Fresh or Recycled Content

Blogs and SEO: Fresh or Recycled Content?

As more people are using blogs to promote their businesses, blog content marketing is becoming increasingly important. However, not everyone knows what fresh content is, and recycling old content can also work well. This article will explain the difference between fresh and recycled content, and why you should use both.

Question. We’re blogging for SEO purposes, realizing the blogs help SEO and that more, and more focused blogs help our SEO performance. That said, blogs are a pain to have to produce on a regular basis. So, can we “recycle” our blog content, and/or repurpose it? What are some good tips on making blogging easier for us to produce “at scale?”

Answer. Well, as is so often true in life, “it depends.”

How Blogging Helps SEO Performance

Blogs help your SEO performance in three distinct ways:

#1 – a new blog post, and an active blog, send a “freshness signal” to Google that your website is alive and kicking. Obviously, there are MANY factors in the Google algorithm as to why one site will rank / outrank another… but one of the factors is freshness. New, and fresh content, help boost not just the blog post but the entire site. By “link sculpting” UP from the blog TO the website, you can assist your landing pages, by sending that freshness “from” the blog post “to” the landing pages.

#2 – blog posts allow you to target long tail or micro searches. So you can blog not just on “motorcycle insurance” (for example), but you can blog on “motorcycle insurance for high risk drivers” or “motorcycle insurance rates – how to compare them?” etc… LOTS of long tail and micro target possibilities.

#3 – content for social media and link-attraction. Great blog posts create excuses for press releases, content to share on social media, and can function as “link bait.”

Repurposing Old Blog Content for SEO

Now, the next part of the question, is why can’t we just recycle old content? Well, you can, and within reason, that’s not the end of the world as a strategy, but it’s far from optimal. One BIG THING to think about is… don’t you think that the SMART ENGINEERS at Google would be hip to any strategies to recycle / repurpose / reuse content not just from your own website, but also from others (e.g., syndicated content)?  So, here –

  • Option #1. If you REMOVE the old blog post and just REPOST is “as if” it is new… it’s not going to be very difficult for Google to realize that this is recycled content – they’re pretty smart, and their spiders / crawlers have “memory” about what’s on / what’s new to a site.
  • Option #2. If you do NOT remove the old content and you REPOST / duplicate it, now you have a “duplicate content” problem on your website. Duplicate content can create a penalty.
  • Option #3. If you RE-EDIT the content, and create a NEW or slightly modified post (retaining the original as well) … that’s better than the option above, as you now have two slightly different variations… but here you have to engage in the labor to create that blog post, so you’re defeating the purpose and junking up the website with lots of “nearly duplicate” content. If this is done “at scale,” now you have a lot of “nearly” duplicate content.

The other tactic people use is to “buy” syndicated content (option #4), which is OK, but again you have a degree of duplicated content (because this syndicated content exists on other websites, too). So, in summary, I wouldn’t recommend repurposing the same blog content over and over again… it stands to reason that Google will figure this out, and (at a minimum) ignore it, and (at a maximum) penalize your site for duplicate / redundant content.

Oh, and by removing the old content and reposting it… you could gain a minor benefit, but another reason to blog is to EXPAND the website as a total animal. A BIGGER website is MORE IMPORTANT than a smaller website, so you’re losing a bit there, too.

The devil is in the details, here. How exactly can you “repost” old content without triggering problems?  It causes downstream problems one way or another.

Man in the Street Blogging

A better thing to think about is how can we make our blogging faster, easier, and more productive for everyone in the company. One thing I often recommend for professional or technical sites is to blog in a “man in the street” fashion, so that some (or all) of your blog posts can be outsourced to professional bloggers. In this way, with a little SEO guidance, you can have an active blog but those posts can also be written more easily by lay people. An example of this strategy would be the Global Secur blog on international travel security. Those posts are real, informative, and yet written in a “man in the street” fashion.