Freshness Factor: We Updated 6 Blogs and Here’s What Happened

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Building a site’s SEO and organic traffic isn’t just about creating new optimized blog posts and pages, although a content strategy is a critical piece to the puzzle. By updating existing pages on your site and reoptimizing them, you’re staying relevant and competitive against competitor content, too.

What is the Freshness Factor?

Essentially, search engines like Google will prioritize the most up-to-date, valuable information for users. Over time, more competitors enter the picture and information becomes outdated. Therefore, ensuring your top performing content maintains its “freshness factor” will also keep it ranking high in search engines.

freshness factor

The Issue:

Several valuable blogs from different Markitors’ clients were starting to lose their high ranking positions in search engines for target keywords. As a result, these large channels of traffic were slowing down, hurting the site’s overall organic visits. With less traffic, leads and sales could also be affected.

What We Did:

Markitors put the freshness factor to the test and created plans to update declining content.

So, how did we choose which pages to update?

We used a tweaked version of the Ahrefs Content Audit along with organic traffic data from Google Search Console and Analytics. By looking at significant drops in traffic and keyword rankings over time, for example, we get a good idea of which blogs have historically done well with recent decreases in traffic.

Here are some factors that told us it was time for an update:

1. Outdated year

Including a year in the title (i.e. “Best 100 SEO Tools of 2018“) is great for higher click-through-rates, but the second the new year comes around, it becomes instantly dated. You should also update any sources from annual list awards, such as a news channel’s “Best XYZ” list that you reference.

2. Outdated information

Information about your company, the industry, or your customer base are prone to change. To best serve your readers and provide them with quality content, you’ll have to reflect these changes in content as well.

3. Broken links and missing multimedia

Both inbound and outbound links that lead to 404 or redirected pages may harm your page’s overall performance. Neither Google nor users like to interact with a page that has broken links. This also includes broken embedded videos and missing images!

4. Competitor content got better

Keyword search volume fluctuates over time, new keywords and buzzwords emerge, and perspectives on issues evolve too. While your content may be the top dog for a minute, a competitor’s content can easily replicate your success and even expand on it with more modern insights.

5. Need to go deeper into the topic

This also falls into the “competitor” bucket a bit, but relies more on being able to delve into the topic at hand deeper. While content marketers used to get away with having several fluffy pieces of content each targeting single keyword, Google has since developed a more sophisticated palette for longer, more comprehensive content.

Basically, the more you cover on a topic (the more value you provide readers), the higher importance Google will place on that page.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say back in the SEO Stone Age, your strategy included 10 blogs, each targeting a single keyword variation of “how does an enterprise resource planning system work”. Different versions of the keyword could have been “what is an erp system”, “what is erp software”, “what does erp stand for”, and so on. While users are indeed searching all these different variations, covering all that information in a single comprehensive piece of content is more valuable for each user. That’s because you don’t just get a single question answered. You receive a whole wealth of information related to your query that you may have just Googled next.

That’s the kind of value that the Google of today likes to see.

The Result:

*All screenshots show Organic Traffic for the particular page.

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  • Analyzed competition to see who stole away the featured snippet
  • Improved content based off competition
  • Updated any outdated information
  • Updated featured image to look more modern

Result: 34% increase in organic traffic (comparing period after update to period before)

**Note: We coupled this update a few weeks later with a content audit that removed 60+ pages of stale content from the site.

Choosing a Subway Tile Kitchen Backsplash

  • Identified additional keywords under the same topic that hadn’t been incorporated
  • Added additional content to the page to cover the topic more comprehensively

Results: We updated this blog only a few months after publication. Most of its biggest traffic-driving keywords are now related to the ones we went back in to add in the update.

Second Interview Questions You Can Expect

  • Increased word count
  • Updated internal links
  • Updated featured image to look more modern
  • Provided more comprehensive information

Result: 957% increase in organic traffic (comparing period after update to period before)

Best Places to Find a Job in 2018

  • Updated information from 2018 to 2019
  • Updated source to be 2019 version
  • Reoptimized for more relevant keyword

Result: 99% increase in organic traffic (comparing period after update to period before)

Is Phoenix a Good Place to Find a Job?

  • Updated information from 2018 to 2019
  • Updated source to be 2019 version
  • Reoptimized for more relevant keyword
  • Changed meta title and description

Result: 1,050% increase in organic traffic (comparing period after update to period before)

Best Coffee Shops in Phoenix

  • Updated broken links
  • Updated information
  • Included images to make the blog more engaging
  • Elaborated on information where helpful

Result: 185% increase in organic traffic (comparing period after update to period before)

For more information, please contact us. Learn more about our SEO services, digital PR, technical SEO and social media marketing services.

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