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Why Update Your Articles Periodically?
Every article can use a bit of spring cleaning now and again. Even articles that are seeing consistent traffic can and should be updated; in fact, those are the articles that we suggest starting with! To aid in the updating process, we have created a list of 12 things that you can do to help grow traffic on your previously written articles.
Which Articles Should You Update?
The first step in increasing your traffic is deciding which articles you should update. While updating all of your articles using these steps is a great thing to do, we are first going to focus our attention on articles that . . .
- have been published for over a year,
- are already seeing traffic, and
- haven't been updated in the last year.
The best opportunity for an increase in traffic comes from updating your best articles. However, when you are finished updating your top articles, consider updating all of your articles using these 12 steps. In particular, those articles that were once seeing traffic but have seemed to have declined in recent months or years might do well with some refreshing, new content. To determine which articles are getting the most traffic, log into HubPages, and click "Articles" from your dashboard, select the "Statistics" tab, and click the "Ever" header to sort by all-time traffic.
1. Make Changes That You've Seen Our Editors Make
HubPages has a tool when editing your article that lets you know if there are any areas of your article that could use improvement. If you have any tips, you will find them in the top right corner of your article while you are in edit mode. If you are so inclined, we recommend updating your article with these suggestions. Check out our style guide for more helpful writing and editing tips.
2. Add New Content to Your Article
We recommend adding two new text capsules with new content to your article, and since you've just analyzed how your readers are finding your article, it's time to use that knowledge and add keyword-specific content to your article. By adding more information around a specific keyword, you are reinforcing its legitimacy. Of course, this doesn't mean necessarily using that keyword multiple times in your text; just provide more relevant information around it.
If you have outdated or poor content, delete it. More is not better. All of your content should be up to date, relevant, and the best on the web!
3. Add Original Photos
If you haven't done so already, add original, useful, and informative photos to your article. If you already have original photographs, consider adding more! Articles that have original photos tell your reader that you know something about your topic. However, if you have to use someone else's photograph, be sure you do it legally and properly attribute them!
4. Add a Table, Map, Poll, or Other Meaningful Capsule
Well-written polls and expertly laid out tables can be incredibly engaging. We recommend one well-placed poll on your article if it makes sense and, if your content calls for it, an informative table! HubPages provides other capsules that could be useful as well. A map or quiz capsule could be a great addition to your article. Take a moment and see if any other capsules will enrich your article's content.
5. Remove or Replace Broken Links
This is a no-brainer. If you have any broken links, either delete or update them. Broken links can easily be seen while viewing your article (you will see a warning in yellow at the top of your article that there is a broken link) or on your statistics page. Articles that have broken links display a triangle and exclamation point icon.
6. Analyze Your Title and Revise if Necessary
Your title is incredibly important if you want your article to be found via search or social media. A good title can make or break an article. If your traffic is down, you may want to consider completely revamping your title. If you are writing your article with the intent to receive traffic from search, your title should be close to a query that one would type into Google. If you are trying to get traffic from social media, you need a catchy title, e.g., You won't believe what this mom did for her daughter; it will change the way you think about parenting. This title would not work for search, but could be a great title to drive social media traffic.
Don't forget, if you are looking for search-driven traffic, your title should be the primary thing that your article is about, and your content should answer the question of your title. For example, if your article's title is "How to Change a Leaky Faucet Without a Plumber," your content should explain how to do so. We also recommend that you answer the question of your title (or elude that you will shortly) in the very beginning of your article. Online searchers are quick to hit the back button if they don't think your article will answer their query.
For more help, check out our tips on creating a title article on HubPages Help.
7. Analyze Your View Duration
You can analyze the time that readers spend on your article by going to the article you would like to analyze and clicking on "stats," and "Article Metrics." Under the Article Metrics tab, you will see a statistic called View Duration. The more stars are displayed, the longer readers stay on your article. If you have three or more stars, congratulations! You have created an intriguing article! If you see fewer than three stars, it is a sign that readers aren't engaging with your content and you should add more relevant information (this is a great time to add a poll, quiz, map, etc.).
If you have Google Analytics tracking your account, you can also look at Average Time on Page to see how much time visitors are spending reading your article. Visit our Help Center guide for more information on setting up a Google Analytics account.
8. Reduce Product Links and Other Promotional Elements
Having too many Amazon offers can be off-putting to a reader. You might want to reduce the number of capsules and number of items in each capsule. It's better to have one relevant Amazon product than multiple products that may take away from the attractiveness and readability of the article.
We recommend analyzing your Amazon reports to see which products your readers are buying and use those statistics to showcase certain Amazon items. You can analyze your Amazon reports in your Amazon Associates account.
If you notice that you aren't seeing any sales from certain articles, remove those product capsules. Tangential, useless products only devalue your online writing reputation.
9. Check the Comments Section
Moderate your comments. If the comments readers leave on your article are not useful, consider deleting them. You can also change your comments capsule to display the newest comments first. Many authors have older articles that have been around for years. Comments that are new showcase fresh and up-to-date thoughts and ideas.
10. Check the Summary
A summary is a quick snippet of information about your article that is sometimes displayed under your title when a potential reader searches for your article's topic on Google or another search engine.
All articles should have an original summary. If you haven't created summaries for all of your articles, go back and do so. You can see which articles do not have summaries by visiting your statistics page. All articles that show an "A" symbol are missing a summary.
11. Display Content in a Scannable, Readable Format
Content on the web is different than in books and magazines. Most of your readers from search engines aren't just browsing; they want to find their answer quickly. You can help them by organizing your content in a way that is easily read, digested, and aesthetically pleasing. The best way to create a well laid out article is to break your article up into multiple capsules. A reader may come to your article for one answer, and if your content is well laid out, they will find it quickly. If you have created an engaging article, they might just stay for more of your expertly-written information!
12. Decide Whether to Revise or Delete
Articles often fall off of the Google Map, but most have the potential to be revived if you put in the work. However, if you have an article that is over a year old, has never seen much Google traffic, and isn't up to the same quality as your articles that are receiving Google traffic, consider deleting it. It's better to only have the highest quality articles associated with your account. In some cases, deleting old articles that aren't seeing traffic can give a boost to your articles that are seeing traffic.
We understand that updating your articles is a lot of work, but being an online writer isn't an easy job! By updating your articles, you are telling your readers and Google that you care about your content and are committed to making it the best out there! Plus, the hard work should equate to an increase in overall traffic! Happy editing!