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Google Wants to Know: Just How Fresh Is Your Content?

by Shari Finnell

Let’s just consider this blog Part Two of my last post, “Think Like a Journalist.”

Here’s why. Google recently announced an algorithm update that should have you seriously thinking about restructuring your company’s content production strategy. You should be approaching it much in the same an online news team would map out a plan for producing articles on a daily basis.

In announcing the update last week, Google described it as an extension of Caffeine — a complex web indexing system it introduced in 2010. This time around, Google is further bumping up its ability to crawl and index the Internet for what it describes as fresh content. Think of this latest algorithm update as Espresso … more potent than the original rollout.

Google’s team says the latest update will significantly improve the “freshness” ranking algorithm, which currently impacts about 35 percent of searches conducted on the search.

Developing a “fresh” content production strategy

In moving forward with your new content strategy, keep in mind that you already should have a good amount of relevant quality content on your website. It’s the foundation of a robust SEO strategy. While factors like proper coding, keyword density and strategic linking are important, content continues to rank as the most essential ingredient in attracting the attention of search engines and, ultimately, users. If you want search engines to return your site at a higher ranking than that of your competitors, invest the time and resources to assess and update your content strategy.

Consider these 3 steps in revamping your content production strategy:

1. Perform a content audit of your site.

Familiarity can be your worst enemy in assessing where your content is falling short. Here at Slingshot SEO, we have come across a significant number of clients with an adequate amount of content on their sites but woefully inadequate from an SEO perspective. In a few glaring cases, the keywords clients were trying to optimize were nowhere to be found on their landing pages. As part of your audit, assess how adequately you are describing your products and services. Just because you and your staff are familiar with them, doesn’t mean your audience has the same depth of knowledge. Have several internal and external people critique the site, focusing on content—which can include product and service descriptions, landing page written content, images and video. One of the key questions you should be asking is “How thorough are we in providing our users with engaging information relevant to our product and/or services?”

2.Dedicate a team to stay abreast of current news in your company and industry.

Boost your SEO rankings by staying atop of new developments with your products and/or services. As Google indicated in its latest announcement, the fresh factor — if it makes a difference in your industry — can boost your degree of relevancy among search engine results. For instance, if you have an online site that features digital camera equipment, you should regularly update your site with the latest products on the market, describing the features in detail. Likewise, a blog reviewing the pros and cons of new Canon camera can send a signal that your content is more relevant than content written about last year’s model. Google knows that users in the market for digital cameras this holiday season will be searching for the latest models.

3. Diversify your content.

Don’t limit your content production to site updates and blogs. Take advantage of SEO-friendly press releases, videos, infographics, images and social sites like Facebook. Regularly assess opportunities to issue online press releases about newsworthy events in your company or industry. It’s a matter of staying attuned to what’s “new” at your company and crafting a message to be distributed online through a news distribution service like Marketwire or PRNewswire. In the same manner, gauge opportunities for material that could be developed into infographics, video tutorials or promotions on sites like Facebook.

With a content production strategy that’s focused on engaging, relevant and fresh content, you’re setting the foundation for a site that will continue to gain the attention of ever-evolving search engines.

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