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  • Writer's pictureRay Cheselka

Leveraging Content Freshness to Improve Search Result Rankings

The SEO community has been buzzing about content freshness lately, and for a good reason: Fresh, recent content makes a difference.


Would you trust an article about strategies relevant to your business from 3 years ago? A blog with a hotel or restaurant review from 5 years ago? I wouldn't. I want the most current, up-to-date, relevant information.


That's also what Google wants for its searchers. They have a method and guidelines for getting publication dates put into the search results.


I see websites all the time that 5 pages of content. Home Services Products About Contact. Doing the bare minimum is going to get you the minimum in return. To Google, vagueness and thin content are a rankings death sentence.


Building out great, targeted base content, and then leveraging the creation of sub-pages/depth, along with a consistent blog can work wonders for your rankings and the traffic that comes with it.


Quality, regularly updated content drives quality traffic

In all of the below examples my primary focus was to add to, and/or update content as the focal point of an SEO strategy.






Where to begin

Whether you have a site with a lot of content, or just a few pages, getting started can be tough!


The hardest part is developing a gameplan, then it's just a matter of crossing things off the list.


My advice:


Websites with little content: Outline content your website doesn't have that your prospects and customers would be interested in. You can begin to develop a list of content that would be helpful, and potentially have ideas stem from there for sub and other content types. Create as fast as you can!


Another method of gathering content ideas is by looking at your competitor's websites. Do a keyword gap analysis in SEMrush to find out what phrases they're ranking for that you're not. Or find phrases they're outperforming you on. Maybe they offer application or industry pages, where you only discuss services.


There is a lot to consider. With research and a focus on satisfying prospects and customers, there's a strong chance you'll create great content.


Setup Google Analytics, and Search Console ASAP if not already installed.

Websites with lots of content: Look at the data. Comparative data can be especially insightful.


For example, if you look at Google search console and compare the last 3 months to the previous 3 months, you can see where rankings, appearances in search, and clicks declined. This can help you prioritize, and target weak areas of your website. You can adjust the time frame to get different helpful data sets, both short and long-term. Take that information and update or add content, meta information, and headings.


Search console is also a great research tool to keep an eye on how people are searching, and ensure you have content for all the topically relevant searches your website appears for. You'll likely find ideas for base content additions and new blog topics.


When looking at search console, seeing a spike in CTR is a good indicator that ranking improvement will follow. Keeping your click-through rate high also indicates to Google that your website is serving up really relevant content to searchers because they are clicking through more often when you appear in the search results.


To improve CTR---get rid of irrelevant traffic by enhancing landing pages, address what people are curious about in content, make them relevant to key searches. Also, merge or eliminate pages that are too similar and creating internal competition (don't forget a 301 once page is unpublished).


Some other tools I'd recommend analyzing data on: SpyFu, Google Analytics (hopefully you have it setup!), and I would read up on content marketing. Content Inc. is phenomenal, along with Content Chemistry.


How to Maintain + Grow

Develop a plan with future content creation, launch dates, and who is responsible for the content. Write proactively to get the content created well ahead of rollout. For blog content, be sure to have a backlog, so you don't risk inconsistencies in your posting schedule. Consistency is important, and it can help you market through other channels like email.


Once new content and posts are launched, set reminder tasks for yourself to check in on the performance of the content, what people are searching for around the topic, and make sure to update or add to the content on the page. Republishing will keep your content alive and give it new youth as it ages.


As long as you keep adding and updating content and managing content as a whole, you should see growth.


An example

Let's say you're basically starting from scratch with a 5-page website like I mentioned above. You're an HVAC company.


Home

Services

Products

About

Contact


Here's how you could begin to build things out (-indicates sub-pages)

Home

Services

-AC

--AC Repair

--AC Replacement

--AC Maintenance

-Heating

--Furnace Repair

--Furnace Replacement

--Furnace Maintenance

-Air Quality Improvement

Products

-Air Conditioners

-Furnaces

-Filters

About

Contact Us


Once this base content is created, a blog addressing relevant topics people are interested in like "saving money on energy bills" or "determining what's wrong with your AC unit"could help to develop more and more relevant content. The more relevant, quality content you create, the more Google will think of you as an authority. If they think of you as an authority, you're going to end up ranking and reaping the benefits.


I'd be happy to evaluate your content and its potential

Just shoot me a message with the short contact form, here.

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