Is it still beneficial to update our articles?

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  1. Thomas Swan profile image97
    Thomas Swanposted 13 months ago

    In the last few months, I've spent a long time updating all of my network hubs, improving the language and flow, breaking up the text, getting better pictures, fixing links, adding more recent research, updating stats, titles, descriptions, etc. My traffic across these 100 or so hubs seems to have been locked at a very specific number (give or take a few percent) for all of these months.

    Is Google now refusing to re-rank old articles that have been edited?

    I was expecting that my football articles would be seeing a rise by now, given the new season. I'm also expecting my educational articles to rise once the school year starts. My changes have definitely resulted in significant improvements in quality, but should I have bothered, given that traffic/earnings were a big part of my motivation?

    Should I just focus on new hubs? I've written a couple this week.

    1. chef-de-jour profile image97
      chef-de-jourposted 13 months agoin reply to this

      I try and update my articles once a year if time allows. I read through and basically edit and add a paragraph here and there in an attempt to keep up with strong competitors. Updating is not an exact science; it's difficult to be objective when it comes to views and earnings for example without a disciplined comparison of stats before and after, despite Analytics. And Google is always changing parameters!

      I like to think that quality with quantity will always count. Cut out the fluff and provide enough useful info and the traffic should arrive. Having said that HP of late is feeling a bit jittery - good things are happening with niche edits but we still need the ads issues to be rectified.
      Bon voyage!

      1. Thomas Swan profile image97
        Thomas Swanposted 13 months agoin reply to this

        Once a year is good. Some of mine hadn't been updated in eight years, but most were more than two (aside from HubPro edits). I try to update the football ones every season with more recent statistics or to check videos are still there.

        I just wonder if too many people have cottoned on to the "edit it a bit and you get more traffic" trick, and google is starting to ignore new changes to old articles. That would be a shame because I've made substantial changes; sometimes taking hours on a single hub.

        Maybe I'm being impatient as I know it can take a few months.

        I don't know about the ad issues, but I think the ads can get "a bit much" here. Like, why do I need a big video at the top of my article advertising the website, and which has nothing to do with what's in the article?

    2. DrMark1961 profile image97
      DrMark1961posted 13 months agoin reply to this

      Another hubber started this coversation several months ago so I did some very thorough edits to some of my articles that were not doing well. They did not gain any significant traffic, so I assume that Google sees them as old and no longer worth moving around in the rankings. That goes against what we have been told in the past, but as we all know change is almost constant here on the internet.

      What I decided to do is delete before editing and publishing new material. I have only done two articles so far and started at the very bottom of my list and rewrote articles that only had a few page views per day. The results are still pending but the first article is now getting about 20 a day. It is not much but a lot better than zero. If this continues to do well in six months or so I will mention it again.

      Google SERP results only show two articles for each HP niche site, so even if you have 5 articles that answer that query they are not all going to show up on the front page. If you have articles that are doing very poorly but there are decent search numbers for them I think it would be better to delete and publish totally new. If the search numbers for that topic is not great I would go ahead and just focus on the new.

      1. Thomas Swan profile image97
        Thomas Swanposted 13 months agoin reply to this

        I might try that with some of my hubs that aren't on niche sites. But I would worry if someone else has copied the article and republished it. Google might then consider their version the oldest/original. Or it might see your new article as ripping off your old one if it's not completely removed from all web caches. I don't know, but you seem to know more about this than I do.

        1. DrMark1961 profile image97
          DrMark1961posted 13 months agoin reply to this

          I totally rewrite not just edit, which gets around that.
          Most of my articles have been copied. I think you are correct and it would be a problem if I deleted and republished the same thing.

        2. PaulGoodman67 profile image95
          PaulGoodman67posted 13 months agoin reply to this

          What Dr Mark is saying is correct. You'll get yourself into trouble by deleting and publishing another (similar) version of the same article, because of the copiers.

          There's no real advantage to doing that anyway. Articles also still have advantages due to age. It may seem strange that both "freshness" and "age" can simultaneously be advantageous, but it's true.

          The Google algorithm is complicated and like all algorithms it's balancing multiple variables at once. It deals in tendencies and only rarely in absolutes.

          Google does take updating into account and can improve ranking accordingly. The difficulty and skill for the writer comes in trying to figure out which articles to update, and which elements of an article need to be changed or added to.

          Some articles are indeed lost causes, and some changes will have no effect, but that doesn't mean the same thing as all editing/updating is futile, as far as Google goes. It can work. It's just difficult to figure out(!)

