In the first week of November 2011 Google announced Fresh, the newest addition to Google’s algorithm updates. This update comes on the heels of Panda updates that hit the web in phases over the summer and early fall of this year.
The purpose of Google Fresh is to deliver more up-to-date and relevant search items on search queries related to recent events, hot topics, current reviews and news items. For example, a search for “Occupy Wall Street” or “Cairo Egypt” would likely be affected by Fresh.
How Were Our Clients Affected By Fresh?
When Google announced this newest algorithm updates they suggested that approximately 35% of all searches would be affected.
It is important to realize that this number is the percentage of search queries affected and not the percentage of websites affected. In general, news and entertainment websites which feature highly searched topics about time sensitive issues will be impacted the most by Fresh.
So far it is still early to tell how Fresh Google algorithm updates are affecting our clients’ performance in the Search Engines.
However, for quite some time we have been encouraging customers to regularly update their existing content and to add new “fresh” content to their sites. In a way, adding new content keeps the Search Engines on their toes and encourages (or “trains”) the spiders to constantly revisit the site to find new content to index. Continually adding fresh content nurtures the expectation that there will be something there to index so the site is worth revisiting.
The recent Panda-Fresh algorithms updates adds a secondary benefit of new content: fresh content, especially news and entertainment phrases that are highly searched and time sensitive, can take priority placement in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
So if adding fresh content is important how can you go about doing this?
Tip #1 – Start Blogging
If you haven’t already you should seriously consider adding a blog to your website. There are multiple reasons to blog and the Fresh algorithms update adds one more: blogs are an easy, user-friendly platform to keep fresh content on your website. Don’t know what to blog about? Consider writing about related news in the industry, recent product releases or frequently asked questions. Remember that a blog is like an editorial; a blog gives you the opportunity to talk about important aspects of your business that would normally be difficult to add into your current website.
Tip #2 – Implement Forums, Comment and Press Release Sections
Forums and comment sections helps develop ongoing conversations on your website and keeps the content fresh beyond the original publish date. They also help generate interest and allow you to develop a deeper relationship with your customers (and perhaps come up with new ideas for improving your products or services!).
An online newsroom helps your customers and prospective customers learn and now, because of Fresh, Google better appreciates the new content Press Releases provide. Organize and optimize your online newsroom so that it feeds Google fresh content on a frequent basis.
Tip #3 – Employ Time-Stamps
Have you noticed how Google uses time data in its search results? For example you often see “8 hours ago” or “18 minutes ago” stamped on results in the SERPs.
Google Fresh algorithms look for a clear publication date on your page in order to display this information to users. In some cases if Google is unable to determine the publication date a crawl error may result.
Tip #4 – Deal with Old Content
Is your website full of old content that may still be useful to visitors? Industry leader Bruce Clay has this to say about dealing with the old content published on your site:
“Over time websites accumulate a lot of older and out-of-date content that is seldom refreshed. In those cases it is best to refresh the content, or to replace the content with a new replacement page and 301 the old content URL to that new content.”
Don’t just assume that the old content on your site must remain stale or that the only way to keep your site updated is to add brand new content. Use the 301 strategy or update stale content to bring it into the present.
Tip #5 – Consider both Quality and Quantity
Mr. Clay also suggests that Fresh appears to give credibility and priority to sites with the most writers. Admittedly, it can be hard to keep up with a site that posts articles by ten different writers when it’s just you writing articles about your area of expertise such as legal advice or land development.
“The one-person company generating perfect content will find it difficult to compete against the company with a team of writers generating good, but not as good of content… the freshness race seems biased by quantity of fresh content instead of the quality of the content.”
Rather than becoming discouraged and feeling as you have been outmatched focus on publishing quality news that remains relative, consistent and frequent. We recommend just doing your best to add content at every opportunity you can get.
For more information on Google algorithm updates and optimizing your website with fresh content please visit our Search Engine Optimization page or contact 1st on the List Promotion:
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