Website Content Maintenance: Fresh, Frequent & Fashionable
Fresh, relevant website content increases targeted traffic naturally.
Who wants a stale, 3-day old bagel for breakfast when there are fresh ones coming out of the bakery just this morning? Your local café is serving them up with a variety of your favorite toppings – daily, and that’s why you go there.
Stop to consider the stale content that has been sitting on your website since it was launched. Are you one of those business owners who launched a nice new site, complete with your first 2 or 3 blog posts, then moved on? If your most recent blog post or content update is dated, say February, 2014, your site is stale and probably getting very little attention from your target audience. Your site basically died last year if that’s the case. What has your company been doing for all this time? What about your social pages? What exactly is your online presence saying about the relevancy of your company within its industry – today?
Consumers as well as business people have insatiable appetites for new information that can help or entertain them. Hunger for knowledge needs to be satisfied frequently. Stale websites, like stale bagels, just don’t attract customers hungry for a fresh serving of something good. When returning visitors come to your website, looking for what’s new and find exactly the same content as their last visit, you’ve just given them permission, if not encouragement, to visit your competition’s websites. They’ll visit your competitors to find out what’s new in your market!
Make your website the authoritative source!
To be a leader in your market, or the thought leader in your industry, your website needs to reflect your genuine professionalism. Our slogan applies here: “Keep your website as professional as you are!” A big part of website professionalism is publishing industry-leading information – regularly and often enough. Google and other search engines rank your website based on how often you update your content as well as the quality of content in your updates & posts.
Matt Richardson, writing for Formstack, explains how search engines like Google work. “Search engines send “spiders” or “bots” around the web to “crawl” sites’ contents and follow their links, noting any changes along the way. These spiders come around on a schedule. If your site gets crawled, say, once a week and they notice a consistent change ever time, they’ll return more often. Hot, frequently updated sites like big news sites will get crawled multiple times per hour. If they don’t see changes after repeat visits, your site appears inactive and they’ll come around less often.” Here’s a real kicker: “If you aspire to show up in searches for the latest trends, but haven’t been updating or blogging consistently, your rankings may lag behind by up to several weeks. This is one reason why blogs are so important for SEO. Blogs let you post a regular stream of content relevant to your topic and search terms.”
Because blogs are the most common way organizations keep their audiences informed on a frequent basis, Google has been steadily adding weight to blog content. They’ve designed their sophisticated algorithms to find web searchers’ information based on the contextual, situational and relational quality of the content.
In simple terms, Google wants to serve up fresh and valuable content to its searchers. Out of date content is irrelevant, and because it’s easily detected, Google will screen it from top search results. It’s easy to understand why quality of content is important. Now you know why frequency of updates is just as crucial to a visible and high performing website.
Blog and news pages are your social share points!
When people find links to your website content in social shares and then click them, it tells Google and the other search engines that your site is attracting attention and this validates referral traffic. Social referrals are a strong indication of being an authoritative resource – people are willing to refer friends and business associates to your blog article or website because it proved to be valuable for them.
The search engines index social media content on popular social platforms, like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Google, in particular, has made it very clear that they’re giving more weight to social media signals, both from your company’s own social media pages and other accounts which are interacting with your brand and linking to your site.
Social media are great places to engage and introduce your brand to new people, but from there you need a way to “leave the party together.” Your website is the best place online for a more “intimate” relationship. Posting valuable information to your blog gives you a place to which you can readily invite visitors – a place where you control the message and conversation. Your blog is a great platform to share videos as well as written articles. A blog is also a great enabler for the content marketer. It provides you and ideal mechanism to publish content worth sharing socially. You can keep it fresh, relevant and entertaining to your specific audience.
Frequency is your friend.
Now the question becomes, how often should you post new content? Matt Richardson offers broad and general guidance. “It’s hard to prescribe an exact formula and depends in which medium you’re posting – on your site, on your blog, or on your social media profiles. For blogs and website updates, generally once a month or more can be adequate for a small business, unless you’re expected to always keep up with the bleeding edge news…” In reality, many small businesses have increased blogging frequency to weekly or semi-weekly with positive results and no complaints from followers.
Your SEO Consultant or Website Maintenance Provider should be able to provide further guidance based on your unique situation. Consult with them or Parker Web Services to get recommendations on frequency of website/blog updates as well as what kinds of content to post.
For most businesses, Social Media pages should be updated every week, just to maintain a presence in your customers’ minds. Depending on the pace of your industry’s trends and technology advance, posting daily on social pages is generally fine. Multiple times per day could be overbearing and make some people stop following you. Twitter, however, thrives on frequent activity, so most experts recommend posting every day or even several times per day there.
Plan ahead with an Editorial Calendar.
As a way of concluding, we’ll leave you with the best single piece of advice we have for keeping your website alive with fresh, interactive content: Create and maintain an Editorial Calendar.
The three most basic steps involved in setting up your content editorial calendar are:
- Understand why you’re doing content marketing and how you’ll be successful at it.
- Plan the content you’ll create and how you will distribute it. Is your business seasonal, or affected by certain dates and holidays? Take all that into account in scheduling content updates.
- Execute your plan using the content marketing editorial calendar, strictly adhering to the scheduled dates to publish and share your content. Be ready to adjust content based on market priorities and new events.
How exactly your editorial calendar will look depends on the type of business you’re in. To get started, you can easily download a free Content Editorial Calendar Excel template from Vertical Measures.
Planning content updates in advance and building a library or articles, videos and third party materials keeps you disciplined, on track and on schedule. If you need help understanding the essentials of an editorial calendar, Content Marketing Institute offers a Content Marketer’s Checklist: Editorial Calendar Essentials.
You can always feel free to call us at Parker Web Services if you have any questions about maintaining fresh, searchable content on your website, at 1-877-321-2251.