The “2nd page SEO strategy” can be an AMAZING way to update old blog posts in attempt to gain SEO rankings. And NO, it’s NOT just “adding more words.” That’s a useless strategy without important context! You can also check this article as a podcast episode on iTunes \\ Stitcher \\ Google Play \\ Overcast \\ Spotify

For the past 48 hours, I have been holed up in a hotel room just north of Atlanta, GA.

By myself, studying blog SEO.

Kinda sad, isn’t it?

While I’ve gotten a ton of stuff done, there is one particular strategy I’ve learned…that I REALLY needed to share with you.

There’s always a ton of blogger’s blogging about blog SEO, keyword research, backlink hacks, blah blah.

There’s not enough of this strategy.

Where I stood originally

The above image is for a random post I wrote targeting the keywords “blogging tools for beginners,” showing it at the #10 spot.

After about 20 minutes of work, I sent a “Fetch as Google” request (we’ll look at what this is in a second), and promptly jumped up 3 spots.

after updating old blog post seo
And after!

Woot!

(And, at the time of this writing, the Google spiderbots haven’t completely indexed it yet. It’s still showing the old meta description. I’m hoping to climb to the #1 – #3 spot!)

How to revamp SEO on your own blog posts:

Please allow me to introduce what I call “The 2nd Page Strategy.”

The reason I call it this is simple: If an old blog post isn’t even on the 2nd (MAYBE the 3rd) page of Google, don’t bother with this strategy.

What we’re really trying to do is find something that’s doing well, and help it do really well.

Step 1 – Track your SERPs and actually recognize how you’re ranking 🙂

So, I use SERPWatcher (comes with the KWFinder suite), which is pretty dang awesome at $30/mo (waayyy cheaper than Moz, Ahrefs, SEMrush, etc).

However, you can totally track your SERPs for free!

Yes, this will feel very “manual,” but hey, it’s free.

Here’s the free Google template used in this example.

  1. Whenever you publish a piece of content, write down the name and the keywords you’re targeting.
  2. Leave it alone for a few weeks.
  3. Periodically check back in, do a quick Google search for the keywords, and check to see where you’re at….
  4. If you’re NOT on the first 3-4 pages….don’t go searching further. Just put down “N/A” in the rank column 🙂

That’s it.

Remember, the goal is to find the posts that are doing well…and go back and turn them into really well!

Step 2 – Analyze the SERP. Respect the SERP.

What’s that you say?

You’ve got a post ranking in the top 30ish for your targeted keyword? Congrats! Now let’s get to top 5ish.

  1. Go Google your keyword.
  2. Open the top 5, 10, or 20 results in new tabs (depends on how thorough you want to be!)
  3. BROWSE (not read all the way) through the results, one by one, taking notes.

Before we talk about what notes to jot down specifically, it’s incredible important to understand the following.

Google in 2018+ is all about user intent.

More than ever before, Google understands the actual user intent behind users’ search queries. “What is this user REALLY looking for with this particular search query?”

When you browse the search results for your keywords, you are trying to find a pattern of user intent topics.

  1. Browse through the top 5-10 posts that are ranking already.
  2. Note the different topics and sub-topics they talk about.

For example, if we were targeting “blog traffic strategies,” we might find that…

  • 9/10 top results include topics relating to guest posting
  • 3/10 top results include topics relating to using Quora
  • 8/10 top results include topics relating to improving SEO
  • 0/10 top results include listening to the DYEB podcast 7 days a week.

Etc.

What you’re after is a pattern.

More specifically, a part of the pattern YOUR blog post might not have…or could use more of.

If all the top 10 search results spent a HUGE amount of time writing about guest posting in the example above, and mine only has 1 sentence….what do you think Google thinks?

That my content is not comprehensive?

Step 3 – Adapt your content to the pattern, making it more comprehensive.

You’re already on page 2-3, so the GREAT news is you won’t have to do hours and hours of work!

In fact, if you’ve spent 10-20 minutes analyzing those other blog posts, chances are you’ll be in a great spot to update your own blog post in a matter of minutes.

It shouldn’t take an extra 1,000 words (unless you just want to?)

Add in any missing components of “the pattern” you hopefully discovered in part 2.

Remember the SEO goal here: Satisfy the USER INTENT for your keywords.

That’s what that pattern represents, at least in Google’s eyes, right this second. Thosetopics found in the top 20 search results.

(Optional) Step 4 – At a loss for what to add? Add these.

If you’re lazy…or otherwise didn’t find the first few steps very fruitful, there are a few other things you can do to update old blog posts.

1 – Update outdated information.

Some examples, times, dates, etc, may have been relevant when you first published the post, but aren’t now. Update them.

2 – Add more media!

