The How’s and Why’s of SEO Content
While it’s true that many websites have rocking evergreen content, the majority of them don’t, which is why content auditing of old and new content is vital for the survival of any website. Should old content be improved? How should fresh content look, given the changes in Google’s focus to user-centeredness?
As a business owner, if you take the right steps at this point in time, your website can begin ranking better for the keywords that you want such as Long Island SEO if you were an SEO Company like SEOExplode.com. If not, it they probably will stay where they are – and that’s not ideal.
Websites should never be static, because if people are engaging with your content and your brand, your website should steadily move upward in terms of relevance.
It has been proven time and time again that high and consistent engagement can increase the rankings of pages, even without backlinks (and this is a huge issue in the SEO industry).
What’s the deal with evergreen and fresh content?
There has been a lot of discussion about which type of content is more important: older, but evergreen content, or fresher content? The answer is: both of them are equally important, because they serve different purposes.
Longer, evergreen content usually have the function of ‘instructibles,’ so as long as the information on the page stays current and people still read it, the page will continue surfacing on Google because the content is still relevant to people. On the other hand, there are times that people need fresher information, like when they are looking for news.
You will notice that Google indexes websites super fast, and they can return results that are only a few minutes old.
These high quality search results are usually from trusted websites that provide current information on trending topics. Like social media search engines on Twitter and Facebook, Google also pays attention to trends in information, and sudden spikes in the volume of searches for particular topics.
When this happens, the fresher information take the fore, and older posts are relegated to the second page and beyond. The reason for this is that Google believes that fresher posts will provide the best updates for trending topics than yesterday’s news.
This is also the reason why many news websites split stories to three, four, or even five parts depending on how hot the topic is, and how interesting the story is.
We recommend that you rely only on fresher content if you have something immediate to offer readers. But then again, if Google doesn’t accredit your website as a legitimate source of news, then your posts will not appear under the News tab at all.
What does Google want from websites, content-wise?
After the Panda Update, Google began hunkering down to make search results more organized and relevant to people who were looking for high quality results.
Much of the pressure to improve Google’s search algorithms came from users themselves who complained of thin content and just flat out bad websites that provided little or no value to people who visited them.
Google didn’t want the trend to continue, which is why it came up with more than one hundred signals that helped rank and grade the relevance of websites and pages to search queries.
The algorithm represents the totality of the different ranking systems that Google uses. It’s not just ‘one algorithm-‘ it’s a huge interlinking set of systems that uses both machine learning and AI to make sense of content.
The search landscape this year is incomparable to the search landscape a decade ago, when keyword spammers and content farms were actually making a lot of money producing cheap content that offered little or no value.
Today, the trend of content production continues to exist, but Google is well aware that some websites have still not learned their lesson. According to Matt Cutts, what they do to these websites that are still publishing thin content is that they are penalized and this prevents these websites from making money off of the Web.
It’s a fair scenario if you think about it, because Google holds no obligation to serve any one website from its organic results. Basically, websites have to start proving themselves to their users through the content that they put out there.
What kind of content creates the best results?
In the last three years, we have observed that the longer content pieces are now being ranked more than shorter content. Of course, there will still be content that is fewer than half a thousand words, or even less.
But for the most part, you stand to get better engagement and organic backlinks if the content that you are offering is comprehensive, in-depth, and offers a lot of information to your readers.
This is why it’s so important for websites to have an organized content structure and calendar. The content structure has to support the cornerstone articles, or the longer, and most important pieces of content on the site. You will notice cornerstone articles when they are longer than usual and they have a lot of multimedia like videos and infographics to back up the text.
Once the seminal articles are up, the website must then support the continuous indexing of the website through the publication of supporting articles that build the website’s relevance for a particular context. Because Google doesn’t just take note of words, it takes note of the meanings and contexts of what the website is trying to give to the users.
Google’s current LSI ensures that when you search for “nike for men,” you are going to see the Nike official website or the top retailers for your country, and not the Wikipedia page for the company. See the difference? Google didn’t arrive with these results overnight.
The search engine’s algorithm is in a constant state of flux because they are still refining how to provide the best results with an AI that is still pretty much in its infancy (and Google admits that their AI is still being developed to adapt to the many changes of Web culture).
What’s the next step?
If you want to succeed with content, you need to learn how to audit what you already have. Start with your existing pages, your blog, and other components of your website. Use tools like Screamingfrog and Deepcrawl to take stock of all the pages and content that you have, and then move on to the auditing process.
The auditing process should focus on finding out if your HTML data are optimized, and if your URLs make sense at all to what you were trying to accomplish in the first place. You can also take a look at the producers of the content (for authoritativeness) as well as the age of the content.
Do you have extremely old pages that your website no longer needs? You can get rid of them, or redirect them, but only if you have fresh and relevant content to redirect to.
Like we said earlier, word counts can vary, but to be on the safe side, all new content should be as comprehensive as possible, even if that changes from topic to topic.