If you have put in the hard work to fill your website with amazing content and you did an excellent job coding it correctly, then your website and its content are set for good, right? Wrong!
No longer will the one-and-done strategy pas the muster. As much as it stings to admit, no matter how great a job you do on your website, staying at the top of Google and Bing searches requires constant updates and maintenance.
After you’ve put in countless hours of time and energy into getting your website set-up just right, it’s easy to feel like you’ve completed your task and have earned your results. However, if you put yourself in the place of your audience, you’ll understand the need for ongoing nurturing and it makes sense. Like it or not, everything changes. No matter how well-written, well-research, and up-to-date your website is today, time keeps on going. We can’t future-proof and what is accurate today may not be in two weeks, two months, or two years. It makes sense that Google would prioritize sites with new, fresh content over older, potentially out-of-date sites.
While it will require more effort on your part to regularly update your website, the work can absolutely be worth it! Your competitors may be above you now but, if they don’t keep up to date, they too can slip in the Google rankings. After all, if they are not taking the time to tidy their field, then they are not going to stay fresh online.
To be fair, different types of searches matter more in terms of freshness than others. Once you know them, hopefully they will seem like common sense!
- Anything that frequently updates needs renewed updates. For instance, a breakdown of the best DSLR cameras will change every time a new, fancy camera is put on the market.
- Recent topics and events need current content. If someone searches for the San Antonio Spurs, it makes more sense to have stories about Tim Duncan retiring at the top of the results than to have the top result be selling tickets to a San Antonio Spurs game he played in a decade ago.
- Regularly occurring events need updated content. If you search for the Super Bowl, it’d be more useful to get articles about Super Bowl 50 than a Super Bowl commercial from the 90s.
Naturally, different industries have diverse needs when it comes to current content. Assessing your own industry, product or service’s need for freshness can help you determine the amount of time you need to dedicate to content creation. Remaining relevant is important for all business websites but, for certain industries, it is absolutely necessary!
There are multiple factors that influence which websites are considered fresh. Initially, your page’s freshness is measured by its inception date. The more recently your page was indexed by a Googlebot, the fresher it is considered. Over time, this score deteriorates until it is considered stale.
Your pages are not doomed to staleness, however! Your page’s rating can be improved by regularly updating its content. When you change the content on a page, Google can tell that its been updated. It’s important to keep in mind that the amount of changed content makes a difference. If you only change one sentence, Google will not consider this substantive and will not update your freshness score. If the change is too small, it may be completely ignored as if you did nothing at all. When updating your pages, make sure to either change a large amount of your page or change multiple sections of the same page to ensure the changes are noticed.
The area of the page you choose to edit can also impact your freshness rating. Editing important areas of the page help out more than editing unimportant areas. Navigation, advertisements, and boilerplates are considered less important to the overall page. When an ad on your page changes, it doesn’t necessarily indicate that any noteworthy change occurred on the page so Google does not prioritize that change as particularly important. You cannot count on changing a footer or sidebar to improve your page’s freshness. The main body text is the most important part of your page. By changing the body text, you are changing the core message of the page and therefore updating its freshness.
As anyone handy with social media will tell you, frequency of updates is incredibly important. A fresh website is one that changes itself regularly. Even if your website makes huge changes every 6 months, it may not matter compared to your competitor who is updating with new weekly content. The more often you can update your website, the better. After all, when the goal is freshness, nothing beats new content on a regular basis.
Regular updates to the body of your page throughout the day is best for your website’s freshness. However, practically speaking, this can be a real burden. Your business has countless needs unrelated to its website that have to be attended to immediately!
That’s why you need to capitalize on the content you are already generating. Having a customer write a review of their experience with your product or service and including it on your website gets you the regular, fresh, quality content you need without taking time away from running your business. Programs and Apps that can automatically add new content from the end-users offer an appealing time-saving advantage. Apps like the One Question Reputation App (OQRA) and Personal Experience Review App (PERA) make this process simple, quick, and easy