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An academic paper could reasonably be expected to not change at all or very rarely. A 'latest headlines' page is more likely to be valuable if it changes frequently.
In terms of my search engine experience it doesn't really seem to make a great deal of difference to change text on the page frequently (depending on the change, of course), although over-editing of titles/descriptions etc. can seemingly cause short term harm.
One of my sites has 25 categories of content. On my index page I have links to the last 3 articles from each category, so a total of 75 links to the latest articles.
I post about 100 articles per day, so throughout the course of the day, all of these links change.
I would not say that this is hurting my site at all.
I also think that some minor content changes are very normal for certain sites (Wikipedia) and that change is considered good.
I would guess IMHO that MAJOR frequent changes, such as frequently changing the Title, metas, headers… might hurt a site.
In certain environments, it is natural to have a percentage of content that is in contstant flux.
But, I would think that if you are changing the content in a reaction to a shift in rankings, then yes, there may be some negative side effects such as the recalculation of that content and a shift in the meaning of the page therefore causing a shift in the terms that the page might rank for. And, you'll aways be one step behind so there won't be any catching up. ;)
To change an entire page regularly would put you into a different type of a classification. Maybe a news site, a site that covers broad topics and changes its main content frequently. That's the type of stuff that shows up in Google News searches, etc. with date stamps of 1 minute ago. :)
For static pages, once they are written and placed on the web, they usually won't undergo any major changes for long periods of time. Other more dynamic pages are going to be changing regularly. The bots will develop an indexing pattern based on everything that is going on. If there are sections changing frequently, those sections will get spidered more often so that Google has the latest changes.
So, to answer the question, can your ranking be hurt by changes that are too frequent? It really all depends on the types of changes you are referring to. We just like to talk around here so we'll give you all sorts of stuff to think about. :)
thank you very much for your replies. My website topic has some sections that I have to update frequently because the information I'm reporting on really does change very often.
Actually, I do not know whether it is positive or negative because, If i do not update these sensitive information, visitors may leave my site and never come back.
[edited by: tedster at 3:19 pm (utc) on Dec. 23, 2007]
[edit reason] remove specifics [/edit]