Google has long favored unique content, even going so far as to punish sites that publish duplicate content. But with its recent “freshness” update, Google is beginning to focus on content it considers fresh, or of interest to users on the internet. Luckily, this recent change to its algorithm provides a few advantages to dedicated bloggers and social media junkies. Because Google is putting more weight on the popularity of Tweets, blog posts and other online content, the search engine giant has created more incentive for SEOs to focus on delivering content their users want to see.
Find Out What Your Users Want, Then Update Your Blog
Taking advantage of Google’s freshness update requires two things: a knowledge of your audience, and creating content your audience will care about. Because Google is treating user interest in content as a signal for search results, your goal is to create compelling content that your users will reshare. This can be a bit of a nebulous idea, but take a look at what’s been popular with your audience in the past. Look through your Analytics data for spikes in traffic. What is it about these posts or sources that made them so compelling? By producing more content people find interesting, you’ll build your user base and improve your search rankings.
Build Your Social Media Presence
Social media sites have been popular for a long time, but Google has just started looking at social signals when determining search rankings in the last couple of years. Google’s freshness update is only going to add more weight to this importance. What more incentive do you need to take the time to develop a thoughtful, fun and engaging social media strategy? Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet for an effective social media strategy. Every market is different, and while a Facebook contest may work well for one company, a similar contest may prove dismal for your brand. Developing an effective social media campaign takes considerable time and effort, but the freshness update makes social media more important than ever.
Social media provides a couple of benefits to websites: a popular platform for delivering content, and a means for interacting with users. Social media shouldn’t be simply treated as a method for holding contests and delivering advertisements. Use your social media accounts to interact with your audience and share interesting links, too. I’m not saying don’t use Twitter to advertise giveaways and specials, but be aware that you’re speaking to actual human users, and take what your audience wants to see into account.
Don’t Forget to Update Your Website
Regularly updating your website is another way for your content to appear fresher to Google. Large changes to body copy is seen as fresher than changing a single sentence or making a handful of small edits, but completely overhauling a website’s body copy every week simply isn’t viable. However, every website can rely on regular news updates, a company blog or social media activity to improve its freshness rating. Making regular updates has another benefit, as well. Google will crawl your site more often, which means your content will get indexed more quickly and become easier for users to find when searching.
This update won’t affect all types of searches, but will have an impact on search terms that are related to recent events, or regularly occurring, or otherwise frequently updated. The key to using Google’s freshness update to boost your own SEO is finding a way to relate this kind of content to your site. Blogging and social media updates are two great ways of doing this, but shouldn’t be seen as the only way of capitalizing on Google’s freshness update. The idea is to create quality content that your audience, clients or users will care about enough to retweet, reblog and share with others.