For real totally. Add more revenant pictures and/or video embeds! Google loves these.

Whenever I see Neil Patel’s high-ranking content, I’m always blown away with the amount of images he has in his posts.

3 – Make the intro more….quick and readable.

It’s always a good thing to

  1. Keep people scrolling down the page
  2. Get people engaged with the MEAT of the content quicker.

While these may seem like they’re at odds with one another, they aren’t.

Keep your intros nice and snappy.

With one liners like this.

All designed with one purpose…

To get em scrolling.

But bam here’s the meat of the content ready to go.

/endbadexamples

4 – Add more, ya know, words.

As long as whatever you write is in line with user intent? Go nuts.

Add an extra 250 words. An extra 2,500.

That whole “user intent” thing is the tricky part though. You can’t just add more random words about the PB&J sandwich you’re currently obsessed with.

(Unless you run a PB&J blog, in which case shoot me your URL!)

No, you’re gotta keep it on-topic.

My challenge to you…

Do this this weekend, but set a timer.

Give yourself 30 minutes MAX.

(To be fair, let’s say 30 minutes AFTER you’ve found a post you’re ranking for in the top 30-40).

Also, in case you missed it, here’s the last homework assignment, which people seemed to LOVE:

Coming up next week on the podcast is Grant Sabatier, a millionaire blogger and SEO guru. It’s gonna be sweet!

Don’t miss that one. Sign up for my newsletter or whatever. Ya know. marketing.

See you then 🙂

Join the Conversation

18 Comments

  1. Wow, this is so simple, yet I never thought of doing it lol. I’m glad it’s easy to understand and I can do maybe 1 post a day for a week or so and see how it goes? I use semrush to get the top 10 keywords with the highest ranking for my site. But it was more of a cool amusement factor than trying to improve it haha. I have about 20 keywords that are in the first 2 pages, but I guess I just assumed they’d rank higher eventually if my site got more views? Clearly, I am so wrong and know nothing about SEO.

    If it goes well, maybe I can use the paid subscription of your tool :). 30 minutes a day doesn’t sound terrible if I can rank in the front page.

    1. CLEARLY NOTHING. No, just kidding of course.

      Any given ranking could go up over time as your traffic increases, but if it’s been out a while already, it’s unlikely to jump up magically; you’d have to go back and update the content a bit!

      Definitely do this for a few posts and let me know how it goes. I’d be super curious to know 🙂

  2. Thanks for this information Pete! I am going back to some of the posts I’ve written lately to re-vamp my SEO readiness!!

    Jessica ||Cubicle Chic

  3. Hi Pete, great article. I’m just about to break for the summer holidays (I’m a teacher in England). My blog has only been running for 3 months, am trying to learn as much as I can about SEO. I have 2 questions that I’m struggling to find answers to.
    1. I use Yoast as a guide for SEO and it always wants a focus keyword which I research and put in but should I be putting other keywords within the body of my blog posts?
    2. Should H2 subheadings be keywords I’ve not used as my focus keyword?
    Sorry if these seem amateurish but I want to get my posts working the best the can.
    Could I drop my url here for some feedback?
    Thanks. I love the podcasts!

    1. 1 – Probably, but it needs to be 100% organic and natural writing. Check out LSI Graph to find some related KWs.

      2 – For H2, you can include your main keywords (once maybe), some LSI KWs (see above), popular questions about your topic (found by searching google or from Answer the Public (google it)), etc. These should hit the major sub-topics and questions about your primary focus keywords–if that makes any sense.

      Hope that helps!

  4. OOOhh, this is a good strategy. Planning on trying this next blogging batch schedule instead of producing fresh content. Thanx for the tip!

  5. hello .
    i have a question . i have published a post about 10 days ago . and after that started to link building in social networks like twiter, linkdin and … .
    after 10 days in destination keyword its appear in last result of page 5 . do i need to wait for more days ?
    and after that if my post did not appear in first 3 page, what is the plan B ?
    THANK YOU FOR ANSWERING ME

  6. I loved reading it! My blog section was almost died, I’ll be working with these tips to give it a new life. BTW, Pete, a quick question, as you’ve written in this article that if you’re not ranking on the 2nd or 3rd page of Google then don’t bother.

    What if my main keyword is “Marketing Strategies” and I am nowhere on this keyword but I am ranking on a 2nd/3rd page for other long tail keywords such as “Marketing Strategies that you should follow” with less volume.

    Should I still be working on improving these articles? Hope I am making sense lol!

    Thank You

    1. Great question–totally your call!

      I’d say “yay” or “nay” based on the combined traffic of those long-tails (ideally grouped together).

      If you don’t have access to that info (via ahrefs or SEMrush or something)–go back and update/make better anyways 😉

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