Content Freshness

‘Content is king’ has long been a web and SEO mantra, but recently the concept is getting a fresh boost, with the great emphasis Google is placing on it in their recent weighing algorithms. Both Google’s Panda and Penguin updates quite heavily reduced the weight of the PageRank metric (Google’s link weighing algorithm) in their overall rankings. Originally this was one of the only signals used.

Out of this new system, a whole bunch of new variables have been introduced to quantify the value of certain content. They range from the somewhat well known to the outright esoteric. The most apparent indicator now seems to be Content Freshness.

With this being a relatively new concept, many website owners are wondering what exactly constitutes ‘freshness’. While not officially defined by Google, it seems inextricably linked to the articles popularity and credibility. Below are some tips on how to achieve and maintain those:

Have an Interesting Title or Subject Matter

The indexing of content comes down to simple user behaviour. The more views an articles has gotten the more fresh it appears.

As such, a lot of these freshness indices involve simple traditional marketing principles. A good title is the first step as this is probably what will get people to read it in the first place. So make it distinct and attention-grabbing.

If possible and applicable, try to pick a subject that it trending or a consistently popular topic of discussion on the internet. Not only will this help people who visit your site notice it but also those searching for specific content online. They may read your article if they stumble across it, if it peaks their interest.

Be Credible

This part is for the the web indexers, as well as browsers. Search engines still don’t have very sophisticated methods of assessing the accuracy and value of content.

Essentially the bots gradually learns to trust content from certain authors who have proved reliable in previous indexing runs. How does one build this trust up to begin with? There are a few methods:

* Cite the sources you used to write the article.
* Only cite your sources to reputable sites that have authority in the subject.
* Never use duplicate or plagiarised content
* Link only with content on reputable sites
* Link individual topics or concepts in your article to related articles on other sites

Be Original and Audience Conscious

This is, after all, who will be reading the article. They’re less likely to read up on a subject they’ve already investigated numerous times before. Make the content and subject matter not only interesting but novel, so that it inspires a certain degree of curiosity.

It’s also important to have a good idea of your target audience. Once you know this you should know what kind of copy they’re expecting. And what level of diction and tone to use in the content. Even amazing content that is seen as inappropriately informal, for example, will risk alienating its readers.

Share Content Widely

Even if you have an established following or the site where your content is being published has very high traffic volumes, it’s important to have diverse methods of propagating this content that doesn’t solely rely on that site.

Social media is an increasingly popular way of doing this.

Sharing the content on your Facebook and Google+ profiles
Publishing the content on a private blog (If seen as logical this won’t be penalised as mirror content)
Using related discussion forums to organically recommend the content to others.

The more users interact with this content on these social networks though: Likes, Retweets, shares, favourites, comments etc. the more popular and therefore, relevant the content seems and will be ranked higher when indexed.

Short term link building strategies are also effective. Sharing valuable content on other sites might result in them citing you in a later article.