You’ve heard it time and again when learning ways to increase your website’s SEO: Fresh content equals higher rankings. However, you may have wondered if this was true and if so, how much of a boost would you expect to see. Researchers have experimented with content posting dates to see what the effects of more recent dates have had on SEO. Let’s take a look at some of their findings and what it can mean for your website traffic.
In the experiments, SEO investigators looked at whether changing the posting dates – but not any of the content – on several blog posts for a particular website would lead to the site being ranked higher in the search engine results page (SERP). The blog posts themselves were ones that had not received a lot of interest or organic traffic with their original dates.
In the end, the results indicated that although organic traffic for the blog posts went up when they looked as though they were newer, the number of page clicks or keyword rankings did not change. The website was listed no higher in the SERPs based on search words than it had been before the blog dates were altered.
The results do not mean that having fresh content on your website can be a lower priority. They just indicate that faking freshness is not beneficial. The algorithms won’t be fooled into thinking your website is full of new information just because there’s a new date label on a blog post.
The better approach is to create real content with new information. After all, site visitors don’t want to read articles that are months old if they can get fresher information that adds to their base of knowledge. By taking the time to update the content on your website with articles, photos, and other elements that affect visitor engagement, you can be much more likely to attract quality visitors.
Anyone familiar with the rules of website content know that photos resonate more with visitors than text and that constant site updates can lead to more potential customers. After all, there is no reason for site guests to bookmark your page or visit again in the future if there is nothing new to learn there. You should update your content because that’s what your customers expect, not because it will help you move up in the SERPs.
In you want to run your own experiment, start updating the elements of your website on a regular basis. Put up new blog posts three times per week and upload new testimonials from current clients. Post photos of new products or your team at work. Track your number of page views and instances of customer engagement to see if there is a tangible difference for your site.
In the end, we’ve learned that you can fake having new content on your website, but why? It’s not a good use of SEO efforts because it won’t help your page rankings as much as you think. Instead, give your visitors the fresh and interesting content they are seeking.