Fresh & Updated Content as an SEO Technique
How to Boost Traffic and Increase Rankings
by Dr. William Sen
What is SEO without fresh content? The more you churn out fresh content, the better your chances of attaining higher rankings in search engines.
When Can Content Be Described as Fresh?
The word fresh when used in SEO context, is used to describe new or updated content put up on any text and image on a certain page. Google and its bots feed off fresh content and this boosts a website’s chances of ranking as Google leverages on how often a website or content is updated. This is a fact that points out your website’s reliance on fresh content.
Google ascribes so called lifecycles to each page. A page that has been consistent without updated content may get to a saturation point and then starts to drop in value for Google. Search engines such as Google use Page Lifecycles to measure their periodic updates to determine their upward or downward ranks. Outdated content does not do any good to search engines which is why the popular saying “the older, the better,” does not hold true with search engines. For Google and other search engines, it is the other way round. “The fresher, the better.”
Web pages that are constantly updated have longer Page Lifecycles because Google rates them as more current and valuable. There are some pieces described as golden pieces of writing. While the information in them may be worth more than gold, once the Page’s Lifecycle is complete and these search engines comb it for updates, but do not find any, they get downranked after a while despite they might be doing great when it comes to user engagement, user interest, and user expectation. Especially current news and events have faster Page Lifecycles because they often get redundant quickly. To avoid losing the rank for any page churning out fresh content, particularly content related to recent events, such pages must be committed to continuous updates with updated content — or they need to be maintained evergreen, i.e. content that doesn’t display or reveal any date.
How to Measure Fresh Content
When a new page is created on the website with new content, it is considered fresh content. It is however imperative that a page’s high quality is reflected in its content from the start. Pages on a website such as Contact Page, About Us Page, Services Page, Terms & Conditions Page also sum up as fresh content, provided they have been updated. However, these types of pages have lower advantages for the fresh content algorithm.
Updates on already existing pages are calculated as a part of the fresh content algorithm. For already existing pages, the text portion of the content when modified, should be put between 20-30%. If the page is changed completely in terms of text, images and other features, such page will be considered as a new page and may lose its existing ranking. Keywords are a critical part of SEO and must be kept intact no matter the changes effected on the content. The removal of essential keywords when modifying the content on a page, tends to portray a negative effect on the page’s ranking. With the right SEO content tools, the changes that have been affected in each document can be easily tracked to reflect points where keywords may have been removed in error while updating the content.
Additional images to web pages also count as part of fresh content on the page. Many SEO professionals fail to underscore the place of pictures in SEO. I discussed this extensively in “How to use SEO Optimized Images”.
When users leave comments on a page, the page gets higher rankings based on the amount of comments in place. This is despite Google’s scope of measuring comments differently. User comments make up a part of Google’s engagement rate algorithm and are not usually counted as content freshness. Nonetheless, they are an important ranking metric for Google. The more comments you get, the better you will be ranked, assuming the comments are related to your page and are unique.
What Page Types Contribute to Content Freshness?
Carrying out updates on your website’s pages to reflect higher SEO rankings when done randomly will not yield appreciable results, unlike when they are done strategically. The higher the amount of content on a website, the more work should go into arranging content updates. Here’s how many SEO Specialists employ analytics to determine the pages that that have not been in sessions through the years, in what is commonly called the Year over Year (YoY) metric:
Let’s say 13,000 sessions were recorded on January 2019 on the article titled “SEO Strategy” but the same article only recorded 8,000 sessions on January 2020. If you do the math, you will see that there is a loss of about 5,000 sessions, which amounts to 40% YoY (Year over Year). when you measure the sessions recorded for all other articles on the website, then you will start by editing and updating the content of the articles that recorded the most loss of sessions in a year.
When content freshness is in place on one page on your website, the impact can be directly felt on all other pages of the website. Updating one page even is enough for Google to assume that all of your website is being constantly maintained.
The modifications effected on a website determines the rate at which Google’s bot will check your website. If you update your website once a month, it’s likely Google bot will crawl your content around once a month or less. The more you update your website, the higher the value of your website for Google, and the more Googlebot will visit your website. When content freshness endeavors are not regularly embarked upon, the rankings of your website will suffer.
Any website with eyes on the gains of SEO, must be given to regular SEO processes to increase its ranking per time. For some websites, the nature of their engagement guarantees regular updates. Examples include news portals. Many corporate websites do not run regular updates on their websites despite offering products and services. This puts them at risk of losing their ranking until they fall completely off the search results. Running continuous SEO analytics checks and updates remain an integral part of any SEO campaign.