Updating an Old Blog Post: September Traffic and Income Report

September Income Report - Updating an Old Blog Post collage of four images.

Hi there!

Bjork here. Checking in for the monthly income report here on Pinch of Yum.

We’ll look at three things in this report.

  1. September’s income totals
  2. September’s traffic totals
  3. September’s takeaway: Updating an Old Blog Post

We’ve been doing these reports for over five years now. The first time we ever published one of these was back in September of 2011, when we made a total of $21.97 and had almost (but not quite) 50,000 pageviews. You can check out that first income report here.

We’ve followed an insanely simple formula to get the blog to this point: Consistently doing the work and finding ways to do it a little bit better along the way.

Our key to success is showing up.

Not all the time. Not every single day. But almost all of the time. Almost every day.

Post by post. Picture by picture. Email by email. Year by year. Brick by brick.

A few years after launching Pinch of Yum we started another site called Food Blogger Pro. We followed the same slow and steady formula with Food Blogger Pro: show up every day and improve little by little.

Today FBP is a thriving community of over 2,300 members from all around the world. It’s truly an amazing group of bloggers and we’re deeply honored to be a part of it.

Note: We’re opening Food Blogger Pro for our Fall enrollment period really soon. Be sure to jump on the waiting list if you’re interested in joining.

If you’re starting and building your thing, whether it be a blog, a non-profit, or a new career, I’d encourage you to have a long-term mindset, show up every day, and find ways to enjoy the work.

Let’s take a look at the numbers for September…

Income Report Numbers

Note: Some of the links below are affiliate links. All of the products listed below are products and services we’ve used before. If you have any questions about any of the income or expenses you can leave a comment and we’ll do our best to reply.

Income

Expenses

If you’re interested in learning more about some of the ways that you can monetize a food blog, we encourage you to download this free ebook, “ 16 Ways to Monetize Your Food Blog,” from our sister site, Food Blogger Pro!

a picture of the 16 Ways to Monetize Your Food Blog ebook from Food Blogger Pro and a note that says, 'free download from our friends at Food Blogger Pro'

Traffic Totals

Below are some Google Analytics screenshots from the month of September 2016.

Traffic Overview

Traffic Overview - September 2016.

Top Ten Traffic Sources

Top Ten Traffic Sources - September 2016.

Mobile vs. Desktop vs. Tablet

Mobile vs Desktop vs Laptop - September 2016.
Income Report Takeaways

Updating Old Blog Posts

Updating Old Blog Posts with before and after photos.

The takeaway that I wanted to focus on today is updating old blog posts.

Here’s the deal:

If you’ve been consistently blogging for a certain amount of time then you’ve probably built up a decent amount of content. For instance, over the past 6+ years of blogging Pinch of Yum has amassed 934 posts.

That’s a lot of content.

It’s one of the reasons why Pinch of Yum is able to get 4 million page views a month.

You often hear people talk (myself included) about the “secret” of success being consistently publishing high-quality content over a long period of time. It’s 100% true.

But it’s easy to get tunnel vision and only focus on creating content, all the while forgetting that it’s also important to update and improve your old content.

There are a few benefits to updating old blog posts vs. creating new ones:

  1. The new date will be updated in search results. This is a positive indicator for people that consider the date to be a factor in how relevant something is. Obviously this isn’t a huge deal with recipes (vs. tech news, for instance) and it only applies if you include a publish date on your recipe post.
  2. You can research old posts that are performing well (using Google Analytics) and double down on their success by exposing them to your audience again.
  3. It feels good to take a break from using the “create stuff” part of your brain and instead use “improve stuff” part of your brain. It’s good to switch it up every once in awhile.
  4. If you work with brands, you can connect with a brand that might be a good fit to sponsor the updated post. It’s sometimes easier to pitch a post that’s already been published (and will soon be republished) vs. trying to pitch a post that’s just a concept.
  5. You can feature seasonal content. You probably don’t have all the time you need to make all of the recipes you want for certain holidays or reasons. Instead of burning out on Thanksgiving food you can highlight some past recipes that you’ve already made.
  6. You get a chance to review the basic on-page SEO elements. We suggest using Yoast SEO for this.
  7. You can refine the keyword for the post. If you feel like the original keyword you used (or maybe you didn’t use one at all) was off then you can update it to something relevant and targeted.
  8. The biggest benefit? Increased traffic to the post. It’s not a guarantee, but we found this to be true when we tested this out at the beginning of the month. See below for more details. 🙂

At the beginning of October Lindsay updated this sweet potato casserole recipe.

It was a pretty big update, including new photos, a recipe video that Alana and Krista created, some additional written content, and updating some of the SEO metadata (using the Yoast SEO plugin I previously mentioned).

