Search engine optimization – frequency of content updates

by Anthony on May 17, 2006

Had a little discussion in the office today, regarding SEO. We came up with this shortlist:

  • Frequency of content updates
  • Incoming Links
  • On-page factors
  • Trusted domain

There’s more, obviously. But these are the major factors affecting search engine placement. Lets discuss in more detail. This is post number one of a four-part series, in which I’ll go over these four tips.

Frequency of content updates

Its a general rule of thumb that the more often content is updated, the better. This is the major reason blogs tend to score so well – the engine will recognize that content on the web is often time-sensitive, and that the most recent information tends to be the most relevant. This doesn’t apply to all fields, of course.

For example, an article on the difference between cow species won’t be using any information uncovered in recent times, and thats not likely to change anytime soon.

So how can you apply this to your site to get improved rankings?

Running a blog on your site can be advantageous. Its easy to update, thus hopefully you get content more frequently. (Whether the blog is on your homepage like http://www.tailored.com.au is a whole other debate). I’d suggest a blog somewhere on the site (with priority placement, so the search engines realise it is important and check it over frequently), with short posts (say 300 words max?) that summarise a few key points, then link off to an article that covers the topic in more depth.

The article could be a brand new one, or could be an old one. You could also do what I’m doing here, and have a !more tag, so that most of the entry is only shown when you click to ‘read on’. With wordpress, this essentially creates a new page for my post (the article), and just shows a snippet on the homepage. This also reduces my chances of dupe-content penalties. (Another reason I don’t like blogger – if you write a large article as a post with blogger, it will be published to the Homepage, to the Archives, and to the Individual page – which one will google class as the ‘original’? Its anyone’s guess.)

The idea is that you recycle old content. Take that article from last year, change a few sentences, add an article, then write another blog post linking to it. The engine already knows its there, hopefully – but this would reset the clock, pointing out to the engine that “yes, this information is still relevant and exciting.”

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