What you need to know about content freshness PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 08 July 2010 15:44

The term content freshness is shrouded in mystery

It is always not only advisable but advantageous also to keep your eyes and ears open as to what is happening in the SEO world. What is most crucial is that one should be able to make sense out of Google’s newest stipulations, policies, or guidelines. Unfortunately, what is at the helm of affairs when it comes to Google’s ways of rankings and delivering search results is always subject to interpretation, analysis and judgment which may or may not be necessarily right. Worse still, there is no way out but keep on experimenting and exploring.

 

Google’s advocacy of content freshness is one of such domains where much is pretty explicit, and much more is, sadly, pretty implicit or vague. Content freshness, as the name suggests, is something opposed to old, stale, obsolete content on the website and calls for latest, meaningful, regularly updated content. On the face value, it seems to be nice thing to happen to web sites, but indeed vagueness sets in the picture to understand how Goolge evaluates or rewards it, and whether it is really worthwhile to go for content freshness -- most important of all, in what ways. Let’s understand its hits and flips sides.

• Google’s methodology to determine the freshness of a page is based on “last-modified-since” feature, which itself is prone to inaccurate results.

• Google still needs to have some reliable mechanism to figure out the originality or the source of content on the web pages, if content freshness is at all a key consideration.

• Google’s penalty for duplicate content/content scrapping evades many; whosoever is penalized is not hard hit. Although the websites disappear, or drop off the rankings, they seem to exist in the database and resurface as if nothing has happened. Google’s much talked about Removal Tool probably needs a review.

• Remember that above mentioned points do not negate the importance of content freshness provided it is done in the right manner. For this it is quite essential to know what it amounts to content freshness, and to know how it works better.

Let’s proceed.

Understanding content freshness

Content freshness will be a fabulous thing to happen to web sites as it seems to be beneficial for the users because they will continually get an opportunity to have a look at information that might be useful for them, and web sites are expected to derive mileage in the search rankings. But things could get worse where the nature of web pages does not support much scope for change or updation.

To validate my point, here are a few examples: web pages dealing with specific government policies, select scientific discoveries, known historical accounts, company policies, vision statements, etc., because they are to be there unless amended or modified. Some of them have minimal chances of modification like proved scientific theories, or unknown body of knowledge unless otherwise radical things take place.

So, what about the concept or practice of content freshness in such cases? You can well conclude that content freshness which implies change of content is not applicable in these instances. Definitely, you got it right, and what you need to realize is the fact that content freshness is not confined to simply change of content, but encompasses a whole lot of things. At this stage, you should be able to distinguish between content change and content freshness.

To elaborate it a bit more, content freshness is more related to content relevancy rather than mindless change of copy of web pages. It can be pretty difficult to digest the fact that you can make your web site fresh without altering its existing content all the time.

Changing your content drastically may misfire
Mind your moves if you are going for a massive content revamp. It is not at all about benefiting your webpages with regard to rankings, but of course, it is strewn with risk. If you wish to undertake content revamp on a large scale -- but in search engine friendly way -- it has to happen over a stable period of time.

Your apparent inability to do so will make search engines, especially Google think that there has been a change of ownership of the web site, and therefore, things like score, anchor text or the like are no longer valid. The situation is more acute wherein web site tends to talk on different themes as against the previous with fairly good chances of loss of placement ranks.

But the most dreaded consequence could be a possible Sandbox phenomenon. You are right if you raise this question why your web site would be trapped in Sandbox when this phenomenon is meant for newbies. Probably you are overlooking the fact that a sudden content revamp or a drastic change of content in one shot is likely to make Google think that yours is a new web site

So, get your fundamentals brushed up first before you are fundamentally hurt!

Content freshness does not necessarily mean change of content

As discussed in the previous pages, content freshness can also happen even though nothing is changed in the copy of web pages per se. Content freshness is mistakenly believed to be the same as content change, but as a matter of fact, it entails a lot more things beyond this.

Let’s have a cursory look at it:

• It can involve structural or format changes

• It also bears relation to the change/updating of anchor text.

• It can be related to the change of keywords, keyword frequency or keyword density

• Content freshness not only means change of content of a particular web page, but also the frequency of changes all over the web site

• The presence of duplicate content. It negates the efforts at freshness

• Most importantly, the change (addition) of incoming/ outgoing links; consideration on the aspects like where they come from, where they go to, what they have to say about you, and how believable they are

Conclusions
If you will spare some time to see beyond the complexities of content freshness, you will, for sure, realize that keeping your web site fresh is indeed very much worth the efforts. And you can go for content freshness of your web site, not necessarily by changing the existing content – but definitely by adding value to the end users. In short, content freshness is more about reliability, relevancy, and honesty.

Last Updated ( Friday, 26 November 2010 09:27 )
 

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