In 2018 I am starting a new blog here at Winterset Websites to share a variety of information — tips for websites, how to make good use of the investment you’ve made in your website (regardless of who built it), important news for those who use WordPress or have a WordPress website, and probably some random thoughts here and there too.
Also…. this is the first tip I’ll give you…. publishing fresh content to your website on a frequent basis is very important to your search engine optimization (SEO). Therefore, it benefits me too.
Why Fresh Content is Good for SEO — in Layman’s Terms
Why is fresh content and website activity good for your SEO? Here’s a non-technical way to visualize it:
Try to picture all of those billion+ websites out there on the internet that Google individually indexes and ranks as if they were individual library books in a really big library.
Some books in the library are constantly being handled — checked in and checked out regularly, set out for display, used for book discussions, etc. Those are the books that are easy to find (when they’re available) and all the librarians know right where to find them if you ask. Other books have not been checked out in ages and aren’t really in circulation anymore. They’re findable if you know exactly where to look, but they might be pushed to the back of the shelf or covered with dust. They certainly won’t get pointed out by the librarian when he/she is asked, “What book should I read over Christmas break?”
Notice that the content of these books doesn’t really matter, it’s the activity that makes them top-of-mind for the librarians. There’s no disputing that The Grapes of Wrath, for example, is an amazing book. It won a Pulitzer Prize! But the books that are getting the most actual activity are by John Grisham and Dan Brown, etc., because they’ve indexed themselves in the minds of the librarians and booksellers of the world as “what people want.” Those authors have done that through a combination of good content, effective promoting, and frequently offering new titles.
Your website is like a book. You might have the best content there in the world, but if you never make updates to it or offer new information (and share that information to drive traffic to your website), then it falls off the Google index radar and eventually behaves rather dead.
Every time you add new content to your website, you are signaling the web crawlers or “bots” to visit and re-index it based on the new information you’ve added. Blogging isn’t the only way to do that, but it’s a really great way because it adds a new url (or page, essentially) to your website with every article you publish. It gives you something to share out on social media, which drives traffic back to your site. It gives you the opportunity to use new keywords and phrases in your titles and subtitles, or legitimately re-use your preferred existing keywords and phrases, to help move your site closer to the top when people search for what you have to offer.
If you don’t have time or interest in blogging, there are other ways to refresh your content. Add new photos and captions, update your written content with timely or seasonal messages, link to new resources that people can use, etc. Invent your own ways to do it. Clients of mine who have WordPress websites just send me an email anytime they want content updated, and I add it for them. Some of them send me emails almost weekly — such as Covered Bridges Winery adding new events and the John Wayne Birthplace Museum adding new items to their store — and as a result, those websites rank VERY well!
For more on this topic, here’s a great article by someone who is smarter than me: 5 Reasons Why Fresh Content is Critical for Your Website and SEO, by Jason Roy.
For myself, I’m going to try blogging and experiment with how much it increases traffic to wintersetwebsites.com.
As a baseline, here’s what my Google Analytics shows for the last 28 days. These are not good numbers, because I haven’t been taking my own advice. I’ve been more focused on websites for clients than on my own. A month from now I’ll check back in and report on the difference that blogging makes. I’m certain it will prove my point.