Content marketing is and will always bring great results regardless of the industry you are active in. Moreover, designing a content marketing campaign in order to get your products or services more visible on the market is very cheap if you write your own articles and manage your own blog.
What’s the most important thing here is that content marketing converts. It has the capacity to grow awareness on your products, grow your brand, make you an influencer in the industry or bring in a lot of interested readers/fans.
If you are involved in content marketing, I am more than sure you already know the basics. This is why, today, I am not going to talk about how to make it to the big league but instead, about how to use your old content and put it back to work.
Why old content? What is it so special about an old article? How To Optimize Old Articles For Google Featured Snippets 2019
Well, as long as you write evergreen blog posts, there’s always a good chance that somebody will come to visit your website from a search engine. Old content may be old but in terms of search, it is as good as new since it is indexed and people who are searching for specific keywords featured in this article are able to land on its page.
The SEO industry, however, is constantly evolving. Therefore, what might have been a great SEO article five years ago, today, it may not trigger the expected organic visits and marketing results.
Therefore, it should be optimized for today’s market.
Well, the best way to do it is to optimize for featured snippets.
In this post, we have featured a post on How to Optimize Old Articles for Featured Snippets and Drive More Traffic. So let’s get started here.
How to Optimize an Old Articles For Featured Snippets
What are featured snippets?
Feature snippets are what marketers and SEO specialists refer to as the Position Zero in search engines. Position Zero is what appears first in the results, in a featured box, above everything else. It appears above the premium paid ads and all the other results.
When a blog post qualifies for this position, it gets to be displayed first for a specific keyword or a specific series of keywords, thus triggering organic visits to that page.
A piece of old content that was not updated for several years, can, therefore, be optimized for featured snippets. If it qualifies for Position Zero, it will bring in a lot of traffic that would otherwise have been sent to another page or blog.
Why are featured snippets important?
Since the first day of the WWW, when content marketing appeared as a major deal, SEO specialists and marketers were always dreading for that special first place position in search results.
Featured snippets, however, go even further. They go above the first position, thus giving marketers a unique chance to make their articles and blog posts more visible. And, what’s even better, is the fact that you do not need to learn much about SEO, keywords and key phrases. All you need is a piece of good and relevant content that is optimized to appear as a snippet.
And, once you get there, you hit the jackpot.
There are studies that show the importance of a good page rank and studies that show how important is this rank for organic traffic. This one, however, tells us the most relevant story in this case:
What do we learn from it
Well, we learn that position zero is vital for your content marketing strategy. It places you on top of all the other search results and as a consequence, your link is more likely to be followed by the audience.
We also learn that the CTR drops by half for the second position and it continues to drop for the third position, the fourth position and so on until it becomes almost insignificant. It’s not enough to be on the first page. The last five positions on the first page are almost insignificant.
Position zero is important and, in order to get there, you need to work on optimizing your pages.
In this article, we’re going to learn together, how to make that optimization.
Analyze before optimizing the content
Before getting to the optimization part, you need to spot the best articles that can make it to the top of the search results.
If you write consistently and frequently, you’ll have maybe even thousands of old blog posts you can analyze. It’s a long and stressful process but once you spot the best pieces of content, you’ll have enough to work with for months to come.
Because you don’t need to limit your optimization to only one article. Do it for all the pieces of green content you get your hands on.
How to spot the best pieces that are suitable for optimization?
- Perform a quick search on keywords related to your industry. See what’s popular among peers and readers. Select blog posts of your own that feature the popular keywords or blog posts that are suitable for optimization with the same keywords.
- Go to website analytics and find out which blog posts are the most popular. Check the popularity based on how much organic traffic they generate. Start by optimizing those posts based on the keywords they rank better. These should also be the keywords people are searching for and the keywords you should base your optimization on.
Use all the help you can get
There are a lot of tools and services you can use in order to research for the best keywords and optimize your article for specific searches. They are what we call SaaS and it is expected, that most of the companies will run on these types of services mostly at the end of this decade. Maybe you already know and use some of these tools, maybe not. However, I will try to list some of the best apps which I already use and consider relevant to this topic.
This is the go-to app for marketers who want to find and contact influencers and build a marketing strategy around them. However, it is also good for finding the most popular topics. Based on what you find, you can search among your old pieces and start optimizing the most popular topics. Also, you can adapt these pieces if the topics do not match entirely the most popular and trendy ones.
Buzzsumo does not focus on keywords but instead on trendy topics based on social media shares. If you want to also focus on keywords, you should try the next couple of apps as well.
This tool is ideal for finding semantic keywords for your article. What does this mean?
Well, at this point you already have a set of keywords your old article was optimized for. Maybe it was optimized for them when it was created, maybe you just did it. With LSIGraph you can improve on these keywords by including in your text other keywords that are semantically linked to your main ones.
Maybe you’ve noticed how featured snippets look like. They look like answers given to users who are asking questions. Based on these questions, the search engine looks for the most relevant answer and displays it as a short snippet of data.
What does this mean?
