If you’ve spent any time researching SEO strategies, you’ve undoubtedly heard or read that “content is king”. As the search engine’s algorithm continues to align with a human reader’s experience, this statement continues to be increasingly important. Optimizing content for SEO is also very much a dynamic process though and while many people are now focusing on rich content when they build their website, too often the content is neglected after the initial launch. To better understand the importance of dynamic content, let’s analyze how the first page of the SERPs (search engine results page) is determined.
HOW SEARCH ENGINES WORK
In determining which search results to show first, Google is constantly crawling the web and collecting topical, chronological and behavioral information.
Topical information comes from the text on your page, and also from SCHEMA, if you have configured this markup. Your text and SCHEMA tell Google what your page is about, so it can determine for which search queries your page should be returned in the results.
Chronological information comes from the dates on your page. It tells Google how long the page has been around for, as well as when it was last updated. These metrics help Google to determine which pages are the most accurate and up to date.
Behavioral information comes from the data on your page. Data tells Google how many people click on your page, how long they stay on your page, and how often they reference it. This information helps Google determine which pages are deemed to be informative and provide the best experience for viewers.
OPTIMIZING CONTENT FOR THE SERPS
In order for a website to rank on the first page, the content must satisfy all of the above metrics. While it may sound a bit daunting, the metrics do complement and dovetail with each other nicely. If you’ve taken the time to write good, high quality, relevant content for your website, the topical information metric should already be achieved when your site is launched.
The chronological metric is one that many people overlook, thus creating an opportunity to outrank those neglected sites by keeping your website updated with fresh, current content. There are a couple ways to effectively provide fresh content.
The first, and most effective way is by adding a new page or post. In addition to the chronological metric, the number of pages and/or posts is one of the factors that Google contemplates when determining a website’s authority score, therefore the SEO benefits of fresh content via a new page or post are twofold. Additionally, a new page or post also provides an opportunity to optimize for a new keyword or phrase, as well as to potentially add some new internal links. If you do not wish to write your own material, offering a guest blog post can be an excellent alternative, provided that the post is relevant to the subject matter of your website and that the backlinks created are of good quality and not deemed spammy.
The second method for providing fresh content is to simply update an older page or post. While Google does perceive an aged website to have more authority than a brand new website, the opposite holds true with content. When determining which results to show in the SERPs, content that is up to date will be served ahead of content that has an older published or edit date. This latter method does not add to the site’s authority score, but it is a quick and effective solution for those times when writing a new post or page is just not in the cards. If you have a page or post that had ranked well in the past but has dropped over time, updating the edit or publish date and forcing a recrawl of the url will more than likely give it just the boost it needs to rank once again, and with minimal effort.
The behavioral metric is a bit tougher, in that it is only partially in your control. Obviously you cannot control what actions a viewer takes when they click on your page; however, by providing relevant, up to date content and ensuring a positive UI/UX experience on the page, a viewer will certainly be encouraged to stay on your page longer, which will in turn tell Google to rank your page higher in the SERPs for similar search terms. As the SERP position increases, so too should the clicks by viewers and you should be well on your way to organic growth.