          I try to copy what HP do sometimes with the editing. They have access to lots of data (our accounts) so can see what's working and what isn't across the site.

          That's my two cents, anyway. smile

    3. Madeleine Clays profile image95
      Madeleine Claysposted 13 months agoin reply to this

      I read through some of your articles and think the main issue may be the readabilty of the text, meaning how well the average person is able to understand what they read.

      For example, I notice a significant difference in the readability of the following pieces:

      "11 Reasons Why Joe Biden Is Not Progressive" --highly readable, in my opinion.

      "FALSE: Not Voting For Hillary is a Vote For Trump" --not higly readable, in my opinion. I find that the title itself is a little hard on the brain. Perhaps change it to: Is Not Voting For Hillary a Vote For Trump? or something like that. I also found the content of this article to be significantly harder to follow than the previous article I mentioned above.

      I found this info to be very helpful: … the-truth/

      I found your short story titled "What Happens When You Die?" to be very thought provoking and hilarious at the same time. I wondered why it's not on a niche site. The only thing I can think of is the layout. I'm not sure how you would do it, but I think it somehow needs to be more reader friendly. I would not change the wording at all, just the layout somehow, if that makes sense.

      I hope this is useful to you.

      1. Kenna McHugh profile image92
        Kenna McHughposted 13 months agoin reply to this

        Great advice!

      2. Thomas Swan profile image97
        Thomas Swanposted 13 months agoin reply to this

        Great advice, thank you. I haven't updated the articles that are not on niche sites, which is why they're not as good. I could rewrite them to be as good but, at the moment, I don't care about those. The Hillary/Trump one should probably be unpublished anyway as it's no longer relevant. Perhaps I will get to the short story at some point though and submit that to a niche site.

  2. Brenda Arledge profile image79
    Brenda Arledgeposted 13 months ago

    I update my articles by trying to include a Summary with words that google might like

    1. Thomas Swan profile image97
      Thomas Swanposted 13 months agoin reply to this

      Is that the 150-200 character description for search results? I've found that google sometimes ignores that and just picks a random sentence from the hub. Can be quite frustrating!

  3. Miebakagh57 profile image77
    Miebakagh57posted 13 months ago

    I, likewise update my hubs regularly. Correct spellings, sentence structure and grammar mistakes.                                     Language tool, and grammarly, are editing software I harness to check the flow. But I'm giving it time to pick up.

    1. Thomas Swan profile image97
      Thomas Swanposted 13 months agoin reply to this

      That could be a handy tool. I might have found it useful in the past, but I think my writing is already at a high enough level now (notwithstanding quickly written forum comments).

      1. Miebakagh57 profile image77
        Miebakagh57posted 13 months agoin reply to this

        Congratulations! But the English Language is still an evolving tool.                                     Critically, being a second language learner, I found that these editing device, can help restructure my flow of words, sentence, and grammar that seems outdated.                                 Critically again, there're things I've got to inject into my old articles, like the Oxford comma, which I learnt lately at the Learning Centre, and in the forums.

  4. bhattuc profile image82
    bhattucposted 13 months ago

    Writing new hubs and updating the old ones both are needed, in my view.

    1. Miebakagh57 profile image77
      Miebakagh57posted 13 months agoin reply to this

      You can count me in. Thanks.

    2. Thomas Swan profile image97
      Thomas Swanposted 13 months agoin reply to this

      Could be.

  5. Shing Araya profile image83
    Shing Arayaposted 13 months ago

    Perhaps, focus on new articles instead.

    1. Thomas Swan profile image97
      Thomas Swanposted 13 months agoin reply to this

      Yes, I have a little more time for that now.

  6. EricDockett profile image96
    EricDockettposted 13 months ago

    Yes. Update your articles. Write new ones, too.

    Sometimes articles have a ceiling, and you aren't going to move the needle much no matter what you do. Those articles are still worth updating, if for no other reason than getting a new date in the SERPs. Even if they don't gain much ground, you can slow the process of losing ground.

    Google does respond more favorably to larger updates. However, figuring out which articles are worth putting a lot of time into is tough. I suspect this is a lesson HP has learned in their editing process. Myself and editors have doubled the word count of some of my articles. Sometimes it makes a difference, and sometimes it doesn't.

    We used to have access to a ton of information via Webmaster Tools (Search Console now), but that went away when we moved from subdomains. That was very helpful for making these decisions.

    Now, HP editors seem to put more effort into site-wide "impact edits" which from what I can tell means using a program like Grammarly to ferret out typos and fix style errors. They also evaluate images and videos and look for ways to improve titles, headers, and overall flow of the article.

