Keeping Content Fresh – not the bugaboo you think it is
Finger-wagging pundits often admonish marketers to ‘keep web content fresh!’ – at least in part to avoid penalties from Google’s freshness algorithm (yes, it’s a thing). But unless you’re in the business of publishing, aggregating or distributing news or digital information (instead of selling actual goods or services), the threat of a freshness ranking penalty may be over-hyped. “Different searches have different freshness needs,” explains former Google Fellow Amit Singhal. The types of keyword searches most likely to require fresh content include: timely events/hot topics (protests, tax cuts, conventions); regularly recurring events (sports scores, earnings reports); and frequent consumer updates (best new cameras, automobile reviews).
So regular SMBs shouldn’t worry about freshness? You should. Just not to the extent that information publishers do. Not even SEO pros know how much weight freshness–or any of Google’s 200+ ranking factors–actually carries. All agree, however, that the #1 way to avoid content-related ranking hits is to feature content that teaches, explains, educates, or is otherwise useful in solving users’ problems or answering their questions–the most effective of which include a company blog, FAQs, tip-sheets, product guides, and how-to videos.