What is Historical Optimization, and Why Should I Do It?

By Chris Loren| 10 Min Read | November 28, 2022
Impact of Historical Optimization | Historical Optimization for Blogs | What is Historical Optimization, and Why Should I Do It?

Historical optimization is one of the most powerful tools in our SEO arsenal. It revives great content and makes it relevant again, which drives more organic traffic to your site. Some might even say it’s magic because of the fast, notable results it brings.

Well, if historical optimization is magic, then we are the magicians. And now we’re going to reveal to you the secrets behind the trick.

It all starts with the power of the informative blog.

A Blog Log

Blogs are great, right? They drive traffic to your site and they deliver value through informative content.

A good blog is a win-win for both the site and the visitor.

Heck, if it wasn’t for the wealth of blog content out there, we’re not sure we would understand much about anything. For instance, we certainly wouldn’t know that ducks can occasionally lay two eggs in one day. Amazing!

The problem with blog content, from the perspective of site traffic at least, is that it will eventually lose its luster and end up on a back shelf somewhere collecting dust instead of readers. Maybe other sources are putting out newer blogs that rank for the same keywords, or maybe the information in your blog is just growing outdated.

We don’t know about you, but it really chafes us to think of that wonderful blog content we’ve written not being put to good use. So what do we do? Well, we dust it off, optimize it, and put it back to work.

What is Historical Optimization?

Putting it into the simplest language as possible, historical optimization is the process of optimizing blog posts that are “old.” For publishers who freshen up their old content and bring it up-to-date, historical optimization and has the ability to generate more traffic and conversions than it the blog post has done, well, historically.

Let’s say we wrote a blog about frogs in 2019. It did pretty well for us, but hasn’t been drawing any notable traffic for a year now. Instead of writing a whole new blog and just discarding all that work we put into the frog piece, we can go back and historically optimize the amphibious content to get it ranking in Google again.

So how do we optimize? One of the primary methods of historical optimization is to enrich a piece with more content. By adding value to an old blog, we refresh it in the eyes of search engines and breathe new life into its rankings.

For instance, in the blog that’s about frogs (we’re strictly refusing to say ‘frog blog’ here because we don’t want to lessen the importance of the subject matter), we could add some paragraphs about the newly discovered species of harlequin frog discovered in the eastern slopes of the Peruvian Andes in 2020.

Suddenly, our blog is even more informative than it was. Plus, it’s showing up as a bright new shiny thing that will attract a whole batch of new readers with a refreshed presence in search engine rankings. Not only are we delivering improved content, but we’re being rewarded for it!

Other optimization techniques include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Modernizing content by changing dates
  • Replacing outdated information
  • Adding things to listicles

For instance, changing an old Top-5-Times-a-Bear-Scared-Us list into a Top-*15*-Times-a Bear-Scared-Us list is a great way to optimize it.

bear waving at your awesome historical optimization work. yes he is thanking you.

It’s Not just Blogs

At DOM, we frequently historically optimize our clients’ landing pages as well as their blogs.

We’ll enter their URLs into a tool like Semrush (here’s a link to their list of free SEO tools, btw) to find out if they’re ranking for any keywords in a significant way. If they’re not, we’ll research keywords that they could or should be ranking for compared to their competitors. Then we’ll optimize their landing pages to rank for those keywords using the techniques above, even changing the URLs if we have to.

Speaking of URLs, it’s usually a good idea to retain URLs of content that has ranked well in the past.

That way, you’re keeping any equity that the link has built up when you put it back to work for you. Changing the URL is only ever recommended when the content wasn’t doing anything for you in the first place.

For example, let’s say you are running a petting zoo that features geese, and you have a landing page with a URL like /we-think-you-will-really-like-our-geese-because-we-sure-do/. That’s not going to do any favors for anybody and definitely isn’t building equity. During the historical optimization process, we might change it to something shorter and more relevant like /come-pet-our-geese/.

What are the Benefits of Historical Optimization?

Of all the SEO services we provide our clients here at DOM, historical optimization tends to have some of the fastest and most notable results in terms of boosting traffic. Why? Because we’re leveraging content that already exists and which has already worked to entice views in the past, and we’re just making it work again.

Here are the facts in listicle form:

The Top 2 Benefits of Historical Optimization

  1. It’s relatively easy because it’s just refreshing content that already exists.
  2. It quickly drives more organic traffic to your site.

At DOM, historical optimization is just one of the services we provide. If you think you might have older content laying around that should be doing more, get in touch and we’ll put it back to work for you right away.

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