What Google Thinks About Fresh Content

If you’ve read the Google search quality guidelines that were leaked earlier this year, you might have read a section about content freshness.

Sometimes informational search queries might be about recent or past events and Google trains their quality raters to figure out which queries those are. The guidelines also mention that the content of the page is more important than the date on the page, so even if you’re creating fresh content, it has to be relevant, helpful and high quality.

How Google Raters Choose Pages Based on Freshness and Quality

An official site would be considered VITAL, despite its freshness. A recent news article might be considered RELEVANT or USEFUL and a dated article about an annual event would likely be considered SLIGHTLY RELEVANT or USELESS.

Lets say that a searcher is looking for US Open Golf Results. Google is most likely going to show them the PGA page if they have one for that tournament. Then they might show the Wikipedia page and then other recent news articles from trustworthy sites like the NY Times.

Unless you’re a big site, it could be pretty difficult to rank for something as big as the U.S. Open Golf Tournament. Before creating time-relevant content, look at the search results to see who comes up for your terms. For something as competitive as the search queries related to the U.S. Open, you’ll need to create some amazing content, or if you get the jump on an event before other sites do, you might get the coveted RELEVANT designation by quality raters.

Building More Links With Fresh Content

The query examples mentioned in the guidelines that people typically want the most recent results for are elections, sporting events and annual competitions, so keep that in mind when writing content on those topics. I think that it’s important to go back and update posts like this if you can. If its an annual event, make a note in your calendar so that you remember to update it annually.

Regularly updating event pages is also a great way to continue building links to that page. Here’s how.

Say you have a page named http://www.yoursite.com/event-page. When the event comes back around the next year, take the content off of http://www.yoursite.com/event-page and archive it to a new page called http://www.yoursite.com/event-page-2012. Now http://www.yoursite.com/event-page is available for you to add all new content and the page can be promoted all over again. It will maintain the old links from previous promotions and it will get new links from new promotions. You can repeat this every year!

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