We look after lots of websites here at Outerbridge. So we are in a good position to say what works and what doesn’t. So when people ask me why their website does not perform very well in search engine results, I ask them how often they update their website. The fact is, Google loves fresh content, and here’s why.
How does Google decide where my website appears in search engine results?
Search engines use web crawlers (sometimes known as robots, bots, or Googlebots). These are sophisticated programs that scan the internet for websites. The web crawler examines a site using an “algorithm” – a sort of equation where lots of different factors are plugged in and measured. The result determines where you appear in search engine results.
Which factors are taken into account?
The fact is, no one really knows which factors are most important. Search Engines do not publish details of their algorithms. But by experimenting with different scenarios, search engine experts can work out which things have the most effect. We know for sure that Google likes lots of incoming links to your website. And crucially, they check to see how often a site is updated; how often fresh content is posted.
Fresh content means that Google will index your website more often
The more frequently you update your website with fresh content like news, photos and new pages, the more frequently the search engines will visit your website. And when search engines look at your site more frequently, you get the opportunity to achieve a higher ranking, based on the content you provide. Every time you make an update to your website, the search engine robots take notice and they re-rank your website. It could go up or down, depending on the changes you’ve made. But if you want to increase the chances of your website getting a higher ranking, you must update the content frequently. The search engines will then re-calibrate your position on their indexes. And if you focus on quality content, your search engine ranking will improve. Simple as that.
Add a blog to your website
So, add a new article, a new photo or just make a few changes on your site and the search engine robots will notice. By far the easiest and most effective way to do this is to have a blog on your website. If you regularly add new blog posts, you will noticed your rankings improve. If your readers comment on those articles, that also counts as an update on your site. So if you write quality content consistently then you will benefit from a frequently changing site.
The importance of keywords
Adding fresh content gives you more opportunities to target new keywords. Keywords are really important for search engine indexing and ranking. Frequently added content, such as blog or article postings, allows you to optimise your article with relevant keywords that might attract visitors to your site. For example, if you are a dance school, each page of your website may already be optimised for the major keyword terms such as ballroom classes or latin dance lessons. But if you write frequent articles, you can target a number of different niches. Such as argentine tango, learning to dance, kids breakdancing lessons or cha cha cha…
Think of your customers and what they need
There’s nothing worse than visiting the website of your favourite business only to find that it is out of date, or that nothing has changed since the last time you visited. We’ve all seen shops advertising Christmas promotions in March or events that were in the past, and it creates a really bad impression. Your customers want to know that you are a vibrant, thriving business and there’s no better way to communicate that than by having an interesting website full of recent, relevant content. By keeping your viewers engaged, you will develop longer term loyalty to your brand. This will lead to returning traffic, which in turn improves your search engine rankings even further.
Continually updating your website will provide new visitors with valuable information about your business and your products or services. If a visitor has come to your site, give them the information they need. Remember, you might be very familiar with your offerings but they will not be. Make sure you tell them all about what you do and what the benefits are for them. Explain why they should buy from you and not your competitors. The more information a potential customer can access, the more likely they are to make a decision to use your company.
Top tips on creating fresh content
- Put yourself in the position of a customer. Think about their needs, and update the website or blog with timely & relevant content that is useful to prospective and existing customers. Ask your customers what they would like to see. Or why not get a friend to imagine they were a customer and review your website from their perspective? Updating your website or blog frequently with new things will create interest and encourage people to visit the website again.
- Search engines will look at the amount of content updated and the frequency with which the updates are happening. So make sure your site has a significant amount of quality changes to the content at regular time intervals. Make a note in your calendar to refresh the website content every day, week or month as appropriate.
- Keep your customers informed by adding a new blog post whenever you create new products. Do the same when you have special offers, deals or discounts. Let them know what’s going on in your business at all times. You might think these things are mundane, but they will add interest to your site. Maybe you have a new sign outside your shop? Take a photo and write a blog about it. Perhaps you’ve won an award or received a glowing review from a customer? Or maybe you have issued a press release? All these things should be featured on your website. They will help to bring your business to life for potential customers too.
- Job vacancies are a great way to add fresh content to your website. They will help to show customers that your business is successful and thriving. They also give you a chance to write about what’s great about your business without sounding like you are blowing your own trumpet. After all, everyone expects job adverts to say great things about the company.
A note of caution
In an attempt to create the illusion of freshness, some people just tinker with a few things. For example, they might change the title of a web page and republish it. This is not a good idea, because it may have negative impact on search results. If the page already ranks well, it may lose its existing authority. The search engine robots are sophisticated enough to spot an attempt to generate false fresh content.
Updating the content on your website is vital to improve your search engine rankings. It also gives you a great opportunity to promote your business, encourage loyalty and increase brand awareness. SO if you haven’t updated your website in a while, what are you waiting for?
Don’t have enough time?
We can create content for you! Our gold & platinum monthly website support packages include a guaranteed amount of our time each month and you can use it for whatever you like. Just let us know what’s new in your business, send us a photo if possible and we will do the rest.