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The Ultimate Guide to Generating New Traffic from Old Content on Google+

new traffic old contentDo you have dynamite old content wasting away in the archives of your blog?

Sure you do. We all do.

That old content the world has forgotten, is just as valuable today as it was the day you hit publish.  The problem isn’t that the world forgot about your old content… the problem is YOU forgot about it.

We get consumed with chasing traffic, creating new blog posts every day trying to increase our counting numbers when we could be spending our time promoting our old content to gain new subscribers and reengage our current audience.

No More Dated Cotent

One of the reasons our old content doesn’t get the love it should is because it’s dated.  Unless you’re a news publication where dated content is a necessity, there is no reason to date your content.  Visitors assume that dated content is less relevant then current content even though the majority of the time this is not the case.

So I encourage you to remove the date from the URL of your blog. There is an excellent resource by Yoast on How to Change Permalink Structure that shows you exactly how I did this. I would also encourage you to remove the date from your post byline (If you have the Genesis Framework this guide will show you how).

Once you’ve removed the date from your URLs visitors will view every piece of content as if it was created today and resurrecting old content on Google Plus makes more sense. Your audience today is not the same as it was a year ago, or even six months ago,  so don’t hesitate to resurrect old content for fear your audience has already seen it.  Only a few have and if the content is good enough they’ll enjoy viewing it again.

resurrect old content

Dust off your old content…

Resurrect Old Content on Google Plus

I love Google Plus.

A little over a month ago I started pulling old content out of my archive and sharing it on Google Plus.

Regular users of Google Plus are a very engaged bunch. Quality content that stirs thought and/or emotion received fantastic engagement in form of comments and shares.  So began reaching back into my archives to find old content that was received well by my audience and sharing them in Google Plus as if they were brand-new blog posts.

Remember, old content is brand new to anyone who hasn’t seen it.

However I will warn you against simply copy and pasting the link from an old blog post into Google Plus. Google plus is not Twitter. The people who are actively engaged in the Google Plus community are looking for more than just a shared link. It’s important to explain why someone should click through the whole article.

Tell a story, add an additional thought, highlight an additional resource… Add value.

Here a screenshot of my traffic stats from Google Plus:

old content google plus

1) Google Plus visitors who click through to your website are interested in reading more evidenced by over two pages per visit.

2) Google Plus visitors are invested in the content spending over four minutes per visit.

3) There is a community forming around the content I’m creating as you can see only 33% new visitors. Even though I’m still attracting new visitors there are a lot of people returning to learn more.

4) A 50% bounce rate is incredibly good for any medium and means visitors are sticking around.

Sum this all up and you get the perfect platform to resurrect old content and build an audience deeply invested in your content.

So what does a good Google Plus post look like?

Anatomy of a Google Plus Post

I have no delusions that what I’m about to share with you is the perfect format for posting to Google Plus (I encourage your suggestions below in the comments). That being said, this is a very productive guide for creating posts within Google Plus that will generate traffic.

The theory is simple… give people a reason to click your link.

Each Google Plus post is a promotion for your article, a trailer, a teaser, a piece of the story that entices anyone who reads it to click through to the full article.

google plus post

1) Bold Headline Grabs Readers Attention

In Google Plus you can format the text within a post.  To bold box text with the “*” symbol.  Just like with the headline of your blog post the first line needs to draw readers in to the rest of the post.

The first line in a Google Plus post is also what will be used as the headline in Google Search results. In most cases you do not want this first line to be the same as the title of the old content but it can contain similar keywords.

2) Use Italics to Draw Readers Eyes Through Post

Similar to bold formatting use the “_” symbol to italicize text. Italics help to attract the attention of the reader and to move their eyes down the page to your click-through link.

3) Sandwich Link Between Post Content

To maximize exposure and opportunity sandwich your link between content in the Google Plus post.  You want to force anyone who reads the Google Plus post to have to look through the link in order to get to get the entire article.  What has worked well so far is placing the link directly after I make a short point followed by a question.

4) Include a Call-for-Engagement

Asking questions at the end of your Google plus post will encourage people to comment and share which ultimately puts more eyes on your content. Not to mention the community building aspect of engagement.

