The Ultimate Guide to Historical Blog Optimization for More Traffic and Conversions in 2023

Is your business blog plateauing or underperforming despite consistent publishing? Have you been blogging for years but struggling to maintain growth? The solution may lie in your past – your historical blog content.

Many marketers focus solely on pumping out new posts, but they‘re missing out on a huge untapped opportunity right under their nose. Enter historical blog optimization: the process of updating and improving your existing, older blog content to generate more traffic and conversions.

Why is this tactic more critical now than ever? Because the internet is experiencing a content overload crisis. According to WordPress, 70 million new posts are published every month on its platform alone. Consistently winning the battle for audience attention and search rankings now requires a smarter strategy beyond just publishing new content.

But the good news is, you likely have a wealth of valuable content already. The key is to identify your best opportunities to optimize this existing content to make it work even harder for you.

In this guide, we‘ll dive into the two core pillars of historical blog optimization:

  1. Historical blog SEO – Boosting search rankings and organic traffic
  2. Historical blog conversion optimization – Increasing conversion rates and lead generation

Along with step-by-step tactical guides, expert tips, and real success stories, you‘ll learn exactly how to execute this strategy and take your blog performance to new heights this year. Let‘s get started!

Pillar 1: Historical Blog SEO – How to Get More Search Traffic to Existing Posts

Many blogs have posts that rank well and bring in consistent organic traffic month after month or even year after year. But often, there‘s still room for improvement. By strategically updating and republishing old posts, you can boost their search rankings to generate even more traffic.

Why does this work? Here are a few key reasons:

  • Google rewards freshness. Their algorithm places value on up-to-date, comprehensive information.
  • You‘re building off the post‘s existing search authority. It‘s easier to improve rankings of a post that already ranks than to start from scratch.
  • When you re-promote the updated post, the surge in new visits, social shares and inbound links can further improve its rankings.

So how do you actually execute historical blog SEO? Follow these steps:

Step 1: Identify high-potential posts to update

Use your analytics tools to find posts that:
– Already bring in steady organic traffic
– Rank on page 2-3 of search results for their target keywords
– Cover topics that are out of date or could be more comprehensive

Step 2: Update and improve the post‘s content

– Refresh information to make it current and accurate
– Expand the comprehensiveness and depth of the post to deliver more value
– Improve readability with formatting like headers, bullets, images, etc.
– Add relevant internal links to newer related posts

Step 3: Optimize the post for search and conversions

– Use keyword research to identify primary and secondary keywords to target
– Include keywords naturally in the title, headers, meta description and content
– Add an relevant, enticing call-to-action and optimize for conversions (more on this later)

Step 4: Republish the post and promote heavily

– Update the publish date so the post appears first on your blog
– Share on social media and in your email newsletter as you would a brand new post
– Consider further promotion like paid social ads or featuring in other marketing

Kinsta, a WordPress hosting company, saw impressive results from implementing historical blog SEO:

  • Organic traffic grew from 6,000 to 35,000+ monthly visits in one year
  • Leads increased 187% year over year
  • Rankings improved for 800+ keywords, with 52 articles reaching the top 3 positions

While results will vary, the potential improvement is clear. We‘ve seen consistent 50-150% increases in organic traffic to posts we‘ve historically optimized at HubSpot.

Pillar 2: Historical Blog Conversion Optimization – How to Generate More Leads from High-Traffic Posts

Getting more traffic to your posts is only half the battle. To make the most of this traffic, you need to optimize posts to convert visitors into leads at a high rate. Many blogs have posts that get tons of traffic but fail to convert – meaning there‘s a big opportunity to generate a lot more leads from existing content.

Here‘s the historical blog conversion optimization process:

Step 1: Identify high-traffic, low-converting posts

– Pinpoint posts that consistently get a lot of organic traffic
– Analyze conversion rates to find posts with rates below your blog average

Step 2: Conversion optimize based on search intent

– Use keyword data to infer what the post‘s visitors are actually looking for
– Select an offer and call-to-action closely aligned with that intent
– For example, if a post is ranking for "how to write a press release", offer a press release template

Step 3: Add and test your call-to-action

– Include the CTA contextually in the post content where relevant
– Consider adding exit intent popups or slide-in CTAs
– A/B test different offer copy and designs to improve conversion rates over time

Ahrefs increased their post-to-lead conversion rate from 0.6% to 6.1% by historically optimizing just 9 posts. For one high-traffic post, conversions increased 10X by implementing a CTA that matched search intent.

At HubSpot, we doubled the monthly leads generated by old high-traffic posts by conversion optimizing them, with one post seeing a 240% conversion rate lift.

Who Should Implement Historical Blog Optimization

This strategy works best for blogs that:

  • Have been consistently publishing for at least 2-3 years
  • Generate at least 10,000+ monthly visits from organic search
  • Have built a substantial email and social media audience to re-promote updated content to

If your blog is newer, focus on publishing high-quality content consistently and building up your search authority and audience first. Then historical optimization can become a key part of your ongoing strategy.

Balancing Historical Optimization with New Content Creation

An effective blogging strategy requires a mix of updating old content and creating new content. The ideal ratio will depend on your blog‘s age, amount of existing content, and growth goals.

We recommend starting by auditing your past content to identify the biggest historical optimization opportunities. Then allocate 20-30% of your editorial calendar to updating old posts, while still publishing new content on a regular basis.

Over time, track your results to find the right balance for your audience and goals. Many top blogs spend 50% or more of their time on historical optimization today, as the ROI can be much higher than constantly churning out new posts.

Unlock the Power of Your Past

Don‘t let your old blog content go to waste. By implementing historical blog optimization, you can get more value from content you‘ve already created and take your traffic and conversion growth to the next level.

Start by auditing your existing content, prioritizing the best opportunities, and creating a plan to systematically refresh old posts using the process laid out in this guide. Make sure to track your results and continuously test and iterate your approach.

Blogging is becoming an increasingly competitive channel, but a smart historical optimization strategy is a powerful way to get ahead. Invest the time into your past content – your future self will thank you!