Behind the SEO: Launching Our New Guide — How to Rank

Seven years ago, we published a post on the Moz Blog titled “How to Rank: 25 Step Master SEO Blueprint.”

From an SEO perspective, the post did extremely well.

Over time, the “How to Rank” post accumulated:

  • 400k pageviews
  • 200k organic visits
  • 100s of linking root domains

Despite its success, seven years is a long time in SEO. The chart below shows what often happens when you don’t update your content.

Predictably, both rankings and traffic declined significantly. By the summer of 2020, the post was only seeing a few hundred visits per month.

Time to update

We decided to update the content. We did this not only for a ranking/traffic boost, but also because SEO has changed a lot since 2013.

The old post simply didn’t cut it anymore.

To regain our lost traffic, we also wanted to leverage Google’s freshness signals for ranking content.

Many SEOs mistakenly believe that freshness signals are simply about updating the content itself (or even lazier, putting a new timestamp on it.) In actuality, the freshness signals Google may look actually take many different forms:

  1. Content freshness.
  2. Rate of content change: More frequent changes to the content can indicate more relevant content.
  3. User engagement signals: Declining engagement over time can indicate stale content.
  4. Link freshness: The rate of link growth over time can indicate relevancy.

To be fair, the post had slipped significantly in all of these categories. It hasn’t been updated in years, engagement metrics had…

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