Should You Write New Content or Optimise Your Existing Content?

Creating high-quality content takes considerable time and effort, and ethical arguments aside, the emergence of AI chatbots has made aspects of that easier and less arduous.

That said, it’s long been debated whether your time is best spent producing new content or whether you can get away with repurposing the existing pages and blogs on your site.

As a content marketer, you may be pondering this more frequently given that we live and work in an age where AI is seriously disrupting SEO content creation. Your business goals, resources, audience, and budget need to be considered – that hasn’t changed.

However, even if you’re using GPT-3 enabled tools to generate content for you that you sub-edit, you may be curious as to whether there’s an inherent SEO benefit to writing something new or repurposing an existing piece.

New Content vs Optimised Existing Content

High-quality content is crucial for engaging your audience and earning you positions in the coveted top results on Google. Long gone are the days when you could stuff keywords into page text and titles and call that ‘SEO’. Nowadays, search engines are far smarter and more stringent when it comes to presenting searchers with reputable, trustworthy content.

That does, however, create a highly competitive space for brands to stand out, with tens of billions of web pages being constantly scanned for relevance and usability to each search query.

As we know, though, it’s best to adopt a ‘quality over quantity’ approach in your content strategy. But search engines reward sites that produce regular streams of new content, as well as those that repurpose and update their old content. This isn’t a case of just changing a couple of words here and there, but rather taking the title and theme and creating something that sounds entirely different.

Fresh, original human-created content has several advantages. It:

  • Attracts new visitors through search crawlability and indexability
  • Builds your expertise and authority on emerging topics
  • Keeps existing readers engaged with new perspectives

However, revising or repurposing evergreen content also has benefits in that it:

  • Builds on SEO performance and improves discoverability
  • Targets new segments of your audience
  • Often requires less time than creating brand-new content from scratch

The ideal balance depends on your unique situation. Creating fresh content may not always be the best solution, such as if you have a well-performing piece of evergreen content that has recently lost its Page 1 ranking. In such cases, it’s probably best to freshen it up with updated, relevant information.

Creating an entirely new page about a topic you’ve previously covered risks undermining and devaluing your hard work creating the first page, which now becomes obsolete with the publishing of a new-and-improved version.

When to Create New Content

Creating new service pages, blog posts, case studies, and other materials from scratch makes sense when:

  • There is demand for information not covered in your existing content
  • You want to establish authority around new products or trends
  • Your content repository lacks a diverse range of topics, discussions or industry-wide news
  • You have the resources and bandwidth to consistently develop high-quality content

New content should align with your target audience’s needs and your specific business goals. Avoid churning out content that doesn’t serve a purpose to the reader or doesn’t have value for you as a brand.

When to Repurpose Original Content

Revising existing assets allows you to build on an already established performance standard and make the most of your available resources. Consider refreshing old content when:

  • High-value content has become outdated or inaccurate
  • Evergreen content needs tweaks for SEO optimisation and link building
  • You want to expand your reach to new segments or channels
  • Converting formats is beneficial (e.g., infographics to blogs, or vice versa)

Repurposing (in the right ways) should make high-performing content even better. Don’t simply recycle the same ideas without adding intrinsic value. Also, try to avoid creating carbon or loose copies of topics that you’ve already written about – otherwise, you risk creating duplicate resources, diluting your potential reach, and wasting valuable crawl budget.

How to Identify Content That Needs Updating

Analyse your content library through semi-regular audits to pinpoint optimisation opportunities. The analytics and data can help you identify underperforming pages and specific areas for improvement. Even well-performing pages can benefit from being updated and refreshed, for instance, if a page ranks highly but that it is not necessarily driving sales or conversions.

Here is a loose guide for considering whether a page needs updating or not:

  • Review low-traffic and low-conversion pages
  • Check for outdated facts, examples, or links (as some external links may become broken or lost, and existing links may trigger a 404 status code, which could be affecting your page’s rankings)
  • Look for grammar, spelling, or branding inconsistencies
  • Note topics around high-intent keywords with thin content
  • Assess competitors to see whether your page has a sufficient word count, calls to action, and keyword density

Prioritise refreshes and re-optimisation tasks based on potential impact and available resources.

As we have previously touched on, generative AI tools make the output of new content easier and faster to do. However, tools like ChatGPT won’t accurately capture all the important facets of your brand and tone of voice, which is why it’s important to cautiously supervise it.

However, with the right strategic, audience-focused approach, whether your content is entirely human or partially AI-generated, your content will be best placed to boost rankings, drive traffic and, in turn, generate leads and conversions. You can maximise the value of both new and legacy content in an AI-dominated and competitive search landscape if you look at your data and set clear goals from the outset.

At Artemis Marketing, whether creating new content or repurposing existing text, we take quality seriously and are always making sure that it aligns with Google’s recommendations. If you are interested in working with Artemis to deliver authentic, reputable content to your website, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.