You've heard fresh content is essential for good SEO. Did you realize that Google treats changes to existing content as 'fresh' content as well? This means something as simple as adding an image that wasn't there before can help Google and the other search engines rate your website as an active site.
However, there's more to updating content than just changing links or adding photographs. You need to keep your content relevant to the people you serve through your website. This means the information visitors find on your website must be current.
Do you focus on producing evergreen content? As wise as this strategy may be, it doesn't calculate into it the declining scale of importance we know Google gives content as it ages. Nothing stays fresh forever. When you consider this reality, scheduling a regular review of your existing content is part of the best ongoing SEO strategies.
Here the main reasons why updating content is important-and not just for SEO. Revising content delivers dividends with your customer base as well.
1. Updating content says you are current.
How often have you gone to a website and seen that the last time content was added to it was three or four months, or even a year ago? Did you expect any information there to be relevant to you? However, imagine arriving at the same page and seeing that the most recent update to page content occurred within the last month. Would your confidence in the validity of the information increase?
For most industries, seeing an older article that's been updated to reflect changes in information boosts confidence. It says you stay current in your industry. It suggests you are flexible and capable within your field.
Of course, the demand for freshness differs based on industry. A business serving plumbers doesn't need to update content as frequently as one serving financial markets. Google recognizes these differences and so should you. If you serve content to a volatile industry (technology and finance, for example), your need to update content is going to be higher than a website serving a low-change industry (auto repair or tire sales, for example).
However if you put two low-change businesses side by side, the one who takes the time to publish regular content and update information on the business' website is going to attract more search engine traffic than the one that doesn't.
Updating the way information is delivered should be considered as well. For example, an auto repair site that has a cost calculator to estimate how much a service might cost could attract more traffic than one that has no pricing information and requires a call to get an estimate.
2. Updating content asks search engines to re-evaluate the page's importance.
When you change content significantly, Google recognizes these changes. It's one of the best ways to 'reset' the age of a post without losing any link juice associated with the original URL. Here's how it works according to MOZ.com.
The first time Google crawls a page sets a page's inception date. The page's freshness score decays over time. The same is true for links Google finds during a crawl. When Google ranks pages, it tends to place the newest exact matches higher than older exact matches. The only exception is if you have altered your original content enough for Google to recognize the change.
This means you have to do more than change a sentence or outbound link. You need to review the entire post and add new information wherever appropriate.
Don't waste time on revising comments, though. Responding to comments is important for the engagement. However, these changes deliver almost no SEO value unless the discussion goes viral. So focus all your energies on the core content.
3. Updating content encourages you to repurpose stale content.
Have you ever conducted a search and found yourself on a page promoting an event that's already ended? Far too many businesses fail to use past events as an opportunity.
When you land on a past-event page, it's obvious the event was promoted effectively. The search engine recognized the amount of traffic generated as interest in the upcoming event peaked. This is important ranking you don't want to lose. If you revisit the event promotion page content, there are many potential opportunities for extending engagement.
- Rewrite content to place the event in the past.
- Consider promoting the next similar event if it occurs regularly.
- Link to videos of the event.
- Offer downloads.
- Share event-day news.
- Link to synopsis pages for each speaker's presentation(s).
By doing these things, you turn an otherwise stale page into one extending the value of your website.
4. Updating content gives you a second chance.
Everyone hopes content will go viral. Just because no one ran with your blog post the first time doesn't mean it's doomed to obscurity. Every content update gives you another opportunity to promote it across all your social media channels.
5. Updating content leverages the time invested in older content.
Coming up with new ideas can be difficult, and producing new content is time consuming. That's when revising older content comes to your aid. You can 'refresh' existing content faster because there's far less research involved. You're starting from an idea that's asking you to revisit it, so others will as well.
Ultimately, you want to meet or exceed the expectations for your business sector. No matter what industry you serve through your website, fresh content is an essential component. New content will always be a part of the mix. However, when you spend time refreshing existing content, you reap benefits from both your customers and the search engines. So make sure that's part of your content strategy as well.
PS - If you need to kick start your content marketing strategy be sure to download our free eBook: Getting Started With Content Marketing by clicking here or the button below.