Google Fresh is the newest update to Google’s ever-changing algorithm. In an attempt to weed out outdated results for search queries, the company has enacted a change that will bring newer, “fresher” results to the top of search results. The change will affect 35% of websites, giving priority to those publishing new content to their domains regularly. This is not necessarily different from what Google has been doing all along. However, real-time aggregators like Twitter have superseded most news outlets and even Google in offering real-time information to users.
Google first tried to address this by adding a real-time Twitter feed for search terms that matched up with Trending Topics, but the algorithm tweak makes that change more internal and rather than presenting searchers with data about “Quaker Oatmeal” from 1998, the most current content related to the brand would rank higher.
Again, this only affects about 35% of websites. Those who are in the business of, say, wholesale basket weaving, will have little to worry about; their products and services will likely stay the same. Those who manage a Chicago hotel will have to pay attention; the landscape and opportunity for entertainment in Chicago changes by the minute and competitors are already battling each other for site traffic. Competing Chicago hotels will likely leverage Google’s update by producing new content for their websites so they can rank highly for keywords as well as “freshness”.
But what can YOU do to use Google’s algo tweak to your advantage?
Content Management System
If your site doesn’t have an intuitive content management system you need to employ one now. An effective CMS improves communication between users, reduces duplicate input and allows large numbers of people to interact with stored data. The more people are connecting and interfacing with your site, the more likely Google’s spiders will see value in what you’re offering and place you higher in the results pages.
If your site has a blog, stop reading this and write an entry for it. If you do not have a blog, start one now. Blogging is not just popular because of the forum it provides for the spread of opinions and ideas; a blog is the pulse of your site. Each new update you publish is an indication that there is activity on your site, activity that will push you up the freshness ranks.
Cultivate Your Online Brand
People can’t interact with your site if they don’t know you exist. It’s important to foster your brand by building out your Facebook page, updating Twitter and commenting on the blogs of other people in the industry. Your participation is a good indicator that your site is active, and it outwardly acts as a promotional tool: The more people see your name in relevant blog comments, the more people will visit your site.
This is an adjunct on building out your brand, but creating a way for site visitors to sign-up for an email newsletter will offer you an avenue to contact them weekly or biweekly with new updates to your site, Facebook or Twitter. Keeping people in the loop is just plain important; business and email marketing is a proven way to generate return visits. If the new content you are producing is compelling, people will be happy to get reminders about checking it out.
Ramp up Guest Posting
Blogging will show Google that your site has a pulse, but that has always been the case. It’s easy to fall behind in blogging and now that freshness is a big factor, consider reaching out to other bloggers to produce content for your blog. This is a mutually beneficial tactic that will build links to your blog, thereby increasing your rankings, but also provide an avenue for new content when you don’t have any ready to go.
Those familiar with online marketing will recognize some of these tactics, but the fact is that Google’s freshness factor has made some of these more important than ever. Keeping on top of your updates and staying fresh in the eyes of Google is your key to ranking higher in SERPs.
So go ahead and freshen up your site because you’ve got a date with Google’s first page!