I found a story earlier this year about Vox’s decision to dust off, slightly update, and re-run old content as new.
The practice happens a lot more often than anyone realizes in the print world, especially magazines, and as Gigaom says, there are implications when doing this. The questions got me thinking, and in the case of blogging, I think there’s something to learn but the practice is probably unnecessary.
What is a good idea is to keep an eye on your most popular content and make sure it stays relevant. For example, I once had some very popular Windows sysadmin content. Not updating that content for the still-supported versions of Windows represents a lost opportunity. That traffic is gone now. The old content that I did update, or that never needs updating, accounts for more than half of my traffic now.
If the majority of my traffic came from my front page or from something like Google News, changing the dates to make them look new might make a difference. Since I tend to specialize in long-tail content though, the date on it makes no difference whatsoever. All that matters is making sure it’s still accurate and relevant.