    These kinds of updates don't take long, and we can all do them. We don't have to wait for an editor. They are well worth our time.

    I always try to remember that, just as I evaluated the competition when I wrote a new article, if my new article ranks highly there will be people evaluating me. As the months and years roll by, more and more people will be writing articles targeted at replacing mine in the SERPs.

    We can't just sit there and let it happen. It we don't edit and improve our articles regularly we are giving up the fight.

    1. Thomas Swan profile image97
      Thomas Swanposted 13 months agoin reply to this

      Good advice. I always worry when editors make big changes though. There was one who copied a bunch of text from Wikipedia and stuck it in my best article. I didn't notice for two years. It was getting 1000 views per day before the change. 100 after. Even though I (hopefully) removed all the copied text eventually and made other improvements, it hasn't recovered to anywhere near what it was. Generally, the editors make smaller changes and they're usually good.

  7. doodlebugs profile image91
    doodlebugsposted 13 months ago

    It always helps to improve the quality of an article, for your reader's sake, however Google doesn't seem to take notice. I haven't seen much improvement in traffic from it, so you may be better off starting a new Hub about the same topic and completely rewriting it.

    1. EricDockett profile image96
      EricDockettposted 13 months agoin reply to this

      Interesting. This is something we have discussed in these forums. Can you elaborate on your experience with completely rewriting articles?

    2. Thomas Swan profile image97
      Thomas Swanposted 13 months agoin reply to this

      Ah well. Perhaps it was worth it for the readers and for my own writer's pride. I hadn't considered the republish option before. Good advice.

  8. Ben716 profile image88
    Ben716posted 13 months ago

    Mostly, I concentrate on updating my articles that are receiving considerable views. After a few days to weeks I have seen increase in views and the articles appearing on the first pages of Google search results page.
    I also re-edit articles receiving no views at all. However if they don't receive any views or a miserable views in the long run, I start afresh. And, it does work.
    Length does also matter. Nowadays, people trust longer articles as they contain enough meat to chew. Like ebooks with fewer pages, people feel cheated, and their time wasted, reading articles with fewer words. I aim above 1200 words. Looking at engagement of the articles, I see 5 stars meaning readers are spending much time reading the article, probably reading more than half the article.
    While Google prefers newer articles, I have seen articles published more than 5 years ago appearing on the first page of Google search results page. An updated article is same as a republished article. I edit an article 3 times a year. As a result, I see a somewhat increase in views.
    Keywords are also another to bear in mind. However, I don't concentrate on how much keywords I have used. I write naturally and thereby the keywords come out naturally without being forced.
    Another thing is how engaging an article is. If an article is a high engagement rate, it'll be pushed to the first pages of google search result, and ignite more views.
    Images and videos also increase the engagement of the article. I have noted on Google Analytics of a high percentage of viewership of YouTube videos that I embed on my articles.
    Don't be discouraged if you don't see an increase of views after re-editing your articles. Give them time as you would do new articles. It does pay in the long run as I have witnessed in my articles for the more than 10 years I have been writing for revenue sharing sites.

    1. Thomas Swan profile image97
      Thomas Swanposted 13 months agoin reply to this

      Thank you for the advice. I think you're right that I should give it more time.

  9. FatFreddysCat profile image93
    FatFreddysCatposted 13 months ago

    I still tweak my "back catalog" from time to time. I'm always surprised at how many typos and other silly/awkward/outdated things I uncover.

    1. Miebakagh57 profile image77
      Miebakagh57posted 13 months agoin reply to this

      That's the merit of poping into those back-lasses, and refineing the stuffs.

  10. Miebakagh57 profile image77
    Miebakagh57posted 13 months ago

    I wecome all the experiences being share here. It's very valuable and a gold mine.                          Thank the heavens. I've been updating certain of my old stuffs, and writing new stories.

  11. janshares profile image94
    jansharesposted 13 months ago

    I update my articles regularly, every 2 to 4 months, depending on the article. For most articles, I don't think it makes a difference. I'm just in the habit of keeping them fresh. I would also add to the advice to focus more on updating evergreen/informational articles than others. I think they are more likely to be searched and noticed by Google. However, what people are searching for changes over time and season so, it's hard to keep up with Google and people's needs. Just my non-expert advice.

  12. Misbah786 profile image85
    Misbah786posted 13 months ago

    Hello, Thomas.

    I posted a similar question a few months ago, and some of the fellow authors responded with excellent advice and shared their own experiences. I am posting the link here. Hope this helps. smile … -guidance-

    Best wishes!


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