Now that you're humming along to the Kool & the Gang classic, let's talk about why freshness is so exciting, and indeed inviting.
When you search for anything online you'll notice that nearly every result has a date, or a time frame next to it telling you when the content was published. This is especially noticeable when you search for information on a current or breaking news story – you'll see a selection of articles at the top of the SERP (search engine results page) with an accompanying photo and a time stamp. This is Google attempting to stay competitive when it comes to breaking news information because this is something Twitter does really well. However, if everyone heads straight to Twitter for the scoop, Google misses out on the chance to serve adverts and make money. They have extended the idea of publishing timestamps to non-news content too.
Whether you've noticed the timestamp on other, non-news internet searches, you will almost certainly have been influenced by this information, and clicked on the most recently published pages first. This is because we're drawn to the most up to date content; we don't want to miss out on the latest information, or read something that's been found to be incorrect.
Google is the same, it doesn't want to serve you outdated information, or sources that have been debunked or discredited. Google wants to be seen as a trustworthy source of information, so the algorithm it uses actively searches for the most recent content, bumping these pages to the top of the SERP and looking less favourably on content that is older. While the products you sell might not be updated and improved every few months, it is still worth publishing new content and updating your more static content, then re-publishing it.
By updating the content even slightly, updating the title tag and the timestamp in the page metadata, you make Google think your website has the absolute latest information on that product or search term. It is a good idea to tweak the content slightly each time you do this, because re-publishing the exact same content too many times will count against you. This is easy enough to do by including the month and year in the content itself (which you can then update each time) and by moving a couple of sentences around and changing a photo. It doesn't have to be a sweeping overhaul, just a few tweaks to make it look different enough.
Marketers have tested this theory and found that SERP ranking improved dramatically when content and timestamps were updated, with some pages going from the third to the first page within 24 hours of the update. Even when only the timestamp was changed with static content the same effect was found.
This technique is great for instantly improving the performance of all your content, so start with pages that used to get a lot of hits but which seem less popular now. Once you have made it fresh and exciting you should see a big change in hits to that page and you should even find it has shot up the rankings for the relevant search terms.
Updating search terms is also a great reason to refresh your content, so you may want to consider changing the keywords in certain pieces of content to reflect what your customers are searching for now. Then, when you update the timestamp and press the publish button you'll see a really dramatic uptick in performance. Google really does love fresh, exciting content, and so do we.
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