Ah, the “News” section of a website, that well-intentioned receptacle for the very latest information about your company. You set it up when you built your current website with a plan to add fresh content as news events occurred. After all, there’s always something going on, right? Promotions, new hires, trade shows – the list in your head was endless.
Fast forward two years, and what’s featured under that “News” link? Is it a photo from the company get-together three months ago? Is it a press release for that new product launch that happened six months ago? Is it the first post you placed on the site two years ago? Everybody got so busy … If this sounds familiar, I have some bad news for you: not only does it look silly to visitors when your “News” page is filled with cobwebs and stories comparing your R&D department to “Colin Kaepernick, the future of the NFL,” it’s hurting your visibility to search engines like Google.
Nobody – and I mean NOBODY – knows exactly what makes up Google’s search algorithm anymore, and that means everyone in the web business has to put our faith in the few things we know for sure. #1 on that list is that Google tells us over and over again that its search engine loves fresh content. Here’s why:
(1) Google is working really hard to help its algorithm think like a human (some people fear this – I just figure the day it gains sentience, Google’s algorithm will just call in sick and binge watch Netflix like everybody else). And since humans don’t like to read or view the same thing over and over, fresh is better. You’ll get more visitors, and Google is very influenced by that kind of peer pressure.
(2) From a more scientific standpoint, Google’s software bots really only index (record) stuff that is new on the Internet. That means fresh stuff = more visits from Google, which is always a good thing.
(3) Lastly, if your site somehow becomes a well-regarded resource on some topic (hopefully something you sell), then the combination of visits + time on site + incoming links + social media mentions = big-time search engine lift. This is not easy, but it is possible as long as your site consistently offers fresh, original content.
How often should you update your website? In a perfect world, daily. But re-posting time lapse videos of delicious-looking crepe recipes doesn’t count. Too much borrowed content, and you’re going nowhere. That’s why a few times a week is perhaps more realistic, depending on the size of your company (and whether you have staff dedicated to the job). There’s no magic answer here, but there is a simple truth: the more new stuff, the better – period. When it comes to fresh content, you just need to find a balance that you and your team can live with.