Keep it Fresh

12/13/2011

- Neil Ingalls, SEO Specialist

There have been many changes to the algorithms that search engines use to index the internet over the years. Some of these changes have startling effects, dropping traffic numbers of websites by large amounts overnight, but most are small changes that users and marketers hardly notice. In the last year a lot has been discussed about Panda, a large update, and how that has shaped the way marketers develop and maintain a website. Panda was one of these “game changers,” not a successive number of incremental changes dictating the indexing of the internet.

Below I will briefly discuss one of the most important issues that has been changed by incremental algorithm changes over the last decade and what it means for business owners, marketers, and even searchers.

Freshness has become more and more important. Google has made relevant responses for time dependent searches a priority in serving users with relevant results. Imagine it is Cyber Monday and you are searching for deals, only to have “Great Thanksgiving Dinner Deals,” interspersed with your search results. For this, and many other reasons, Google decidedly makes timely material and time dependent content more available in the SERPS. This benefits some and hurts others, but the take home lesson is this: if your business depends on timely material, you need to regularly update your site. Updating your site’s content with associated meta information in time to be indexed, which can take up to 2 weeks, it is extremely important for any organization seeking to rank for time sensitive content.

Marketers need to update the timely material with indexing from the search engine in mind, because it can take time for Google or Bing to find your new content and present it for a relevant search in the engines. The search engine’s indexing process has sped up considerably over the last decade, greatly assisting their ability to serve timely content, but it is NOT instantaneous. Make sure you update at least 3 weeks before an event or specific date if you want to appear in relevant searches. Also make sure to link to the actual page of new content. Search engines follow these links to find new additions, so if you don’t properly link to a new page, it will not be indexed.

Google has made a clear decision to favor fresh new updated material, do not miss the opportunity by providing users with old stale content. No business aspires to be yesterday’s news.

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