A key factor in ensuring the Googlebot will visit your site regularly and return it on the first page for a search is that it sees your content as not only relevant, but also fresh.
Stale content refers to documents that have not been updated for a period of time and, thus, contain stale data (documents that are “no longer updated, diminished in importance, superceded by another document”).
Google indicates 4 factors that they use to determine whether a document is considered “fresh” or “stale.”
- Query-based factor: analysis of which pages in Google search results are selected by users.
- Link-based criteria: analyzes the page backlinks – a decrease in links may mean the document is stale.
- Traffic-based criteria: a large reduction in traffic may indicate that the content is stale.
- Behavior-based criteria: the content is probably not fresh if people spend too little time on the page.
Ways to make certain Google sees the content on your site as fresh include:
- Document creation date – add fresh content on a regular basis. This is why an onsite blog is so helpful to web sites. An article section is also helpful. Once your articles have been indexed by the search engine, you should then syndicate them out using Zimbio, Qassia, etc.
- Anchor growth and traffic – drive traffic to new pages by linking to them, rather than to the home page. Make sure your links are keywords relevant to the content topic. When you make blog comments, leave them on sites relevant to your new content and link to the new page.
- Change and improve content on your site over time. This doesn’t mean you have to change your content weekly or monthly, but over time things change and content does get stale, so make sure you stay on top of it. If your rankings drop, take a look at your content to see if it’s time for an update.
- Link growth – get links to your site and specifically to the new content on your site.