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How creating a consistent stream of fresh content can boost your SEO rankings

Evan Livermore

Content is king, the age-old adage goes.

But creating a consistent flow of fresh content is the best way to rule over the search marketing kingdom.

Here’s why.

Google rewards fresh content

Fresh content is more than just written-from scratch content. It includes any recently published, updated or re-written content on your site.

Google and, more importantly, consumers value fresh content because it’s more likely to be accurate and relevant than older content that runs the risk of being outdated.

In 2011, Google launched a freshness algorithm update, which meant that it would prioritize newer pages in the search results page for time-sensitive and trending keywords.

There are a few key dates that Google looks at when evaluating a page’s freshness:

  • Published date: when the page was published on the website
  • Indexed date: when crawlers found the page and added it to Google
  • Last crawl date: when Google bots last crawled the page
  • Modified date: the last time changes were made to that page

Ranking content for freshness

Freshness alone isn’t what determines a page’s ranking potential. Other trust signals are considered by Google and users when visiting a site in search results. So while it’s important, it needs to be considered in conjunction with other search marketing best practices.

Read our blog post: How to create a killer local SEO strategy for your business

Freshness is also valued more highly for specific topics (i.e., time-sensitive) than others. Think about sporting events, trending topics, presidential elections vs. recipes, historical facts, and evergreen subjects.

How to boost your freshness factor with evergreen content

Evergreen content is continually relevant and stays “fresh” for readers over a long period. This content is invaluable because it remains relevant long after its publication date, and it experiences steady organic search traffic growth over time.

This type of content can be in video or written format and includes listicles, how-to articles, product reviews and more. For example, a video about tying a neck-tie will have more longevity and be considered more ‘evergreen’ than a video providing political commentary.

Ideas for evergreen content creation

There are several ways you can easily create evergreen content relevant to your audience. Here are a few ideas.

  1. Answer frequently asked questions from your users

    Customer research can be helpful when you consider what kind of questions prospects and customers often ask you. Make a list and use that to inform your evergreen content strategy.

    Read our blog post: How to leverage customer reviews to boost your SEO performance

    It’s also worth looking at search queries for your keywords using a tool like Google keyword planner. What types of long-tail keywords are users searching? What questions are they asking? Make sure to add these queries to your evergreen content strategy as well.

  2. Provide industry tips and how-to explainers

    Everyone loves a good industry tip. A tip can become a whole article with enough context, especially if you provide several tips on a single topic. Likewise, a how-to guide (both video and text) is excellent evergreen content that can help drive a steady stream of traffic to your site long term. Ensure the topics you cover have good search volumes and, most importantly, are relevant to your business.

  3. Clarify easily misunderstood industry concepts and ideas

    Are there specific topics in your industry that frequently confuse people (for instance, marginal tax brackets if you’re an accountant)? These make for excellent content pieces because they answer questions that people often type straight into Google. Think about the concepts that stump your clients and customers the most often and write out detailed but clear explanations. Run a brainstorming session with your team to see which questions come up most often.

The importance of refreshing content

New content isn’t the only valuable content for search marketing. Refreshing old content can be just as effective at driving more organic traffic to your website.

Consider making a list of your most highly-trafficked content and set a reminder to update it every few months. If new updates, regulations or industry changes come along, ensure that you’re updating each piece as soon as possible, so the content is relevant and, most importantly, fresh!

And make sure to refresh your content often. Google can’t recrawl every page on the internet (obviously), giving preferential treatment to sites that update their content regularly.

Don’t game the freshness algorithm

Avoid simply updating the year in the title of your content and republishing. Google will look for changes made to the body of the content and changes to the date and time tags. Google always rewards content that provides value to the user, so trying to dress up old content as something new isn’t in your best interest.

The importance of a content strategy

It’s hard to create high-quality content – and refresh older content – if you don’t have a considered content strategy in place to support your search marketing efforts. Spend some time planning out your content calendar for the year so that you’re posting new or refreshed content on your website consistently. It makes the process much easier, and Google will reward you for your efforts.

If you need more guidance on developing fresh content as part of your search marketing strategy, we’ve got you covered. Creative Guild has a team of search experts with years of experience creating high-ranking, high-quality content for our clients. Get in touch with us today to find out more.