If you’re updating an old post you don’t have to do a big overhaul as we did for this post. Even small changes like updating the SEO metadata and adding in some new (and relevant) written content can help.

Lindsay also worked with a brand that sponsored the republished post (it wasn’t previously a sponsored post).

The Results From Updating An Old Blog Post

The proof is in the pudding, er, sweet potato casserole…right?

Here are the results from updating and republishing that post.

Traffic

Here’s a screenshot of the overall traffic to this post from the past 30 days.

Updating an Old Post 30 Day Traffic Overview.

And here’s a few screenshots comparing traffic from the week before we updated the post and the most recent week of traffic.

Updating an old post before and after pageviews.
Updating an old post traffic comparison.

Search Position

So the experiment was a success, right?

Well, not so fast…

Straight up traffic stats aren’t exactly a good metric to use when gauging whether this was a successful experiment or not. Here’s why: It’s possible (and likely) that we’re getting more traffic because republishing the post simply resulted in more people finding it because it was more prominently displayed on the blog. Or, perhaps we’re getting more traffic because it’s close to Thanksgiving, so more people are making this recipe.

A better metric to look at is the Search Analytics area in Google Search Console.

Specifically, I’m looking at the Position report for the query sweet potato casserole recipe.

This handy little report shows us the average position on a Google search results page for certain search queries.

If the number is 10, that means that this post, on average, shows up as number 10 in Google search results for the term “sweet potato casserole recipe.”

As you probably know, higher is better.

Here’s a screenshot of the before and after for republishing the post.

Position based search analytics.

Pretty interesting!

So does that mean that be republishing and updating this post resulted in it showing up higher in Google searches?

In a word, yes.

We saw a consistent and steady lift for three days after republishing that post. After that, it came back down a bit but then slowly started going up again.

It’s an exciting graph to look at (at least as far as graphs go) because it shows pretty clearly that updating and republishing that post resulted in a boost in its position on search results pages, which almost always results in a boost in traffic.

The process is pretty simple:

  1. Update the content by finding ways to make it more valuable (better photos, a better explanation of the recipe, updated metadata)
  2. Change the publish date and hit update.

Two quick things to consider if you do this:

  1. If you’re changing the URL (like we did) then you’ll need to make sure and redirect the old URL to the new URL. We use a plugin called Pretty Link to do this. If you’re technical you can jump into your blog’s .htaccess file and manually do that redirect.
  2. If the republish date you pick results in the post being the most recent post on your blog then your RSS-to-Email campaign (if you have one set up) will probably send out an email to your subscribers. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something to be aware of.

The two tools you’ll need to do the tracking for this are Google Analytics and Google Search Console, both of which are free (and incredibly powerful).

There cheers for tasty and (re)fresh(ed) recipes!

Because of You

It’s because of you that this thing we call Pinch of Yum can exist as it does today. Thank you so much for making these recipes, leaving comments with your love and feedback, sending emails, following on social media, and sharing this food around the table with your families and friends.

Every month we donate a portion of Pinch of Yum’s income to non-profit or foundation that’s near to our heart. This month we’re donating to the Children’s Shelter of Cebu and helping to fund their budget for daily meals.

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37 Comments

  1. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Layla | Gimme Delicious

    Updating old blog posts is a great idea but I’m still a little confused about the concept. I’ve though about updating just the photos on some of my old posts but have not considered re-writing the post and re-publishing it again. One question, what do you do with the old post? do you delete it? and what happens to the traffic that’s already coming to the old post does it get automatically re-directed? Thanks!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      i think bjork means re-publishing the same post. so take new pics, refresh the seo, etc on that old post, and then just click update (if you’re using wordpress). it’s not demolishing and rebuilding, just remodeling. hopefully that makes sense!

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Layla – Heather is exactly right on this. It’s not taking the old blog post and trashing it. Just refreshing it and updating the publish date.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Nate

    Been thinking about this a lot lately and have done similar things. Nice tips on looking at the search ranking and great recap overall. Cheers!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Great article on cleaning up old content! I have been going through my old Thanksgiving recipes and updating information, linking to recipes and creating pin-able images. It definitely helps with traffic from Pinterest. I am not doing well with organic traffic from Google, still working on that. I have an old post that I can delete, re-write and photograph. I will use pretty link to redirect old url to new url, great idea!! Will let you know how it goes! I love your income reports! I have been following you guys since 2011 when I started blogging and I am kicking myself for not consistently putting out high quality content as you mentioned! Well now I am and my blog and community are growing! You really are an inspiration for other bloggers, including me! Have an awesome day and keep all this yumminess coming! You and Lindsey are awesome! Xoxo, Ester

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      “Well now I am and my blog and community are growing!”

