12 Days of Data 2023 Day 5 Content Republishing

12 Days of Data 2023 Day 5: Content Republishing

Introduction

Welcome to the 12 Days of Data 2023 Edition, our look back at the data that made marketing in 2023. We’re looking at the year that was (and oh, what a year it was, something we’ve been saying for four years straight now…) from an analytics perspective to see what insights we can take into the next year. Sit up, get your beverage of choice ready, and let’s celebrate some data and look forward to the year ahead.

Content Republishing

On the fifth day of the 12 Days of Data, we take a look at the art of content republishing. Content republishing is exactly what it sounds like – when a content producer republishes a page rather than creating a net new page. Let’s get a look at some of the highlights in 2023.

Key Statistics

What have websites been doing in 2023 when it comes to content republishing?

Content Republishing

What we see is on a monthly basis, roughly 3 million pages get republished, while tens of millions of new pages are published each month. This, by the way, is why it feels like getting traction for any kind of marketing content is difficult – we’re swimming in millions of pieces of content every month.

When we distill down the millions of articles into the percentage of republished content, what we see is curious:

Content Republishing Percentage

That massive spike in December? What that means is there are millions of pages that essentially auto-republish all the time. They always show, behind the scenes, as republished in the present day. This is likely to take advantage of the perceived benefit that fresh content does better; marketers and publishers performing this practice are basically changing the date on their content every single day.

Does Content Republishing Work?

Marketers republish content for many reasons, but the biggest one is time. It’s a heck of a lot easier to simply change the date and freshen up a piece of content than it is to generate a net-new piece of content (though that’s changing in the age of generative AI).

Still, generative AI is relatively new and many marketers and companies haven’t fully adopted it, making content republishing still a viable tactic. So… does it work? How does republished content perform compared to new content? We took a sample of 165,000 articles, about 80,000 of each type, and analyzed their content performance. Articles had to have a minimum of 2 visits (because an astonishing percentage of those millions of articles published monthly never get any views).

Content Republishing

What we found was that republished content typically had 3x more referring domains linking to it (which makes sense if the URL isn’t changing), 1.43x more individual page traffic, 4.85x more individual page traffic value (AHREFS defines traffic value as essentially SEM ad value equivalence, what you would have paid to acquire the same traffic with ads), and be 30% longer than non-republished traffic.

Sites that republish content seem to have a 10% lower general domain reputation and overall have 84% less traffic than sites that do not republish; this is very likely because big news sites consume quite a bit of traffic every day for net new content.

Now, what about those sites that are trying to hack search engine algorithms by making their content always seem fresh? Is that an effective tactic?

Rapid republishing

On a page traffic basis, those pages tend to earn 18% less traffic than pages that are not put on a constant treadmill.

So What?

If you haven’t fully embraced generative AI for content creation, content republishing in a non-spammy way (i.e. not using the “date is always today”) is a valuable tool to keep users coming back for especially high value content. It’s no surprise that your best content continues to attract users, and if you’re freshening it up and keeping it relevant, it will continue to outperform.

Read the 12 Days of Data 2023 Series


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