Content archives play hugely beneficial roles in keeping traffic rolling through your site and fueling your monetization efforts. As you add content to your website — through a blog, landing page or otherwise — you are adding to the library of keywords that can help you to be found online. With proper SEO optimization and maintenance of those keywords, your archived content can continue to provide a valuable contribution to your digital strategy.
Unfortunately, many content creators find themselves struggling with poorly structured archives, misplaced content, outdated ‘best practices’ and more when it comes to managing archived content. With the evolution of digital media moving faster than ever — how do you make sure all of your content, even the old stuff, keeps up and that you’re making the most of it?
1. Optimize the content you’re creating now.
Playboy COO and Editorial Director Jimmy Jellinek nailed it saying “the quality of your archive is only as good as the content you’re creating today.” It’s true. The most simple and straightforward way to develop a great archive is to create phenomenal content today and ensure that the way in which it’s presented powerfully leverages current SEO trends and tactics.
Avoid locking yourself into ‘best practices’ that were deemed such 10 years ago. While consistency in content presentation is excellent, keep in mind that digital media — specifically web — constantly evolve. Those in the know will tell you that very little is perfectly constant when pages and content span multiple eras and iterations. Stay informed on industry trends in SEO and site development — and assess the best opportunities to implement new tactics. If the change doesn’t impact the user experience directly, you may not even need to retroactively apply it to all of your content. Still, you’ll reap the reward of having posts within your archive that take advantage of the latest industry practices.
2. Leverage past content success.
Over time, you’ll naturally notice that some content performs better than others. Many fail to use this advantage.
First, content success can be a direct measure of what it is your audience wants to hear from you. Was the post completely unrelated to your brand? Did it feature a specific product? Was it a review instead of a personal political rant? See what your audience engages with and write new content to appeal to that interest — but be sure to also incorporate the information you truly want to share. What is it that you want your audience to learn about your business or take away from your post? Be sure to include that.
Second, that exceptionally popular content can be a natural gateway to other similar content that this particular audience will likely enjoy. Enter recommendations. An archive without a recommendation tool is like a concert without a headliner. Your audience shows up and watches the opener — they’re into it, they’re hyped, they might be a little tipsy. Without recommendations to tell them what to see next in the line up, they’re just left to hop a cab home much too early. You lose traffic and exposure, immediately. What a sad night.
3. Emphasize the value.
Exceptional content, including exceptional archives, provide incredibly useful information to readers. So much so that, sometimes, they’re worth paying to read. Emphasize the value of your archive to users and, where necessary, consider if that value could translate into a monetization opportunity. Have you created hundreds and hundreds of subscription-worthy workout videos? Is your content news or research driven? Many news outlets and publications profit from charging for full content access.
Subscriptions aren’t your only monetization option. Evergreen content and reemerging trends can make old pieces popular again. Consider adding unique ad units within your page — like keyword-based placement that can display only the most relevant and click-worthy ads next to your content. Or native-styled ads within your recommendations tool — earning you money each time a reader clicks for an article outside of your website.
Ultimately, the strategies for maintaining archives are vast, and there’s very little ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ as long as you’re doing what works best for your goals. The fact, though, does still remain that the content you create today becomes your archive tomorrow — and your SEO, monetization and audience development efforts will all rely on the attention to detail and quality that you’ve invested. Take the time now to see those things through to their best possible result and your archives will continue to provide you value for much time to come.
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