How Can Fresh Content Change Your Google Rankings?

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Most SEO blogs religiously tell you to post new content to your site or/and blog. In fact I often say the same thing but does “freshness” really help you get better rankings in Google and other search engines? Well, I have done a few tests and here is what I discovered.

First of all, I do believe in freshness. Many popular and highly ranked blogs have new content posted daily or almost, however their content is also of great quality… most of the time.

This summer I read a blog post by Glen from ViperChill, someone I respect a lot and follow closely in the blogging (and Internet Marketing) community. The blog was about “Freshness” and how Google treats it. Glen mentioned a few examples where people were gaming the system by simply changing the “post date” on their old blog post and they had very high rankings using this “fake freshness”. That post really made me think and I have decided to run my own test, risking one of my own blogs.

content is king

The Old Blog

In early 2011 I registered a domain and started a blog – I have abandoned that blog less than a year later with about 10 posts on it since it was stuck on the 2nd page of Google search results for my main keyword phrase. I could have probably pushed a little harder to get it to the first page but I was concentrating on other projects at the time. The domain was paid for until 2016 so the site remained on the 2nd-3rd page until 2013.

In September 2013 I went back to the blog and edited one single thing on the main post: the date.
The date was changed from April 2011 to September 2013. About 3 weeks later I decided to verify the rankings, Lo and behold… [dramatic music playing] the site was now ranked on page 16! In November the site moved down to the page 20 or 21. Good thing that I was ready to risk that site, as I mentioned earlier.

The New Blog

In mid-October I created a brand new blog, using the same main keyword phrase as in the old blog. I added 1 new (original) article to the blog every 5 days or so. Fast forward 35 days and 7 articles later the new blog was ranking #10 on the first page of Google and #1 on the 2nd page… It’s important to mention I didn’t do any link building or social sharing related to this blog.

Sure, this was a small test and I can’t be 100% sure I would get the same results if I did it again however I can assure you I would never fake blog post freshness again. Maybe a big 10 year old blog with thousands of posts can get away with fake post date – it seems like I couldn’t. I simply do not believe it was a coincidence and I lost rankings for some other reason. It is also possible that Google has changed the algorithm once again and this strategy worked in July 2013 and became completely useless by September. The fact still remains; as long as I didn’t touch the old blog it was ranking fairly well, as soon as I faked the date I went down 200 spots.

On the other hand – the new blog got from not being indexed to the 1st page of Google within 5 weeks – surely because of consistent, fresh, good quality content. Every time I created a new post the blog would jump 10-20 spots higher in the rankings.

None of us know how Google really works and what’s going on with their search algorithm but the good-old “Content is King” seems to apply over and over again, at least for me, I have mentioned the importance of content in my previous post; The Ultimate Google Ranking Strategy. I love following bloggers who constantly provide fresh, interesting and helpful content and I am committed to doing exactly that; producing quality content as often as I can.

What’s your take on freshness?

How often do you update your blog and would you consider “freshness gaming” in order to get a better spot in the search engine results? Write a comment below!

– Alex

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