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Correlation between fresh content and Google rankings
Over the past couple of years, we have seen several attempts by SEO professionals, such as; MOZ, Vaynermedia to prove that fresh content and Google rankings are correlated. Literally, Google has always demonstrated a preferences towards fresh content. If you think about it, fresh content tends to be more relevant to the now of the internet of all things. Good fresh content is supposed to be rich with the latest news/updates topical to what is currently trending in Google/Facebook/twitter/reddit search terms. Even though you can find some websites which are missing the point of content and are updating with spammy content on a regular basis, such as, Finding new leads hard than finding Pokemon?, the majority of the top websites in SERPs, are providing real value to their potential market with good content. Providing real value and genuine engagement is what Google, Facebook (Twitter is getting there) is trying to quantify.
So, how does Google identify fresh and relevant content? Some of the signals that may trigger Google, Facebook, Twitter might to identify fresh content and interesting (engaging) are listed below:
Date of posting or Date of an Update:
There are strong indicators that Googles crawler relies heavily on the post date to identify fresh content. An improved ranking or relevance for pertinent search terms (keywords) is one of the immediate affects of updating your site with fresh content. However, in most of the cases, this advantage wears off as the post becomes stale. Which is why it is important to post regular new content. Additionally, you can get extra reach from old popular posts, by updating them with new relevant/topical content. I have experienced a nice little boost from doing this.
Note: Don't keep pushing a dead content that never was that good. It either worked or it didn't, more on and look for another angle.
You have the option to update or change only a couple of paragraphs on a webpage or you can update the whole page with fresh content. Google crawlers are so advanced that they can tell the difference between both strategies. Updating the site with fresh content from scratch is considered to be an ideal strategy than its alternative. Either way keeping up to date can keep new and current users more engaged if nothing else.
New page creation rate:
The rate at which new pages are created on a website is also a strong signal that Google looks for when determining the freshness of the content and quality of a website. Studies have also revealed that a website which updates its content on a regular basis will experience more frequent search engine crawls.
Note: Make sure your robots.txt file keeps up to date with your content creation.
Relevancy of backlinks:
Studies have also revealed that links from fresh content, relevant or highly engaged content has more influence over the way Google ranks you when contrasted against against backlinks from an older website which is hardly updated or one that has low engagement (by engagement we mean comments, responses, shares).
Follow an active content marketing strategy and ensure that you choose widely discussed and topical content, relevant to your target market and being published on a medium your target market uses for your content creation. Using social media sites to fuel your contents reach and making sure you content is easily indexed by search engines is a solid and ideal strategy.
Vaynerchuk, G. (2016). #AskGaryVee: 437 questions and answers on the current state of entrepreneurship, business management, monetization, media, platforms, content, influencer marketing, investing, leadership. New York, NY: Harper Business.
Mozcom. (2016, no-date). 10 Illustrations of How Fresh Content May Influence Google Rankings. [Weblog]. Retrieved 9 July 2016, from https://moz.com/blog/google-fresh-factor-new