. But here’s the trick: The information is already there, so the time to research is basically zero. This could save a lot of time for complex topics.
In my experience there is – despite offers from copywriting agencies – no sensible workflow when it comes to republishing and refurbishing. Here are some ideas to solve this:
Figure 5: Track changes in your keywords in Ryte's "Keyword Changes" report, under Search Engine Optimization, and stay on top of your performance in SERPs.
Republishing and/or refurbishing really makes a lot of sense: Your existing pages improve and become more comprehensive. They turn into better search targets and are better at answering user search queries. Isn’t that great?
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Published on 01/14/2021 by Eric Kubitz.
... aka “Contentman” lectures in SEO at two colleges, offers various SEO and copywriter workshops, and is a frequent speaker at conferences (for example SEOkomm, SMX, SEO-Day). The experienced journalist has compiled his knowledge in a training video for SEO beginners.
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