Search engines love fresh, relevant and authoritative content. Anything to bolster those objectives should help your SEO ranking.
There are two reactions to the above information.
- Rotate all posts to refresh automatically, 3-5 posts per week. So you always have fresh content.
- Remove the dates from permalinks and hope Google doesn’t notice how old your posts are.
Of course we’re going to discuss the middle ground in today’s post – Re-Publish your posts the right way. Like Jeff, the SEO Guy, says, “You are the best SEO for your blog”. It’s true each situation is unique. So I’ll tell you how to do the date-change. But most importantly – what to consider before doing so.
How to Re-Publish WordPress Posts
- Put your post into “draft” mode.
- Edit for keyword optimization (please read considerations below first)
- Schedule to publish after several weeks.
Considerations for Re-Publishing Posts
The reasons to re-publish are quite obvious: a chance to optimize, re-do photos and media, and bring to the front of the blog again. However, just editing the post and clicking “Update” will not re-publish the post. It will update it, in exactly the same order as it already is.
If your post is one year old and you update it, it will still be one year old. It will be in the archives from last year.
SEO View of Time
Before you schedule all the post dates to TODAY, think about the weight of time. Some other metrics of SEO are longevity of the domain and authority of the website. The longer its been around equals more authority in Google’s eyes more often than not.
SEO View of Redirects
If you have dates in your permalinks consider whether republishing will do more harm than good. Republishing will mean getting rid of all those incoming links (and the Google points that they transfer) and forwarding them to the new post.
A better idea is to get rid of dates in your permalinks. See this tutorial.
SEO View of Change
One more thing – if your post is doing well, I would caution against changing anything too drastically. We don’t know all the factors that go into Google’s decision making process and if your post is on the first page, is it really worth the risk?
SEO & Readers
The most important part of SEO is user experience. If no one likes your site, Google won’t either. So if re-publishing try to add something of value to your post. It needs to make sense if you are ‘updating’ it in your readers’ eyes.
If there isn’t much to change about your post, you can schedule it for a few weeks ago and the content will likely not show to your regular readers on the home page.
Publish vs Update Dates
Google has an index of your link, and it’s history. So it doesn’t matter if WordPress sends out your update date, or the publish date, Google always knows!
To prevent confusion among your regular readers, you can also add a note to the bottom of the post that it was ‘originally posted on…’ and include an original date or new date. If it makes sense, you might also make a note of the new features / information in the newer version of the post. This is a good idea if the post isn’t that old and is being republished.
Above all, write for your readers. Take those old posts and refresh them in a way that makes sense to your readers. Make the posts multi-media friendly, add more instructions and create a stronger interlinking structure. If your readers love the new version, so will Google!*
*Please know that I cannot predict how Google will rank your page. This advice is to guide you to make your own decisions regarding SEO.