Fresh Content Isn’t Always Important UNLESS You Want Links, Hits & Ranking

by Dave Curtis on 10/08/2012 · 2 comments

in Blogging, copywriting, Every Day SEO, Linking

Matt Cutts, Google's Chief Web Spam Engineer

Matt Cutts, Google’s Chief Web Spam Engineer

Some SEOs lose site of why they’re telling clients they need to continually create fresh content.

Here Matt Cutts (Google’s Chief Web Spam Engineer) explains that if you have a business site “fresh” content isn’t necessarily what you need. But he isn’t saying whether or not the business site has lots of competition or whether or not it’s on the last page of Google or whether or not the business owner is starving for business (and face it, who couldn’t use a little more money to live on and take better care of their employees?):

Here’s a sample search for the term T-Shirts for sale:

98.5 Million Pages of Competition for the T-Shirts for Sale

98.5 Million Competing “T-Shirts for Sale” Pages

So in this case, if your product or service niche has a lot of competition (particularly brand competition) Google (Via Matt Cutts) seems to be saying you don’t need to create fresh content. Which leaves businesses only the option of Pay Per Click, because if your site is number 500,000 for T-Shirts for Sale and you don’t do something other than Pay Per Click then you won’t come up in the rankings. Remember – as of 2012’s advanced Google algorithmic changes to their 2011 Panda update you really can’t artificially buy and inflate your back links (prior to this many sites still tended to get away with it) and you can’t over-SEO the site (listen below).

LEFT: Audio of Danny Sullivan (Search Engine Land) Matt Cutts (Google), Duane Forrester (Bing) from SXSW panel “Dear Google & Bing: Help Me Rank Better.

That said (or in this case not said), in a very different video Matt Cutts says (and all SEOs know) that Great Content Gets LINKS! Links raise ranking (your “Rank” for all intents and purposes is the Search Engine Return Page [SERP] position for whatever key phrases the SEO is shooting for). More links from good sites raise ranking even more. REAL LINKS (not paid links) raise ranking, get more hits and exposure for the site, AND bring it to the top of Google where it belongs and that’s where you make more conversions and more sales – and because it’s organic, it keeps working!*

So what do you do if you have a site with 50 product pages and you would like more hits and more sales? This is where the various web marketing/optimization/public relations disciplines tend to disagree. Marketer’s would rather go with advertising and with paid promotions. Press Release people would recommend doing press releases. SEOs will often recommend more content by way of BLOGs (and promoting those articles on social media sites). So who’s right?

Answer: Everyone. Any one of the above solutions will help in its own way just as jogging will help the heart and muscles to a different degree than sprinting will. They are best combined. So HOW do you write Great Content that leads to conversions and (hopefully) also builds links? There are formulas and guidelines (Matt Cutts mentions “controversy” in his 2nd video) and here’s the “OFFICIAL” (Google Approved) List:

MATT CUTTS List of “Effective Techniques for Building Links” (March 4, 2010)

  1. Controversy (not very good) (On Site Content)
  2. Participate in the Community (one of the best ways) Answering Questions (Can be On or Off Site Content)
  3. Original Research (One of the best ways) (On Site Content)
  4. Newsletters! (On Site Content)
  5. Social Media – Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter! Participation is required. (On Site Content)
  6. Lists (like this one! “Weak, but ok if not overdone”) (On Site Content)
  7. Get a blog and establish yourself as an authority. Use it to flesh out your profile – Establish Yourself! (On Site Content)
  8. How To’s and Tutorials (On Site Content)
  9. Run a useful service or release a (software) product for free. Open source.
  10. Good site architecture! (This is an SEO behind the scenes thing!)
  11. Make a few VIDEOS! (On Site Content)

Seven to eight of the eleven suggestions are content added directly to your business web site or blog associated with  your business web site (If you’re using a blog, you can participate in the community by answering your blog visitors questions on your blog).  One or two of the suggestions are content (community participation CAN be on your own blog, and social media participation). One of the suggestions requires being (or hiring) a programmer to write and provide either a service or free software, and one of the suggestions is just for the SEO to make sure your site’s hierarchy and architecture are fine.

So What if You Can’t Write?

Seriously? If you can’t write because you have no time, and you don’t have employees who can (and have time) then hire writers! DON’T hire “I charge $150 or $300 or $500 per page” writers. Go to online services where writers in various fields of expertise sign up looking for assignments. You get to accept or reject their work, send it back for revision, and then rate the writer’s work. You also get to choose various levels of writing professionalism, but even the highest rated won’t be anywhere nearly as expensive as what your writer friends want to charge you.

The main point is that keeping content on your own web site (and not posting everything to Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest) guarantees that your content stays on your site and doesn’t disappear as quickly from someone’s timeline like yesterdays old news. You want to keep adding searchable content to your own site and business blog on a regular basis, and you want to make that content authoritative, informative, well written and preferably unique. If you can do that you can gain back links to your site from other good sites and increase your own pages positions in the search engine returns. And one last thing: There is no way to know which piece of content will go viral within your niche. Sometimes the simplest thing can take off like a skyrocket, but a much more difficult to research and write piece you think is more important turns out to be a dud.

* Organic keeps working until Google decides to do something that will make it stop working, but because the number one hard set in stone rule of Google is that they are a content first search engine the best likelihood is that if your content is ranking high in the SERPs it will remain high.

1 michael October 8, 2012 at 2:37 am

As usual Dave, you have the inside track on SEO, Matt Cutts and what REALLY WORKS for businesses looking to hire a professional Search Engine Optimization Expert.

2 David Curtis October 8, 2012 at 3:50 am

Thanks Mike. From what I’ve seen you’re no slouch yourself. 🙂

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