Does Your Content Need a Facelift? How & Why to Update Your Website Copy

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When is casual writing okay?

Content and how we interact with it is always changing. The content you produced for your website four years ago might not live up to current standards and reader expectations. Ensuring your content is updated will give your readers what they want and keep them coming back for more.

So how do you keep your site and its content up-to-date?

Update Statistics and Laws

Nothing screams outdated like statistics from 10 years ago or an old version of a law that has since changed. If a new law passes or an old one receives an update, change that information on any pages that mention it.

Pro-tips: Set up Google alerts for news related to the area of law your firm practices. This way you’ll never miss any updates.

Sign up for emails from websites that issue statistical reports that you use in your content. You will receive an email with the following year’s statistics.

Ensure Your Content Works on Any Medium

If you haven’t updated a page since 2013, chances are that page isn’t optimized for viewing on modern phones or tablets.

In addition to making reading your content a more enjoyable experience for readers, ensuring your content works on mobile devices will also help you rank higher once Google launches its new mobile-first index. Once it introduces the index, Google will base its rankings on how pages work on mobile devices first, as opposed to the current rankings based on desktop pages.

Reformat the Page

Did you follow web writing best practices when creating your content? If not, have no fear. You can change your page to follow those best practices. Here are a couple tips:

  • Reorganize the page so it follows the inverted pyramid: You should always follow the inverted pyramid when you write your content. It makes for a better experience by addressing your reader’s needs immediately. If you ask a question in your page title or article heading, answer it immediately. If a page you wrote a year ago has a long, unwieldy intro, consider cutting it down so it gets right into the topic.
  • Use bullet lists, bold phrases, shorter paragraphs: Look for opportunities to change lengthy paragraphs into bullet lists. Bold important information to draw the reader’s eye. And make your sentences and paragraphs more concise; long paragraphs can be intimidating to readers.

Revisit the Page and Read in the Modern Context

Is your copy still relevant? Does it still reflect your brand, product, or service? Your business, the marketplace, and society might all have changed since you wrote your web pages, and your content might be making promises your business cannot keep or presenting your brand in a manner no longer consistent with your services.

Include News and Updates

Update your site with the latest news to keep it fresh. For example, if you are a product liability law firm, update pages on specific mass torts or class actions with news about the pending litigation. It can also help keep your page high in Google search results.

Google uses “freshness” as a factor when ranking pages. If you update your content with useful information, it might boost your rankings.  Making your page longer by adding news updates may help your page rank for more keywords too.

Add Internal Links

If you’ve written content on something you mention in one of your older pages, link to it. For example, if you wrote page A in 2012, but then in 2014 published pages B, C, and D, you can go back and make sure you have internal links where appropriate.

Internal links keep the reader on your site longer and gives them a better experience by providing more information. Internal links also help Google determine “hierarchy on your site,” according to Yoast.

Consider this: you have a home page (let’s call this Page A), and three pages that branch off that page (Pages B, C, and D). Pages B, C, and D each have pages that branch off of them (B1, B2, C1, C2, D1, and D2) and so on. The deeper your site gets (the more content you have on it), the more difficult it becomes for Google to find your deep content.

That’s where internal links come in. These links tell Google, “Hey, there’s some important content over here that you should rank and readers should see.”

How Do I Know Whether I Should I Update My Content or Just Delete It Entirely?

In most cases, you don’t want to delete your pages. Take it from Jordan Kasteler, SEO Director of Hennessey Consulting, “Google judges a webpage based on its content. So, if you scrap old content, Google has to reevaluate the rankings based on the new content…In short, it doesn’t keep old keywords and then add new ones by scrapping and rewriting. It’s definitely not recommended.”

He explains further, “Updating old content is highly recommended. It adds new keywords, new text and satisfies Google’s algorithm called “QDF” (Query Deserves Freshness) by keeping the page fresh which Google looks at for ranking some pages.”

So, in almost every case, you will want to use the tips content above to freshen up your content rather than scrapping it.

However, if you end up deleting the page and writing a new one, check out our guide to writing the perfect blog post

For fresh, up-to-date content, give us a call today: 888-521-3880.