If you haven’t heard about Google’s “Freshness Update” by now, I’m sure you’ll be hearing about it much more. The short story is that Google is now “Giving you fresher, more recent search results.“. Marketing Pilgrim took a look at this update as well. So what’s next?
Well, “new” content is now ranking higher for many searches.
Looking around at various search results across the board, some of the results are astounding. As Rand Fishkin pointed out, a Google query for “Top Chef Texas” is almost entirely composed of content that is just days old. Changing the number of results to 100 doesn’t help much, either.
So how do you leverage this? What can you do to try and ensure that you have a shot at “fresh” rankings?
The solution comes down to having new content. But if you’re selling something like iPads that don’t change often, how do you ensure that you have “fresh” content about iPads? Sure, you could write blog content every couple of days, but, really, what are you going to write about 100 times a year?
Here, I’m going to show you a few different options that you might not have considered, plus, I’m going to include links to software comparisons that you can use to get started publishing new, fresh content.
1: Cover Your Bases by Getting into Google News
Judging by the results, it looks like getting into Google News might help push you up to the top block of news results.
Beyond that, though, because the purpose of Google News is to organize and make new information searchable, it makes sense that being in Google News might also get you higher in the following results.
Here is Google’s article on news quality guidelines and technical requirements.
Once you’re all set there, suggest your site to Google News.
2: Use Proper Time-stamps in Your Content
As you begin to look through the “fresh” results, you’ll notice that they’re time-stamped. In other words, a clear publication date is found within the content and Google is displaying this in the search results.
At this Google News support item, they even go so far as to say that if they are unable to determine the publication date of your article, that it qualifies as a “crawl error.”
Here, you’ll see how to create a news timestamp for Google News, but they require that you be included in Google News, first.
This article is helpful, however, as it shows the kind of date format that they prefer, which is YYYY-MM-DD, or “2008-12-23″, for example.
If you don’t think your readers prefer this kind of time stamping, as someone who has written his own programs to extract dates from content, the best thing you can do is to have your date clearly displayed on a single line, preferably beneath the title of the article.
Yes. Blogging. I had to include it.
It’s a technique that, if you’re a frequent reader of marketing blogs like Marketing Pilgrim, is so obvious that I’ll pass on extolling the virtues of blogging. You know what to do here.
Have Your Community Build Content for You
How do you write content every day about iPads? I don’t know, but a community of like-minded folks might be able to figure it out.
Building a community is a logical next step for us at Ontolo that we expect to begin undertaking in 2012. I don’t recommend it for every kind of company, but if you think it might be right for you and your customers, take some time to really think through the best way to set one up. As the old adage goes, “What you stick with, you get stuck with.”
4: Add Forums
Forums…the original social network. The benefits are the fluid conversations that happen. The downsides are that forums require a fair amount of work to be managed. Choose this option carefully.
5: Add Question and Answers Section
Yahoo! Answers first brought this idea to the mainstream. Quora made it respectable. StackExchange is bringing it to a multitude of technical niches.
6: Add Your Own Social Network
If you think that forums are a big undertaking, try setting up your own social network. For this to work with “fresh” content, you’ll need to let your users contribute via their own blogs or to a community blog.
7: Add Your Own Social News Section
Sites like Digg and Reddit have pioneered community news curation. News gets posted, voted on, commented on, etc. New content, all day, every day. Will this kind of site get into the “fresh” index? I don’t know, but it can afford you a stream of time-stamped content.
Software: The only software that I’ve seen that’s stood the test of time here is Pligg.
If Google is serious about this bet on fresher content being more relevant to searchers than more perennial resources (and it looks like with many things, they are), then our jobs as SEO’s shifts, too. Not only must we create great content, we’ll also need new content to continue ranking well.
About the Author
Ben Wills has been an SEO and link builder for over 10 years, directing the efforts of more than 1,000 clients. In 2008, he started Ontolo, a suite of web-based link building tools that helps you quickly find more relevant and valuable backlinks.