Well, it means you should also research relevant questions for your industry and of course, the old pieces of content you want to optimize.
And, I have good news for you. There’s a tool that allows you to do exactly this thing. It’s called “Answer the public”, it’s available online as a web-based app and it’s free.
The app is easy to use. On the main page, you have access to a simple form where you can type in your main keywords. Hit “Enter” and land on the results page (shown above) which gives you a few ideas for viable questions you can ask and answer with your article.
Adapt then the text to fit these questions and answers.
“Answer the public” is free for personal use. However, if you have a lot of pieces of content you want to optimize, and of course, a budget, you can go for the Pro version. You’ll get the language and location-based results, unlimited searches, and team members.
Optimize the formatting of the text
Apart from the content itself and the keywords, the formatting is the next important thing you need to take care of. Here’s some useful advice:
- Use bullets when you list ideas or action tips.
- Use headings and subheadings for chapters and subchapters. They’re good for page indexation and great for featured snippets. Your main headers will appear next to the main title in the featured snippets.
- Use as many visuals as possible. They are the most important type of content you can deliver to your audience in 2019. They help the reader better understand the content. Also, they allow you to break down big chunks of text and make your article seem more alive.
- Create stunning visuals. Use all the help you can get online in order to create visuals that rival the best designs created by the most well-paid designers. There are several tools you can access and use online such as Bannersnack or Canva. They will allow you to make the most out of your visual marketing without the need to hire a professional designer.
- Make it readable. Use white spaces for readability and for adding a plus of elegance to your article.
- Choose readable typography. It’s very important to have easy to read fonts set at an easy to read size. Test your page on different resolutions and different devices, including mobile phones.
- Use citations and links. Make sure what you say is based on facts and actual data, statistics and research papers. Link back to people and websites you cite. Outside links are good for credibility. Also, some of the pages you link to may return the favor sometimes.
Optimize for mobile
A lot of people access the web from a mobile device these days. In fact, more than 52% of the total traffic share is now mobile.
You should, therefore, think about your mobile audience and optimize your website for them as well.
Make sure your website is responsive and that it has readability on smartphones and tablets. You can perform a test here, on Google.
Also, you can think about creating vertical videos and other types of visual content, suitable for mobile view and for a mobile audience.
Other important optimizations:
Besides the obvious things we’ve discussed so far, there are still two important issues that need to be taken care of. I am talking about security and speed.
Secure your URLs with Https.
According to a study published by SemRush, 73% of the domains ranking high on Google search are secured.
What does a secure website mean and how can you secure it?
Well, the main noticeable difference is in the transfer protocol. The traditional link/address starts with a simple HTTP:// (Hypertext transfer protocol) prefix while the secure connection starts with an https:// (Hypertext transfer protocol secure) prefix.
Most of the services that sell you domain names and/or web hosting service will allow you to secure your domains with a small fee added to the initial purchase. If instead you are working with a third party service and you do not manage directly your domains, ask them to add security to them in order to optimize them further.
Optimize for speed.
Speed is very important these days for both ranking and usability. Also, it is important for audio search as well, a kind of search that is relevant in this context as well since it comes mostly from mobiles.
If the page takes too much to load, your audience will abandon it very quickly. Also, if it loads slow, Google and other search engines might penalize it. And, you can forget about featured snippets in such a case. Moreover, you get 2 percent increase in conversion for every second you reduce your website load. It’s a 2 to 1 increase you cannot ignore.
Fortunately, there’s a simple to use free tool provided by Google that allows you to check your website load speed.
If you find out you have problems concerning this issue, you should take the appropriate measures in order to fix it. Here are some ideas:
- Optimize your images. Jpegs, Gifs, and Pngs are always good choices when it comes to web content. However, you should pay attention to image compression and size as well, and make them as tiny as possible without losing readability.
- Optimize your CMS. Strip it down from plugins and add-ons. Use only what’s necessary.
- Optimize your distribution. Sign up for a content delivery network. This is the ideal service if your website is global because it allows you to distribute your content on all corners of the world as if it was stored on local servers. CDNs save caches of your pages on cloud services distributed across the continents.
- Create a contact page that converts. Sometimes people ignore this important piece that should not miss from any website. And yes, I have included it in the “speed” section because it is also related to this issue. How? Well, speed matters for your audience and t matters also regarding how fast they can get in contact with you should they need more information. There are several things that are important when you create your contact page. Pay attention to how easy it is to find and how easy are your forms to get filled first.
Conclusion: How to Optimize Old Post For Featured Snippets 2019
Sometimes, old pieces of content need to be updated or rewritten in order to keep pace with their times and attract views. Sometimes, you just notice that maybe some of your articles are less popular than you expect them to be and decide you can adjust them easily in order to add more value to the text.
Regardless of your reasons, optimization can be performed in order to revive these old articles and turn them into profitable sources of traffic. You can optimize them for Google’s featured snippets position. It’s not easy, it’s not impossible either. If you follow the above steps, there’s only a matter of time until you get your first article on this position.
Did you manage to qualify one or more of your articles for featured snippets? What other steps did you make?