Marketing

How to Find & Update Old Blog Posts to Boost Your SEO Using Databox

If you’re ready to enjoy the SEO benefits of updating your old blog posts but aren’t sure which posts need updating, this guide will show you how to find out.

Jessica Greene Jessica Greene on December 6, 2019 • 7 minute read

If your site’s blog is more than a couple of years old, you likely have some old blog posts that aren’t ranking as highly or generating as much organic traffic as they used to.

Maybe they’re outdated, maybe Google prefers fresher content for your target keyword, or maybe someone else has published content that’s better than—and now outranking—your post.

Updating those old blog posts can help you regain lost rankings and reclaim the traffic you’re currently losing out on.

And while in an ideal world you’d probably like to keep every blog post on your site fresh, in the real world, that’s not always practical.

The good news: you don’t have to update every post you’ve ever written every year. You’ll see the greatest ROI by focusing in on the posts that already have some search equity—those that were at one time ranking highly and driving lots of traffic but are no longer doing so.

Here’s the problem: finding those big-opportunity posts in Google Analytics is an incredibly time-consuming process. Finding them in Databox, on the other hand, takes only minutes.

If you’re wondering how to find blog posts that need to be updated, follow these instructions to do it quickly, easily, and efficiently in Databox.

Related: Here’s How We Increased Website Traffic by 75% in 6 Months By Updating Old Blog Posts

How to Find Blog Posts That Need to Be Updated Using Databox: The Quick Version

If you want to get started immediately, you can grab this free Decaying Site Pages & Posts dashboard.

decaying site pages and posts dashboard

Click the “Get your dashboard for free” button on the dashboard’s landing page, either create a new, free-forever account or sign in to your existing account, and follow the in-app workflow to connect your Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts.

When your dashboard is ready, follow these instructions to learn how to use your new dashboard to find posts that need updates.

How to Find Blog Posts That Need to Be Updated Using Databox: The DIY Version

If you’re more of a DIY type who wants to create the dashboard yourself, follow these instructions.

First, you’ll need a Databox account. If you don’t already have one, you can sign up here for the free-forever plan which will let you do everything you need to do to find your big-opportunity blog posts.

Once you have an account, you need to add Google Analytics and Google Search Console as data sources and create a new, blank dashboard (follow the links for instructions). Once those three steps are completed, you’re ready to start adding the data you need to your dashboard.

1. Create a Traffic Comparison Datablock

The first datablock we’re going to create is a table that will show us which pages of our site are getting less traffic from organic search than they used to.

Select the “Visualization types” icon in the left navigation bar, then drag and drop the “Table” option onto your dashboard.

add a table block to your dashboard in databox

Click on your new table datablock to open the right settings panel. In the settings panel, select your Google Analytics property for “Data source.”

select a data source in databox

For “Metric,” click “Custom.”

use a custom metric in databox

Click “+ New Custom Metric.”

create a new custom metric in databox

Now we’re going to tell Databox what data we want to display in our table. Make the selections below in the specified fields:

set up organic traffic trends custom metric in databox

Once you’ve made all of these changes, click “Run query” so Databox can validate that the data you’re requesting exists and can be pulled. When it’s satisfied, you’ll see a “Save” button. Click it to save your metric and populate your datablock with the requested data.

save custom metric in databox

After you save, you’ll be returned to the dashboard view. In the settings panel on the right side of the screen, click in the “Date ranges” field and select “Last 90 Days” and “Last 12 Months.”

select date ranges in databox

Finally, scroll down until you see “Limit rows.” In the field next to it, enter the number of pages you think you have on your website (up to 999). If you’re not sure, either make your best guess or just start with 100 and increase the count later if needed.

change rows displayed in databox

It can take a few minutes for Databox to pull the data, so in the meantime, we’ll set up the other datablock we need for this project.

2. Create a Rankings Comparison Datablock

The second datablock we’re going to create will show trends in the average Google ranking positions for the different pages on our site.

Select the “Visualization types” icon in the left navigation bar, then drag and drop the “Table” option onto your dashboard.

add a blank table to databox dashboard

Click on your new table datablock to open the right settings panel. In the settings panel, select your Google Search Console site for “Data source.”

select the data source to use for a databox datablock

For “Metric,” we’re going to use a pre-built metric this time. Click in the “Metric” box and scroll through the list until you see “Position by Pages,” then click it to select it.

google search console position by pages metric in databox

For “Date ranges” we want to select the same date rages that we picked for our other datablock: “Last 30 Days,” “Last 90 Days,” and “Last 12 Months.” Select those three options, deselect “Month to date,” then click anywhere else on the screen to apply the changes.

select date ranges for databox datablocks

Scroll down until you see “Limit rows.” In the field next to it, enter the number of pages you think you have on your website (up to 999). If you’re not sure, either make your best guess or just start with 100 and increase the count later if needed.

update the number of rows that display in a databox table

Finally, next to “Sort order,” change the option to “Ascending.”

change the sort order in databox from descending to ascending

Using Your New Dashboard to Find Posts That Need Updates

Now that your dashboard is ready, you have all of the data you need to find out which of your old blog posts need to be updated.

Start by picking the timeframe you want to compare in the first datablock we created:

  • If you select “Last 30 Days” in the timeframe dropdown, your percentage change indicator will show you how your traffic in the last 30 days compared to your traffic in the 30 days prior to that.
  • If you select “Last 90 Days,” it shows how your traffic over the last 90 days compared to traffic in the 90 days prior to that.
  • If you select “Last 12 Months,” it compares traffic from the last 12 months to traffic from the 12 months prior to that.

Usually, you’ll select either “Last 90 Days” or “Last 12 Months,” depending on how old the blog posts on your site are.

If you’ve only been blogging for a year, select “Last 90 Days.” If you’ve been blogging for many years and have rarely updated your blog posts, select “Last 12 Months.” Change the timeframe on both datablocks.

editing the date range for data on a databox dashboard

Now, scroll through the list in your first datablock and look for posts that get a decent amount of traffic but are showing steep, double- or triple-digit declines. These are likely the posts that are losing search rankings.

how to find blog posts that need to be updated

You can double-check by finding the same pages in your second datablock. If it’s showing a decrease in average search position, you’ve found a post that likely needs to be updated.

compare traffic changes and ranking position changes

Tip: you can use Google Chrome’s find feature (Control + F on Windows or Command + F on Mac) to search for and highlight the post you’re looking for to make it easier to find that post in a long list of URLs.

google chrome find feature

Go through this list, and make a note of any posts with big traffic drops and average position drops. You’ll also want to check the posts to make sure there aren’t any seasonal or other logical reasons for the decline. Otherwise, these are going to be the most important—and most impactful—posts for you to update.

The Best News: You Only Have to Set This Dashboard Up Once

It takes a few minutes to get your dashboard set up in Databox the first time, but once you’ve set it up, you can access this data anytime. As long as you’re an active Databox user, it will continue to populate your dashboard with up-to-date data.

So if you want to do this same exercise again in three months, just open your dashboard and grab what you need. Going forward, you can compile a list of posts that need to be updated every time you need one using your Databox dashboard.

And after you’ve updated your old blog posts, you can also use Databox to track the performance of those updated posts and send beautiful, clear reports to your boss or clients.

About the author
Jessica Greene
Jessica Greene writes about marketing, business, and technology for B2B SaaS companies. A former writing instructor and corporate marketer, she uses her subject-matter expertise and desire to educate others as motivation for developing actionable, in-depth, user-focused content.
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