Should You Update Old Blog Content? (Let’s Talk Bookish)

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

The Prompt: Do you ever go back and update older content on your blog? For instance, after getting new graphics or going self-hosted? Why or why not? Do you sometimes curate/clear out old posts that you no longer want published, or rewrite/update them? Do you think people should periodically clean up their old content and update/delete things that don’t align with their current positions/beliefs?? (Suggested by Nicole @ Thoughts Stained With Ink)

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If you’ve ever done research into getting more blog traffic or improving your blog’s SEO, you’ll see a lot of recommendations to update old blog content. Search engines like to prioritize content that’s relevant, so that often means content that’s long AND content that’s fairly recent. Updating a post from 2018 can possibly get you more search engine traffic to that post.

So do I update posts? Yes, but not all of them. I occasionally update posts that were doing well for search engine traffic but seem to be doing less well, and sometimes that brings the traffic back up. I will also update a post if I want to link to it from a new post I am writing, and I realize the formatting of the old post isn’t great or doesn’t match the current formatting Krysta and I use on the blog. No sense in linking readers to a post that looks bad!

I don’t update every post though. We’ve been blogging here for about ten and a half years now, and we post nearly every single day, and we changed the whole aesthetic of the blog at one point years ago, and we changed the formatting of posts a couple times and . . . it would be a lot to update every single post in our back catalogue. I update the ones I think people are actually looking at or that I want to direct people to look at, and that’s it. So it you go back in our archives and read a post from 2014, yes, there is a chance it’s going to look weird!

There may be some marginal value to deleting old posts (which I have very, very rarely done) and to updating more posts than I have but, as I like to point out all the time (maybe it’s even annoying by now!), I blog for fun, not money, here. So I’m not on a quest to make my blog perfect and get the absolute best SEO and traffic possible if the time commitment involved is going to be high for only small returns.


17 thoughts on “Should You Update Old Blog Content? (Let’s Talk Bookish)

  1. whatcathyreadnext says:

    Interesting question. I’ve updated a few blog posts to remove references to giveaways run as part of blog tours that have long since ended but I haven’t done a thorough exercise to search for and amend all of them. Something for a day when I’ve got nothing better to do… I’ve also updated a few reviews with details of the paperback edition of a book (revised blurb, new cover, etc) but usually only because a publicist has asked me to. If linking back to an earlier post, e.g. a review of an author’s previous books, I might make a few tweaks. I guess broken links might be another reason to update posts but I don’t think I’ve got either the time or inclination for that. I’ve never really been bothered about chasing traffic (I very rarely look at my blog stats) so I wouldn’t update posts for that reason and my posts are predominantly reviews rather than discussion posts. I imagine the latter are likely to get more views and might have the most value from being refreshed. I’ve been blogging since 2016 but I tend to avoid looking back at my early attempts at reviews!


  2. Carol says:

    I do a throwback Thursday and it provides the opportunity to update those posts….so I update one a week. These are review posts that tend to be more evergreen than a discussion post. I did notice that after I started regularly updating selected posts that my SEO jumped a few points. So, I think it’s worth it for SEO, but I also have to weigh that with my time and energy. I think some updating is good and I like your thoughts of choosing carefully and not over investing the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Georgiana says:

    In the past 2 weeks I went through re-thinking the structure of my blog – mostly tags and home page, and of course I also updated a bit some posts.
    Usually I do updates when I link them to new posts (e.g. a list of top 10 where I link to my reviews) and I see that the style is not aligned with the current one I use 🙂 However, I haven’t noticed any SEO jumps after updates.
    I do not delete old posts, but from time to time I encounter some blog posts that are not representative anymore for my blog – not yet decided on how to proceed with them.


  4. Rosie Amber says:

    I have changed a few over the years, mainly updating tags on the popular posts and tweaking the odd out of date information. But this is mainly on information posts or discussion posts. I leave the book reviews alone.


  5. Cathy Cade says:

    On the other hand, re-posting old posts is a good way of maintaining a presence when you can’t think of much to blog about – especially when your internet’s down and likely to be so for some time 😦
    (I’m so pleased I decided to repost a series and got them scheduled BEFORE a rogue cherry-picker brought down our overhead fibre optic cables last weekend.)
    Once the series has all been re-posted I’ll delete the originals, but I’ll leave them there for now in case someone doesn’t want to wait six weeks to find out more about commas. (Boring… I know, but they were originally posted for my writing group,whose stories I proofread for our anthologies.)


  6. BookerTalk says:

    There are many articles which say that you should update old content because your blog will have attracted new viewers since it was first published and unless you draw attention to a particular post they’ll likely never find it. I update one review every month – usually to change it to block editor and use the newer style graphics. One important lesson I’ve learned is that you should always include a line to say it’s an updated version.

    Deleting old content isn’t anything I’ve done previously but there are some posts I did in the early years which are completely pointless keeping.


    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yes! I do like to link to older posts when I think they’re relevant to something newer I’ve written! I’ve definitely noticed that *I* will think, “Oh, I wrote about X topic a year ago,” and then realize a lot of readers had no idea I wrote about that topic!

      I sometimes wonder if I should delete some of my old challenges and memes and posts that don’t seem to be doing much, but then I never get around to it.


      • BookerTalk says:

        I’m unsure what to do about the old posts either. I was exchanging comments with another blogger on this who said deleting content that never gets any traffic could actually benefit your search engine ranking.


  7. Eustacia | Eustea Reads says:

    I’ve updated several posts before, mostly if it’s a list where it doesn’t make much sense to do a list part 2 (if I only have like, 2 new books, for instance). But I do wonder if it would be more effective to make a new post and link the old one to that!


    • Briana | Pages Unbound says:

      Yes, I like updating lists, too, if I don’t have whole lot of new books to do a separate list! And it does actually seem to work better to update. For instance, our list of YA Books with Male Protagonists gets A LOT of traffic and part two of that list gets . . . literally none.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Bloggers of the Future says:

    I’ll tend to update them, but also want to keep a file of the original state of the post. It sort of gives me an insight into my writing, thinking and ideas I had at the time. 🙂


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