5) Use Hashtags to Target Audience

Google Plus uses hashtags as a way to sort out content. For all my posts I hashtag #contentwarfare which allows me to easily go back and find certain veins of content. It also allows me to brand my content. Additionally, I will include relevant hashtags based on whatever the main concept of the post is. Many people within the Google Plus platform search via hashtag, so using hashtags gives you more opportunity to get your post in front of eyeballs inside of Google Plus.

old content

 6) Use Images to Attract Attention

Maximize the amount of attention every post gets by attaching an image. A great place to find shareable photos is PhotoPin.com.  The only caveat to using PhotoPin is that you need to include an attribution link for each image (which I don’t think is a big deal in exchange for quality images).

The Rub

The nature of Google Plus and its users is to be engaged.  I caution you in simply sharing an article with a link with no story, teaser or trailer. additional value.  Adding a little extra value to each post will help you generate significant traffic back to your site. This includes using formatting options like bold and italics, as well as this adding relevant images.

Don’t forget about the rich media capabilities of Google Plus.  Long-form content marketing strategies such as YouTube videos, podcasts and infographics work very well in Google Plus as well.

I’m not advocating you should replace your blog with Google Plus. We don’t own Google Plus profile or the posts that we create. At any time Google could change the rules or simply stop supporting the platform and we lose our post content forever.

But by adding a small story, a few extra thoughts and a little bit of context inside of Google Plus posts along with a link to your old content and a nice image we can resurrect old content and generate new traffic.

Click here to connect on Google plus and join in the conversation.

Thank you and good luck,

I am Ryan Hanley

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photo credit: loop_oh via photopin cc

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About Ryan Hanley

Ryan Hanley is founder of Hanley Media Lab, an advanced content marketing agency helping companies grow their audience, to grow their business. He is also the creator of one of iTunes top content marketing podcasts, Content Warfare TV.

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  • http://www.plantfoodrocks.com Latrina

    Ryan,
    Thanks so much for your thorough and useful article. Prior to this, i really had NO clue as to what Google plus is or why I need to join. I just kept getting notices about being added to someone’s “circle” –which was like Chinese language to me. Now, I have a page, but was waiting to really use it until after I received a little indoctrination. Then, as usual, the information I need turns up through Michael Hyatt (Facebook page). Thank God!! I’ve learned a lot and at least I have a better idea of how I need to use it. I will immerse myself in it this weekend and go through my blog archives to give them new life. :-)

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Latrina,

      A good strategy would be to pick your three most powerful articles and then do a little write-up about them and add them to Google Plus over the course of two or three days. Google Plus is not big on duplicating posts but a well thought out share can get a lot of run.

      Thanks for the great comment!!

      Hanley

  • http://thenymelrosefamily.com Jenny

    Excellent article Ryan! You did a fabulous job describing how to maximize G+. As well as utilizing communities, it is also important to not just post your own content. G+ is a social network that is built for discussions across content. G+ also looks positively on people who are sharing and commenting on specific topics to establish them as influencers in a particular subject. Thanks so much for this post. I hope more people continue to make the jump to G+.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Jenny,

      You’re very right, sharing others people content and commenting inside of discussions is very important for relationships building.

      Thanks so much,

      Ryan H.

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  • http://www.motorhard.com Tom Reber

    Ryan-

    Great post, man! Thanks for the tips on the hashtags….

    MOTORhard!

  • http://outcareyourcompetition.com Jordan J. Caron

    Ryan,

    You make some great points here. I especially like how you promote your blog post within your Google + post. This is something I don’t do well which I will now.

    This is important now as I notice when a post is shared, the description of the post no longer shows. It’s just the title and link.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Jordan,

      It’s also just more eye-catching and appealing when you have some additional thoughts in the post as to why someone should follow it.

      Thanks

      Hanley

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  • http://www.troublesometots.com Alexis

    Total G+ noob but I’ve found that nobody really wants to engage with my PAGE but does want to engage with ME. I hope this strategy doesn’t bite me in the butt but I’ve basically changed my “connect on G+” option from page to personal profile. I try to use circles to keep track of who is one of my baby sleep readers (yes I blog about kids and sleep) and who are friends, professional peeps, etc. But my engagement is WAY up since doing this. I think people like to connect with people not brands. Any reason why this might be a huge mistake I’ll regret later? ;P

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Alexis,

      I’ve pondered the Page vs Profile question quite a bit… If you are using Authorship on your site then I don’t see any reason that this should be an issue for you. I’ve actually found a very similar case with my own brand.

      I think that pages work well for mega-brands but for smaller brands it’s too confusing to use both. I would build up your personal brand on Google+ instead.

