Ever since Google officially announced its ‘Freshness Update’ back in November, 2011, content freshness has been in the limelight within and beyond the content marketing industry. The Freshness Update was basically a change or update in Google’s ranking algorithm that began to focus on providing its searchers with fresher or more recent search results. Fresher content including current events, hot topics and recurring events have been getting ranked higher right since the update. A fresh and newly published web page nowadays stands a higher chance of getting ranked over pages that have been published earlier.
Today, all webmasters and content marketers understand it really well that Google bots like to see fresh content on the pages they crawl and index.
In this post, we will learn in detail how this content freshness adds value to your Google ranking strategy. We will also learn about another important ranking factor – Content Syndication along the way.
Let’s now dig deeper to learn and understand this ‘content freshness’ thing in detail.
So, yes, the term freshness refers to newness, which means the content has to be recently published in order to be liked by Google for ranking more than content that is published earlier, but there’s a catch – Not all kinds of newly published content units or posts can outrank their older counterparts. Although date of publication matters in case of web pages showing current events or news related articles, web pages with general information or basic educative articles cannot be ranked only on the basis of their date of publication.
Here’s an example.
If a blog post title reads something like “Top 5 SEO Ranking Strategies in 2019”, Google will definitely try to bring the most recent web pages right up on the search results. This means the date of content publication matters here.
If a blog title reads “Major Constituents of Human Blood”, date of content publication will have little to no impact on the ranking because a web page with the same old post can still outrank all its newer versions if the page has higher traffic and authority.
So, Google aims to show the most relevant results to its users after studying their search queries. And it’s Google, who determines which search queries are looking for fresh content.
In order to sum up this Content Freshness thing, here are a couple of points you need to know and understand.
• Google gives a ‘freshness score’ to web pages depending on when the content has been published, so yes, you should try to have up-to-date content on your pages that you want to get indexed and ranked. The older the content, the lower can be the score. This means you need to maintain regular updates to your content to keep that freshness score up.
• Links from ‘fresh’ and up-to-date websites or pages to your content can help boost the freshness score of your content. This will also extend the relevance of your content and the chance of getting ranked higher. The more the links, the merrier!
• The newest post cannot always be the most relevant search result in Google’s eyes. Old posts with value, traffic, authority, popularity, proper in-depth information and low bounce-rate can still rank higher than new posts. But yes, in case of pages publishing news or current events the date of content publication can play a role.
Let’s now discuss about Content Syndication, a popular tactic to copy and re-publish a piece of content that has already been published earlier on a webpage.
With the hopes of keeping the content freshness score high many content marketers try and steal some high-ranked and popular pieces of content from other websites and post those onto their own site. They also use this content syndication tactic within their own website reposting a piece of content on a page that was posted on another page at an earlier date.
However, to their absolute sorrow and failure, content syndication tactic doesn’t work the way they think it does. When Google bots see the identical content on multiple pages, they index and rank only one page that has high traffic and authority.
Therefore, if you are copying or syndicating content from pages that have higher authority and traffic than yours, stop that today. You are going to be the loser, and your organic traffic will get reduced.
Content syndication, if done the right way, can however bring something to you.
Here’s how you should use content syndication to your benefit:
Make a plan. Well, the first step is to set a target audience and create high-quality content for them.
Find suitable syndication partners. Finding your potential syndication partners can be easy and at the same time hard, but if your content has the power to win, you will definitely find many syndication partners that will be interested in your content.
Choose sites that are bigger. By bigger I mean higher in rank and traffic. Also, they must have the same target audience as you have.
Research the best way to syndicate. You might want to syndicate the entire blog post or only part of it such as the topic headline. Ask for a link back to your website or a special credit to you as the original content creator, so it can drive a certain portion of their site visitors to your website. If your syndication partner agrees, you can put call-to-action to increase the conversion chances.
Set up a 301 redirect. If you have syndicated content on multiple pages within your own site, set up a 301 redirect to request Google to index the right page.
Use a meta noindex tag or a rel=canonical tag. This is also used to let Google know the original content.
Content syndication is not bad if done the right way. But if you steal and republish someone else’s content without their permission, then that is wrong.