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Updating post/article title and content - likely affect on rankings?

5:47 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've got a site about widgets and currently when a new widget comes out we publish an initial post/article.

We then try out the widget briefly and post an all new article, and finally we get to take the widget home for a while and really try it out and yet again post and entirely new article.

What I'd like to get some feedback on is this.

Would posting one initial article, that was then updated at each stage and re-titled (title would contain the same major keywords but be changed slightly to reflect the new circumstance)cause any ill-effects for that post/article in google?


First article - "Latest blue widget released"
Updated after 2mths to - "Latest blue widget first trial"
Updated after another 2mths to - "Latest blue widget full test"

So the first article becomes the basis for the second and third, with the content and title being updated with each change as we come to know more about the widget.

This would be a logical way of handling this situation for us, rather than having three articles with broadly similar content and similar titles.

I just wonder how it would be viewed by Google, particularly the title changes.

Any advice would be appreciated.


9:15 am on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

First article - "Latest blue widget released"
Updated after 2mths to - "Latest blue widget first trial"
Updated after another 2mths to - "Latest blue widget full test"

It seems to me you are killing off lot's of opportunities by doing this.

First off, you are reducing the link value of any inbound links that you get. For example, if you're linked to with the first post the anchor text might be "first glimpse of new blue widget", which might not be as relevant for the last post (I'm guessing on experience here).

You are also missing out on being able to put great internal links between the posts. With text like "We first covered this new <link>blue widget two months ago<link>.

On another note, if you have well linked and good value related posts, then you might also get indented results in the SERPs, which not only pushes the competition down, but improves clicks.

As far as the title changes go, in my experience Google keeps up to date with content changes, but it will affect your rankings.

9:24 pm on Nov 10, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

thanks for the reply gn_wendy.

The issue is that the content that carries from one updated post to the next is almost identical, with just the addition of a new section each time and some minor rewording.

So it becomes a choice of having three articles providing the same information, with each newer article providing a little more, or one article that is progressively updated.

Interesting conundrum for us. Essentially the one updated article is better for the reader and streamlines what we do, but it may be that we cannot update without losing the articles position in Google.

9:09 am on Nov 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I would have gone for a new post each time, but with new content. It takes a lot more time, but in my opinion worth the time and effort.

Sticking to your current model, my choice would have been to update the title the way you are doing it (I am assuming you are changing the h-tagged headings as well as the page title). Google deals with change pretty well, but again; it will affect your rankings.

I would consider changing the way you produce content, or at least try doing that for a selection of articles to see if it brings traffic and increases pageviews etc.