      ⬆️ That makes me so happy to hear Ester! Congrats on the growth. 🚀

      2011! That’s awesome. Thanks for following along with these reports. It’s always fun to see a familiar name in the comments.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    That’s a great idea!

    I’ve got over a thousand videos on Youtube that I could definitely revisit and increase their traffic. It will take time, but I’m sure it’s worth it.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Whoa! 1,000?!? That’s awesome Mike. I’m guessing you’ve been at it for awhile?

      Keep up the good work!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Can you direct me to something that will tell me what the meta data is and what to write in that yoast SEO box…I never know if I’m doing it right!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    It’s like y’all have been in my brain! I have been working on reposting old content since this summer. I have updated better photos, plus added video on some. It has really boosted my traffic.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Great info about updating old blog posts. Do you edit the post and update the date or do you update and re-post the content? If re-posting won’t regular readers be annoyed if you do this a lot? You sort of address this with the RSS-email bit, but not totally sure I get it all.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Good call Jill. It’s an art more than a science. And yes, if you’re doing it often AND those posts are getting sent out as RSS posts then you’ll probably run into some people that get annoyed.

      That being said, if the content is 2-3 years old there’s a really good chance that people haven’t seen it before.

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi Bjork! Really interesting report as usual 🙂

    I’m curious as to why you thought it was better to update the old post, as opposed to just republishing the recipe as a new post and keeping the old one as is? You had to recook the recipe in order to take new photos, you rewrote a lot of the text in order to make it sponsored, you repromoted it to your email subscribers, etc. So it was basically the same amount of work as just starting from scratch. Why not just share an updated version of the recipe as an entirely new post – is it because you’d then be competing against yourself in search results?

    Only asking because I occasionally reshare an old recipe, but I usually make a whole new blog post (e.g. this one, where I linked back to the old post, but kept the old one intact http://www.amuse-your-bouche.com/very-veggie-lentil-bake) – I’m wondering if your way is better, but I guess I’m sentimental and quite like having the old one there so I can look back on it!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      The biggest thing to consider is any links that you have built up to that old post, but for traffic’s sake but also (probably more importantly) for SEO’s sake.

      If you have two almost identical pieces of content on your blog then you’re splitting the focus of those links. In most cases it’s going to be better to have one post with all the focus and links vs. two posts that split the links.

      Does that make sense?

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi Bjork,
    I too am curious about the concept of updating old posts. I have certainly gone back and updated photos and info on many of my old posts and have just hit the update button without changing the date.

    It sounds like you changed date for this particular post. Why did you decide to do that instead of creating a new post and linking the two like another commenter suggested?

    I am trying to figure out the best way to go about this since there are many posts that I could update on my blog.

    Thanks so much!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’ve been updating older posts but never thought to get them sponsored. When you pitch a brand to sponsor a current post, how do you approach them? Do you say “We are planning on redoing these (horribly old) photos and want you to sponsor them. It already has X traffic, so we know the recipe is doing well.” Do you charge more money than a new post because it already has “guaranteed” traffic so they are paying for an already-established Google ranking?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      We didn’t charge anything extra. Lindsay had the conversation, so I don’t know exactly how it went, but there wasn’t much of a “spin” that we tried to put on it. Just telling them what we were thinking and asking if they were interested…

      “We’re updating an older post. Here it is. It already has traffic and traction. Would you be interested in sponsoring it?”

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yes, this is great advice and exactly what I’ve been doing lately. High quality content is vital, and it’s a good way to avoid content that’s too similar if you have more you want to add.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      “it’s a good way to avoid content that’s too similar if you have more you want to add.”

      ⬆️ Yes!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo
    George

    Really like all the free advice it will help when I launch my blog soon cookingforthetasteofit.com

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    So so helpful!! I’m not very tech-savvy but just connected Google Console and saw a slew of posts (that don’t get much traffic) with 404 errors. Odd though, because the posts on the blog come up fine but Google found them as errors…any idea how I can remedy that?

    You guys are so helpful..thank you!

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Travis

    Hello –

    Was wondering if you could share with me what tool you use to have your screenshot corners curl up with the drop shadow on it? Very cool and professional looking. Thanks sir!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi! Great article. Updating old posts has been on my to-do list for a little while now. I have a question about using the search analytics report. How do you enter a query? Thanks in advance for any enlightenment!

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo
    sara

    HI
    great website…I was wondering what exactly you pay for when you use
    Justworks and Contractors – $15,263.75
    and why is it so expensive???