The Value of Fresh Content

Hopefully, we should all know that websites need good, relevant content in order to be successful at SEO. The better your content is, the more likely it will be to show up in search engines and naturally attract links to your site. Additionally, fresh content is a major factor that plays a role in search engine rankings (which was recently confirmed by Google’s patent application).

Perhaps it would be best to explain using an example. In one of the websites that I own, I noticed a huge drop in my traffic from organic search (note the graph from my Google Analytics account). It wasn’t a slow progressive drop, nor did I see it coming. It was just a simple, out-of-the-blue loss of traffic. I researched a bit, and it only took a couple minutes to find out why. My #1 keyword for generating traffic was no longer ranking on the first page.

graph 1

Naturally, that’s a huge concern as a website owner. Fortunately for me, I don’t really use this site beyond the occasional SEO experiment, but for a site owner that relies on organic traffic to generate income, it could be nothing short of catastrophic.

Nevertheless, it provided a powerful example of the need for fresh content. This particular website was a blog, and I hadn’t updated for almost 4 months. I have no doubt that other sites competing for my keywords were updating more regularly. I went into my site and submitted a blog post a few days after the sudden drop. It wasn’t much – just a “sorry I haven’t posted anything lately” post. It was a simple effort to put in something new.

The result was a complete return of the rankings and traffic (and then some):

graph 2

Of course, not every site is a blog that will need to be updated weekly. Some sites could possibly go for years without actually needing an update. Nevertheless, don’t neglect your site. Here are some final points and bits of advice for making sure your content is fresh:

  • If necessary, regularly perform a site review of all the content on your site. Does it still make sense? Is it up to date with any changes in the industry?
  • Make sure that you have a blog and that you update it regularly.
  • Don’t make small changes just to keep the search engines pacified. They look for sites that are more “fresh”, and small changes might not be enough.
  • Making changes does not mean building a new website. Just add a page, or update a couple pages.
  • Make sure to watch your competition. You want to get a sense for how often the industry updates so that you can make sure to stay with the trend. If you update less than other websites, you run the risk of losing rankings.
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9 Comments

  1. Jack Wong says

    If google recognise your site is a blog based, it can get index fatser. Therefore constant add in new good content, like How To, What is, type of topic can actually get long tail SEO traffics.

  2. dgrappler1 says

    Thanks for the pointers Scott. I am fairly new at SEO strategies and every little bit of advice is welcomed. Updating my sites is something that I need to keep a closer eye on. Thanks again.

  3. Kawaldip says

    This is a very good article Scott, i myself put-in considerable amount of time in building a new blog site and regularly updating the content. I am an SEO consultant myself and this new site is informative experiment i am conducting to learn the twists and turns Google takes in ranking.

    Although i follow most of Google webmaster stuff, the guys over there (Google employees) are not always clear in what a webmaster should do to achieve an objective. I will be following your stuff carefully just to be sure i am on the right track.

  4. Pritush says

    thanks for your advice, i am also exprimenting in SEO for my blog and i think new should be published by re-writing it and adding opinion . isn’t it

  5. Nayan Mewada says

    That was really a good article. I just have one question, it is fine to update the blog now and then, but what about the sites which are static and do not need to be updated every now and then? The site which I am handling is quite big but rarely updated.

    Please suggest what I should do to keep it up to the first page of SERP for almost all big keywords.

    I know, I’m a bit Selfish ;)

  6. Scott says

    For Nayan:
    My first recommendation: Add a blog to your site so that you have something to update!
    Secondary to that, I would follow what your competitors are doing. How often do they update their site? Are you below or above the average in your industry?
    From there you should have a better idea of when you need to update your site.

  7. Nayan Mewada says

    HI Scott thanks for your Prompt response.
    Starting with the official blog is really a good Idea. I will think over it and decide after considering few options.
    Secondly how can i keep a track of my competitors like how often they update and what they update(like do we have any application that can keep track of the activities by our competitors) one thing i can do is i can set a feed reader to get updated as soon as there is a change in the site(competitor). And how will I set a line where i can judge whether I m above the average in the industry industry.

  8. MadMike says

    New content and updated frequently has been and will always be liked by readers but at the same time, liked by search engines. Also, the updating of content has a very big impact on search engines, and crawlers more specifically, in accessing the page. Google Webmaster’s Tool helps very much to this, with the Crawl Stats. Good article Scott.

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