      Thanks for stopping by!!!

      Ryan H.

      • http://google.com/+GlennDixon Glenn Dixon

        Ryan, thanks for this response. I’m replying for a couple of reasons:

        1 – To let you know that your comment was cached in Google’s search index, but not visible on your page currently — unless you look at the cached version. I’m one of the few who would go to that trouble :)

        2 – To see if my response will even work, and if you’ll still get a notification of it.

        3 – To thank you for your reply. I am still quite drawn to the ‘page’ concept. One or two of my pages have decent +1 and follower numbers, but G+ keeps a bit of a wall between them and my profile. It’s much easier to manage and maintain everything if it’s all in one place, ala Mike Elgan. I’m actually archiving some blogs in Google+ Pages, hoping they will get indexed eventually, and will probably drop the domain name at some point.

  • http://www.grantinsuranceinc.com Chris

    Thanks for the link to photopin! I have been searching forever for a free place to get stock photos.

    I also appreciate the ideas on Google +. i really need to spend some time brushing up how much and what I post there. Have you, by chance written anything on how to attract more of a following on Google + ? Thanks!

  • http://ebizdocs.com Ben Dabrowski

    Thanks for the pointers! Already put them into practice.

  • http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/tweet-adder-review-coupon-discount-code/ Ana Hoffman

    I was looking into ways to use G+ in place of Google Reader and realized that I completely abandoned my profile there.

    Time to resurrect it, and your post came in just at the right time, Ryan. Thanks!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Ana,

      There is a lot of speculation that the reason Google shutdown Reader is to eventually add the functionality to Google+…

      Additionally, Google+ is a great place to continue building an audience.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Ryan H.

  • http://discoverlocalandonlineauctions.com D Hayes

    Hi Ryan,

    This is a good reference article that I am going to bookmark. There are many tips here that I was unaware of and plan on implementing. Thanks so much for the link on formatting information. That is one tip I definitely needed.

    I too, need to spend more time working with my Google+ business page. Would you know how to go about connecting on Google+ through a business page, not your profile page? An example would be myself connecting with you through your link above. (which I already have) However, it goes to my profile page, not my business page. Is there a way to do that?

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      D,

      Unfortunately you still restricted in what you’re able to do as a business page. You can drive people to your business page by using your personal profile… similar to Facebook in this strategy.

      Make sure the Google+ Business Page profile +1 box is on your website. That is great way to add more followers.

      Hanley

      • http://discoverlocalandonlineauctions.com D Hayes

        Thanks Ryan,
        I used to utilize the floating share bar but at the moment have gone back to having the buttons at the bottom of the page. After checking around with other people, I found that if they had their screen resolution set high so they could read the type, the floating bar was overlapping the copy on the page rather than being to the left. Possibly putting the single G+ follow button in the sidebar would be a good option.

        You are right about being limited when having business pages, both on Google+ and Facebook. I prefer to have business pages as I am trying to build a brand not promote myself, however, it is a more difficult path to take.

        • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

          D,

          I’ve constantly debated the floating share bar. In general I like a clean format and the floating share bar breaks that rule…

          …maybe I’ll switch back to just share buttons at the bottom of the post.

          Hanley

  • http://southernstatesinsurance.com/about-us/ Jim Schubert

    Agree with Brent. Definitely will stop treating Google+ as a throw in. Do you have any suggestions on how to grow your Google+ following other than the obvious: post more?

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Jim,

      Joining and being active in Google+ Communities is probably the quickest way. If you search in communities you can find all different sorts to match your niche. That’s where I would start.

      Hanley

  • Lee

    Hi Ryan
    The point you made about using images I have loads on my site have been dabbling on Pinterest but to be honest I don’t really like the concept that much. But will now see how well I can utilise them on google+ with some re utilised old posts to go with them.

    For great heads up thanks lee

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Lee,

      Images have a huge impact if the images are put into context. That’s one thing about Pinterest I’m not a big fan of. No context.

      Thanks,

      Hanley

  • http://www.brentmkelly.com Brent Kelly

    Ryan,

    Wow, such good information. I plan on no longer treating Google+ as throw in and more of a focus with online marketing.

    I tend to forget old blog posts and let them waste away. Google+ is a great way to revive them. Thanks for the tangible tips as well.

    This is sad, but I am still not sure how to bold and italicize. Where do I put the symbol? I also plan on taking off my dates and my audience definitely has changed.