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AP 0925: How Do I Edit Old Articles?

AP 0925: How Do I Edit Old Articles?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 925 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: Hey, what’s up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 925 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I’m here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.

We have a great question coming in today from William, but before we get to that, I do want to thank today’s sponsor which is ZipRecruiter. If you’re hiring anybody, whether it’s one person or many people, maybe you’re a sole entrepreneur looking to expand or maybe you are trying to fill a hole that somebody made once they left or you kicked them out. Doesn’t matter, if you’re hiring it can be very hard and difficult and frustrating because there are so many job sites out there, so many places where you get to put your description, and it’s very tedious. How do you screen the right candidates? Well, ZipRecruiter does all that for you. With just a single click, you can have your job description out to hundreds of different job sites out there, including social media sites. They help you screen the candidates, too, on their interface so that you don’t have to get cold calls or deal with emails. It’s all in one place and they’ll help you out. If you want to hire fast and hire the right candidates, use ZipRecruiter. You can use it for free by going to

All right, now here’s today’s question from William.

William: Hey, Pat. This is William with Thank you so much. Week in and week out you deliver awesome content for free. You’re awesome because you do that, man, I appreciate it. I know it’s helped me a lot.

My question is about old content. I’ve got some content that just drives traffic to my site, it’s not a ton, but it drives traffic to my site. What I want to do is I want to go back into those articles and improve them. I’m not talking about grammatical errors and maybe using bigger words or less complicated words: It’s more about the structure of the article, maybe the topics that I cover or just adding more information because it’s not informative enough. I just want to make it better. I’m afraid if I go and do that and I mess up what I’ve already put in there then the traffic that’s getting picked up by that article is no longer going to be there, Google is going to re-rank it and either drop it for whatever reason, or it’s going to get better. Is there a strategy? What do you suggest about going back and editing old articles? Thanks so much, man. I appreciate again your time and efforts that you put into what you do and thanks for answering my question.

Pat Flynn: Hey, William, what’s up? Thank you so much for the question. I appreciate it, and I appreciate all your support and kind words as well. I recommend you go back and listen to an episode of the SPI podcast. It’s Episode 200 with a man named Todd Tresidder. He comes on. Actually the title of the podcast is How Todd Deleted a Third of His Content and Actually Increased His Traffic Threefold. The headline’s much better than what I had just said, but it’s essentially that. He helps people understand how he went through a content audit. That involves deleting old irrelevant stuff but also, like you said, going back and improving older things that are maybe either outdated and need to be updated or can be improved in some way, shape or form, and that’s what I want to talk about here. But I would definitely recommend listening to that one.

It is great because here’s the thing: Google wants to show the best stuff. When you come out with a blog, like you said, William, like your old stuff gets out of date, that’s essentially your first draft. You would never publish the first draft of a book, but most of us publish and are okay with the first draft of a blog that’s published, because we publish it over a long term period and we just don’t go back. I’m encouraged, William, that you want to go back and improve.

I’m discouraged that you are worried about the traffic when you are looking to improve something. You should never let something like that stop you from improving an experience that a human being can have on your website. Here’s the thing that goes along with that: Google wants to show the best stuff, like I said earlier. If you improve it, there may be a chance that Google will freak out just for a few moments, maybe a day or even a week, and drop the rankings for a little bit. That is not atypical, but what is typical is that if you improve the content, you will see improved rankings. Potentially you’re not even showing it to as many people that can find it because you’re not improving it because you’re scared.

Improve it. Make it better. I would also link it to more relevant or updated pieces of content that you have as well. The structure is important, the metadata included with it, too, plus the subtopics and sub-headlines that are put in it. If you structure it and it’s better for humans, it’s going to be better for Google eventually. That’s the approach I would take. I wouldn’t worry about dropping rankings if you are improving the experience that people have. I think now that you hear this, it’s like, “Wow. It’s kind of silly of me not to update it because I’m worried about what a Google spider will think of it when they crawl through it.” But what about the people and the humans on the other end who are going to find that eventually, or who maybe aren’t finding it because you’re not actually updating it? Maybe you’re missing out on bettering it. It could go both ways obviously, but if you write for humans, eventually Google will catch up. That’s a quote from Neil Patel.

That’s what I would recommend. William, go out there, improve those articles. Also listen to Episode 200 to learn how else you can improve what it is that you’ve created over time, and you can experience higher rankings and more traffic. William, thank you so much. I appreciate you. I want to send you an AskPat teeshirt for having your question featured here on the show. For those of you listening, if you have a question that you’d like potentially featured here on the show as well, just head on over to and you can ask right there on that page.

Thanks so much. I appreciate you. Here is a quote to finish off the day by Harper Lee. “Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” Boom. All right, guys. Take care. Thanks so much and I’ll see you in the next episode of AskPat. Bye.

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