Publishing new content on a regular basis, or updating old blog posts, can be beneficial for your website’s ranking in organic search results. However, simply changing the date or frequency of your content, or publishing content that doesn’t make sense, will not be effective.
Google’s algorithms are designed to identify and penalise these types of “hacks,” so it’s important to focus on creating high-quality content that is relevant, informative, and valuable to your audience. By regularly publishing fresh, well-written content, you’ll be able to improve your website’s ranking in search results and attract more organic traffic.
To maximise the benefits of publishing new content, it’s important to ensure that your content is well-researched, well-written, and well-optimised for search engines. This means using relevant keywords, including internal and external links and other technical elements.
What Is Content Freshness?
Content freshness refers to the timeliness and relevance of a website’s content, as it relates to a user’s search query. In 2017, Google introduced a major algorithm update that placed a greater emphasis on content freshness, using time as a relevance indicator to make search results more relevant to a user’s intent. This meant that Google would preferentially display content that was trending, frequently updated, or entirely new, rather than content that hadn’t changed in years.
However, this doesn’t mean that Google always favors new content over old content. The relevance of a user’s search query is still the primary factor in determining which results are shown. This has led to the use of various “hacks” that aim to manipulate the system, such as updating the publication date of old content without making any other changes. However, these tactics are easily detected by Google’s algorithms and can actually harm a website’s ranking.
Content freshness is an important factor in determining a website’s ranking in search results, but it’s not the only factor. To improve your ranking, it’s important to focus on creating high-quality, useful content that is kept regularly up to date and provides value to your audience.
Freshness Versus Frequency
There is often confusion around the difference between freshness and frequency in relation to content publishing. Frequency refers to how often you publish new content, while freshness refers to the date that content was originally published.
Increasing the frequency of your content publishing can help your website get crawled more often by search engines, as they want to see what has changed on your site. However, this does not necessarily improve your ranking in search results. In fact, frequency is not a ranking factor at all, while freshness is. This was confirmed by John Mueller, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, in a tweet in 2018.
So, while posting content frequently can help your website get indexed faster, it won’t necessarily improve your ranking. What is important is the freshness of your content, and how up-to-date it is. By regularly publishing high-quality, relevant content that is timely and valuable to your audience, you can improve your website’s ranking in search results.
How Does Google Determine Publication Date?
When determining the publication date of a piece of content, Google looks at a variety of factors, including the date that the article says it was published and the structure of markup on the page. However, these factors can be manipulated or may not always provide accurate information.
In cases where a publisher does not provide a clear date for their content, or the structured data on the page is missing or incorrect, Google may use other signals to determine the publication date. According to Google, they will only consider a piece of content to be updated if they determine that it has been “substantially changed.” This means that simply updating the publication date without making any other changes to the content is unlikely to improve its ranking in search results.
In summary, while the date an article was published and the structure markup on the page are important factors for determining content freshness, they are not the only factors that Google considers. To improve your article’s ranking in search results, it’s important to focus on creating high-quality, relevant content that is regularly updated and provides value to your audience.
Does The Publishing Date Matter?
The publication date of a piece of content can be an important factor in determining its ranking in search results. Generally, Google will preferentially display newer content over older content, unless the older content is more relevant to the user’s search query. However, you may still see older content outranking newer content in some cases. This can often be because the older piece is longer, more informative, have developed more authority over time and is more relevant to the search.
In other words, the recency of an article can be a factor in its ranking, but it is not as important as its relevance to the search query. Additionally, Google may give certain topics heavier weightings when it comes to freshness, depending on the nature of the topic and the user’s search intent. For example, news or health advice.
What Type Of Search Queries Does Freshness Apply To?
The relevance of content freshness varies depending on the type of search query that a user enters. For some types of searches, the recency of the information is not as important, and Google may preferentially display older content over newer content. For example, if a user searches for “how to make a desk,” the specific steps for making a desk are unlikely to change over time, so the age of the content is not as important as its relevance to the search. In this case, Google may display older content that is well-written and informative, even if newer content is available.
On the other hand, for other types of search queries, the most up-to-date information is more important, and Google may preferentially display newer content over older content. For example, if a user searches for “who’s at the top of the premier league,” they are likely looking for the most current, up-to-date information on the subject. In this case, Google may display the newest content that is available, even if it is not as detailed or comprehensive as older content.
Overall, the type of search query that a user enters will determine how important the freshness of the content is for determining its ranking in search results. By understanding the user’s intent, Google can provide the most relevant and useful results for their search.
So What Does This All Mean?
In conclusion, while the frequency of your content publishing and the changes to its publication date may not directly impact your website’s ranking in search results, it’s still important to regularly update and maintain your content. By keeping your content up-to-date, you can show Google that your content is relevant and valuable to your audience.
Overall, it’s more important to focus on creating high-quality content that is well-written and informative for your audience. In the long run, this will help improve your website’s ranking in search results and keep your users happy.
Content plays a pivotal role in SEO. If you’d like to learn more about how content affects SEO or any of our other marketing services, then please contact us!