Recycling Blog Posts

If you write a blog by yourself or contribute to one, you have probably struggled to come up with a post at some point. If you are a prolific writer who rarely suffers writer’s block and who writes interesting content on subjects you care about, then you’re all set and you can move on to the next post. For the rest of us, there’s hope in form of recycling. If you have several posts dating back months, you can look for once popular posts that have gone cold and gathered dust. Is it on a topic that’s still relevant? Do the facts and opinions still apply today? Even if the post is a little dated, you can do minor updates to make a recycled blog post.

Anybody that knows SEO knows that Google doesn’t like duplicate content. Having duplicate content opens your website up to being punished by Google, which can take weeks to repair. Common sense tells most people that having duplicate content on a website on purpose is an attempt to game the system, and most people know that Google can and will see right through that.

Step 1. Erasing the original blog post.

You should do this about 3-4 weeks before your ‘re-posting’ to I erased the one for my experiment about 3 weeks in advance. Erasing the post from your website is only one of three steps.

Step 2. Google: Remove URL

Tell Google to forget about it. It never happened. In Google’s Webmaster Tools, under optimization, use the Remove URLs tool to request that Google erase your old post’s URL from it’s index. This takes some time which is why you need to start well in advance of your re-posting. Search for a long phrase in your original post before and after requesting the URL removal. This will be how you’ll know when Google has done it’s thing, so you can do your thing.

In WordPress, most people set their blog permalinks to include the date, just as I do on my blog. This will help when looking at the differences between the old and new posts in Google Analytics. It’s not necessary to have a different URL since you can just note the date of the switch in your Google Analytics notations.

Step 3. Adding a 301 redirect line to your .htaccess file

That will tell all of the other search engines to forget about your blog post. It will also seamlessly redirect anybody coming from an external link to your new blog post. In my case, the 301 redirect line looked like this: redirect 301 /2011/10/blog-post-name-here