We frequently hear that having new material may assist your SEO,
but we seldom see a description of what fresh content entails and how essential it is for ranking.
So, in this post, we’ll go over:
What is content freshness and how is it measured?
When the freshness of material is a ranking factor.
When it’s time to refresh your material, here’s how to tell.
How to Increase Your Freshness Score
What is fresh content?
The term “fresh content” refers to content that has been recently published, updated, or revised.
Fresh information is valued by Google and its users since it is more likely to be accurate.
Since its freshness algorithm update in 2011,
Google has prioritised fresher sites with
the most up-to-date information when users search for trending or time-sensitive terms.
For 35% of queries, the freshness update affected at least one result on the page.
We may connect four dates with any URL that has been published online:
When the page was published, it was uploaded to the website.
When the crawlers first discovered the page and added it to Google Search, it was said to be indexed.
Last crawl: the last time those bots crawled the website.
When the page was last modified, it was marked as modified.
If a page is changed and republished after the first crawl, the published time shows
the most recent time the page was altered by the website.
When a page is changed without being republished, the modified time is displayed.
How does Google measure content freshness?
Google calculates the freshness of your material using a variety of variables, including:
Page inception date: The date the page was first indexed by Google.
The amount of change to the updated page: Significant changes indicate more freshness.
The following modifications have been made to the page’s basic content:
Changing the main body text is more refreshing than changing the date/time tags.
Page change rate: Frequent updates on the page indicate more freshness.
Rate of new page creation: Websites with a greater rate of new page creation may get a higher freshness score.
Freshness of backlinks to the page: Links from sites with high freshness ratings might help you.
Is content freshness a Google ranking factor?
The factor of freshness does not exist in a vacuum.
Rather, it is one of several variables or trust signals
that both search algorithms and consumers consider before clicking any of the results.
And, because freshness is more important to some searches than others,
the need for fresh material should always be assessed in relation to your core keyword.
Fresh vs “un-fresh” queries
Google will look for new material in the following query categories:
Recent occurrences (e.g. a playoff game)
Hot subjects (for example, Google’s page title update, which is trending at the time of this writing).
Reports and recurring events (e.g. presidential elections, annual conferences).
Continuous yet ever-changing information (e.g. product reviews).
Query categories in which the recency has no significant influence on the correctness of the information include:
Food preparation instructions
Topics of general interest
Topics that are always relevant
Let us look at few examples.
Anyone interested in reading about e-commerce trends will most likely be
seeking the most recent developments in the business, rather than those from prior years.
If a page addressing a recency-sensitive query is not updated,
its ranking will gradually deteriorate, whereas regularly updated material is more likely to have its position evaluated.
However, for a term like “search marketing,” freshness isn’t always one of the most important aspects.
People that search for that term are likely to want to learn the fundamentals of
what search marketing is and what it entails, which hasn’t changed much in recent years.
In this situation, an older but still correct page
that constantly obtains new backlinks but is not updated can easily compete
with a fresher website that lacks inbound connections or is losing its existing links.
How to improve your freshness score: best practices
Now that we’ve established how content freshness affects ranking for
time-sensitive searches, let’s go over some short suggestions and
best practices for implementing the freshness element into your SEO approach.
1. Check the SERP
The publishing dates of the top results are the simplest method to determine
the amount of freshness that people probably seek for a query.
You may, for example, look at the top 10 or 20 results and compute their average age.
In your computation, you should ideally assign greater weight to the top-ranking results.
2. Publish new (evergreen) content regularly
You are not required to constantly publish information on fresh themes.
However, as previously stated, your rate of new page production affects your freshness score.
So, whether on evergreen or time-sensitive themes, be sure you produce fresh material regularly.
The more regularly you produce material, the more frequently Google knows to crawl your site.
3. Update old content regularly
Because of the huge amount of new information released every day,
search engines cannot recrawl every page all of the time,
According to this Google study article.
As a consequence, Google scans pages depending on their pace of content updating preference.
By frequently updating old material, you enhance your freshness score
Which makes it simpler for your time-sensitive content to rank.
4. Prioritize already-ranking content
If your content does not rank first, the changes will not be enough to propel you to the top.
5. Actually update your content
It’s standard practice to change your article’s publication date and year in the title.
