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The Correct Way to Edit a Blog Post: Avoid Search Engine Penalties

I want to share this quip tip on the correct way to edit a blog post because many bloggers accidentally invite search engines penalties by excessively editing old blog posts. Penalties will put your blog in the dog house, which means less traffic and less revenues for you.  We don’t want that. So while there is nothing wrong with editing an older blog post, the way you do it makes a big difference.

A blogger might edit a blog post previously published for any reason. Two of the common ones that come to mind are search engine optimization (SEO) and content updates.  When I first started blogging, I didn’t pay any attention to blog seo. One hundred posts into the journey I went back and optimized all my posts for search engines.

I have also often gone back to edit a blog post to update the material or content to reflect changes and new developments. Many times links to external web properties go bad for reasons out of my control. Nonetheless, all these changes require going back to edit a blog post previously published.

How to Appropriately Edit a Blog Post

Blogs have an inherent “pinging” functionality built in them.  This functionality allows a blogger to ping or notify various online avenues each time a new blog post is published. When you excessively edit a blog post, you excessively send out pings which can be deemed a spam activity by both search engines and ping engines.

So if you know that you will be going back to edit several blog posts in one sitting, make sure you install the FREE Cbnet Ping Optimizer plugin.  Installing and activating this plugin ensures that ping engines are not notified each time you edit a blog post.

You don’t have to deactivate this plugin to ensure your new posts are pinged.  The plugin prevents excessive pinging activity on older blog posts and shouldn’t affect the new ones you publish. When in doubt, go into the plugin’s settings where you can read about how it works.

Here is how it looks like in your WordPress dashboard.

cbnet ping optimizer

Never Change the Permalink When Editing a Blog Post

You can change everything when you edit a blog post, from the title to the meta tags and even the entire content if you’d like. However, I would recommend against changing the permalink of the blog post.  The permalink is the blog posts static URL. Here is an example of what one looks like:

http://www.extramoneyblog.com/best-domain/

Although the permalink is a critical component of search engine optimization in that it should include the main target keyword (in the example above the target keyword is “best domain”), once your blog post is “aged”, it is not advisable to change the permalink for many reasons. One of the main reasons is that there may be several links pointing to that particular blog post, whether from within your blog or from outside resources.

You don’t want to harm the link building potential of your blog post. Many bloggers would argue that it is ok to change the permalink if the blog post is relatively new. Personally, I don’t like to touch it.

Readers: What are some other important things to keep in mind when you edit a blog post? If you have changes planned, use the free Cbnet plugin to edit a blog post.

Sunil
Editing Cleanly

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30 Responses to “The Correct Way to Edit a Blog Post: Avoid Search Engine Penalties”

  1. Thanks Sunil, I had no idea about search engine penalties, or that it’s not advisable to change a permalink once it’s aged. I probably wouldn’t anyway as that’s a good way to end up with 404 errors if you’re not careful but good to know.

    Thanks for the tips and great advice, as always. Happy New Year!
    Cassie.

  2. Geoff says:

    Hey Sunil, Great idea, I’ve been wondering how to edit posts and make sure there’s just one ping. I’ll often do 5 or 6 updates to a post immediately after its published when I notice little errors too late.

    As for changing permalinks, I’m considering updating some old posts for SEO and changing the permalink as part of that to match my desired keyword. How do you feel about this if you were to put a 301 redirect from the original link? Is it worth trying it if I’m careful to use the 301? or would it do more harm than good? Also, do you think just using a plugin like Pretty Links would work for this sort of thing?

    • Sunil says:

      Geoff,

      I am not a big fan of redirects because of the pain I have personally experienced. Before changing the perma, see how many incoming links you have to the post/its PR. If you have something going for you, you may not want to change it and instead optimize the post itself (it’s ok sometimes if your URL is not as optimized).

      Given how link masking works, I don’t think using a plugin like pretty links will solve the SEO issue, but I could be wrong.

      Maybe someone more technical can shed some light on this topic???

  3. Oren says:

    Thanks for the tips. I think I have to go back and update all my posts :)

    Do you add meta tags to every post or just to the main page of the blog?

    • Sunil says:

      Welcome to the blog Oren. Make sure you implement the tip above before you make any edits. Yes, I do add meta tags as these are critical for SEO. The main page of the blog itself can have meta tags specific to the overall blog’s theme. Thesis does a good job of providing this input capacity.

      Read these two articles: Keyword Research. Blog SEO Using Thesis

      • Oren says:

        Thanks for the tips!

        Do you know of anything like thesis for blogger or a antiping plugin for blogger?

        • Sunil says:

          I do not Oren. In fact I strongly recommend moving away from a free platform like Blogger for several reasons that I have discussed on my blog. You don’t want to loose all your hard effort and most importantly time invested thus far do you?

  4. This is great stuff. I rarely change the old stuff unless it needs updating.

  5. You can change the permalinks so long as you update your .htaccess file to add the necessary permanent redirect. I also believe that WordPress now does such things automatically, internally, though I could be mistaken.

    • Sunil says:

      You are right Kevin, one can internally edit core files to make the redirects work. My biggest concern with redirects is compatibility with host platforms as well as potentially lost SEO (previous back link building efforts).

  6. Stephanie T. Everett says:

    Woooh! This is what I need, Last month I have been penalized :( Thanks for this post no more penalty for me :)

  7. Cheng says:

    Okay dude, I get it. May be this one was the reason for less traffic on my blogs. Now I will edit all my blogs. Thanks for such information.

  8. Hi,
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful article. It helped me gain a lot of info.

  9. well, i havent known about this, luckily i’ve never edited my old post, however i would be careful of this. thank you for the tips and the plugin, Sunil.

  10. Wow, nice sounding device. Also a good reminder of how much more I still have to learn before I can consider myself a skilled blogger, even though I’ve been doing this for nearly three years.

  11. I sometimes publish with a short title, for the URL (I’m using blogger), and republish again with a longer one. Would this be a problem?.. just doing it two or 3 times?

    • Sunil says:

      If you limit the pings by taking precautions such as the above, I wouldn’t worry so much about search engine penalties. I would be more concerned about the impact on your meta tags (which will impact your page’s rank and organic traffic). Might want to look into that…

  12. Toni37 says:

    Hi Sunil, you have such great advices… Thank you for sharing tips for editing a blog post.

  13. Ben says:

    Sunil,

    Great info on the ping plugin, I will certainly benefit from this. One thing I wanted to add is that a while back i was restructuring my site categories in an attempt to silo everything properly, therefore a lot of the URLs for my posts changed. i used a 301 redirect plugin (named 301redirects) to assure everything pointed to the right place. Though I agree it is best to never change the URL of an aged post, if you have to, this plugin can help. Cheers.

    -Ben

  14. Maysel03 says:

    Search engines are constantly striving to get relevant and useful results at the top of their rankings. It is sometimes possible to trick a search engine by using techniques with the primary aim of improving search engine rankings rather than providing useful content for visitors. This is called spamming.

    • Sunil says:

      sure is – the black hatters always seem to be a step ahead of the white hatters. best to stick with clean methods consistently over time though, no?

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