Does Fresh Content Really Matter to SEO?
Is Fresh Content Really Needed to Rank?
If you’ve conducted a search on Google, you probably noticed that newer content ranks closer to the top. While this isn’t always the case and depends on the available results on a topic, Google tends to favor newer content because it provides the user with the most up to date information. There are many factors that go into which sites and where Google ranks a website on its search engine results pages, but if a site meets other criteria and is fresh, it is more likely to land at the top.
Why would Google care about fresh content?
Google recommends using their search quality rater guidelines to develop great content. Raters are trained to understand if content has what they call strong E-A-T, or Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Google is looking for content they can trust to be what a user is looking for in their search engine results.
They have a responsibility to ensure that the content they serve to users is accurate, and freshness is one way Google can predict a piece of content is more accurate. If your article hasn’t been updated in five years, while your competitors have published more recent content on the same topic, it can be a sign to Google that your article is no longer the best result to show users.
As an example, if you were searching for the best laptop, would you want to see an article that was published 3 years ago, or one that was updated last month? You would want to read the more updated version. While freshness is more important when it comes to some topics versus others, like technology and news, you should compare the freshness of your content to that of your SEO competitors.
How to know what to update?
Producing quality content is time consuming and costly if you outsource, so not everyone can churn out new articles every day, week, or even month. However, it is good practice to review your rankings regularly and review the SERP for your most vital keywords to ensure your content isn’t falling behind.
If you are losing rankings, it could be due to aging content. You can confirm by checking the search engine results for that keyword. If newer pieces are ranking at the top, conduct research on those pieces to see if there is any way to beef up your page or article. Updating your content and publishing it with a new date can help you win back your rankings.
Be proactive. You don’t need to wait until you lose rankings to update your content. Both Google Analytics and Google Search Console help you understand what pieces of content are driving the most traffic to your site. Make sure to update that content periodically with the newest information to preserve your rankings and traffic.
Fresh content does matter to Google. However, you don’t need to write new articles every day to rank for your target keywords or keep your rankings. Track your rankings and update those articles that lose rank due to aging. Freshening up old content periodically can help you stay ahead of the game and avoid traffic losses.
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