But this offers little to suggest freshness to Google.
As previously stated, Google prioritizes updates to the main content of the page over modifications to the date/time tags.
As a result, you’ll need to change the page’s main content.
While generating false freshness may temporarily boost your CTR.
It will most likely result in a lower stay time on your page if people still
deem your material to be slightly old.
And if you wind up with lower engagement metrics, it will almost likely harm your ranking.
6. and then actually change the publish date
Glen Allsopp emphasizes the necessity of matching the published time
Google connects with your URL with the year in your page title in his SEO Blueprint training course.
Articles in which the published date does not correspond to the year in the title are, in reality, rather common.
7. Submit to Google through Search Console
If you want to speed up the process of having Google recrawl your new material,
you may resubmit your sitemap on Google Search Console after upgrading your core content.
Because Google will ultimately detect the changes on its own,
this is typically not worth doing for minor adjustments.
When to update, republish, or publish new content
It depends on how essential freshness is for your query if it makes sense to update content so Google bot will crawl your page more regularly and rank it higher.
Here’s what Ahrefs recommends:
When freshness is critical: To keep up with demand, update the website often or produce new articles on the topic regularly.
Freshness is desired but not required: Regularly update the page, and if your rating begins to fall, consider editing and republishing.
Freshness isn’t a factor, concentrate on providing the greatest possible guide on the subject.
So, when freshness is critical or vital, let’s take a look at your alternatives.
When to update content
While Google prioritizes large updates, modest changes to a website are still crucial since,
as previously said, the freshness of a page degrades with time, regardless of how evergreen it is.
Here are some examples of minor updates:
Including new internal connections
Platform screenshots are being updated.
Changing the headers
Making a new addition to a list
This approach is an excellent way to increase traffic to evergreen content that
doesn’t require substantial changes.
When to revise and republish content
Revising out-of-date posts/pages and altering the publication date is an efficient approach to increase freshness.
This is important when an article has to completely rewritten to satisfy the needs of readers who want current, up-to-date material.
It should provide you with a greater freshness score than a simple update.
This technique is excellent for evergreen themes that have a long-term impact
on your audience, as well as pages for which you want to keep backlinks and other SEO benefits.
When republishing updated articles, post them on social media like you would any other new piece to increase interaction.
Another approach is to merge multiple thematically related, older articles into
a single updated ultimate guide and redirect all visitors from the old pages to the new one.
You don’t lose any current traffic, especially if those previous pages are performing well.
When to publish new content
Any post that identifies and describes trends around a certain theme is an excellent example of a topic that requires fresh information regularly.
At Supermetrics, for example, we examine affiliate marketing trends every year.
If you search for “affiliate marketing trends,” none of the first or second-page
results are older than 2020.
To keep this topic fresh, we publish a whole new article every year,
featuring new experts and going over recent developments.
Another reason for this technique is that we’re also aiming for the query
“affiliate marketing [current year].”
An added advantage is that your earlier articles have historical data
that may used to examine patterns over time.
How to know if I need to refresh my content
It is critical to keep track of your page’s performance.
Including traffic patterns and interaction, to evaluate freshness.
Track performance metrics
For example, a page that does not rank at the top but receives a significant number of clicks,
Resulting in visits with a high average time on the page and a low bounce rate.
Will indicate to Google that people believe your website is relevant and fresh enough for that query.
More SEO analytics may found here.
Following these metrics for your content over time will give helpful insights into
the performance of your page and if it needs changes or adjustments.
These metrics may tracked using Google Analytics or by exporting
the data to a spreadsheet with a reporting tool like Super-metrics.
Check keyword and query data
Keyword traffic numbers change, and not just for hot subjects.
So, if your page traffic is down, it might be because keyword volume for that query has lately dropped.
Look at position history
Perhaps there is new competition for your target term.
And one of those new pages manages to break through with their fresh material.
If this is the case, a glance at the SERP position history may show it.
Keep an eye on clicks and impressions
Keeping a careful check on clicks and impressions, as well as the search queries
that create them, allows you to determine when it’s time to update your page to enhance freshness.
The goal of keeping your material fresh is to better assist consumers by ensuring that your information is up to date.
This should result in increased clicks and engagement, as well as organic link attraction.
All of which signals to Google that your website deserves to be at the top of the search results.
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