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Content Freshness In A Post Panda World

     
2:16 pm on Jun 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Hi there, Everyone:

Seeing as how many of the sites that got slammed had large amounts of user content (which was presumably submitted on a regular basis), are we able to draw any conclusions about the role of content "freshness" in the algorithm post Panda?

And if so, what are the implications for "static" sites? Is there a formula or strategy for determining how often one should update their static content? And by how much should one change a page?

Thanks in advance.
4:29 pm on June 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Need to be careful with correlation vs causation for this situation. Did the sites get slammed because of freshness, poor quality content from users, having too much content with too few backlinks or something totally different?

I don't personally think static sites are being sought out and penalized. In certain situations fresh content might be given a boost like for QDF. Overall static and evergreen sites don't seem to be singled out and penalized by Panda.
4:52 pm on June 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Is there a formula or strategy for determining how often one should update their static content


There is no such formula or hard and fast rule on how often the content of a page should change. I would advise not obsessing about SEO and do whats best for your user.
5:49 pm on June 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I would advise not obsessing about SEO and do whats best for your user.


Well, making it easier for my users to actually FIND my site in the first place would be pretty useful for them ;)
6:12 pm on June 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Does anyone think that posting regularly on a blog, for example, could actually make a site more susceptible to panda, especially when those posts don't have the social signals and links Google are looking for?
7:08 pm on June 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Before trying to implement freshness, I would begin by defining content. From my own thoughts it is a presentation of knowledge, philosophies, opinions or ideas. My understanding of knowledge is that it is an expression of thoughts generally accepted to be true or accurate (until proven otherwise). Knowledge is the root of all content and is more often than not derived from experience. Philosophies evolve out of knowledge which was often-times second hand information. From philosophies, right, wrong or misunderstood, opinions originate. Opinions sometimes lead to ideas of how to change something. Most ideas lead to nowhere, or at the very least benefit few people, when they are commercially motivated (present day SERPs according to Google). Freshness of content is really only the noise of ideas and is not a very good signal to determine the value of content on a page. That's why Google's SERP are becoming more useless with each passing day. IMHO I think Wikipedia is the best source of non-commercial knowledge, it's not perfect and yes some abuse has crept in but it's still the best collection of present human knowledge.

Knowledge = Wikipedia
Philosophies = Numerous, pick your own
Opinions = Newspapers, Blogs
Noise = Social Media
Commercial Scraper = Google
1:10 am on June 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing a few sites penalized for adding quality content. Very strange indeed, never seen this before panda.
1:16 am on June 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm seeing a few sites penalized for adding quality content.

What does that really mean? The home page ranks lower for a specific keyword after a new URL is added somewhere in the site?
2:06 am on June 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm speculating here, but it looks very much like G has classified UGC sites separately from other sites. And if they are classifying them separately, it follows that they are applying slightly different criteria to them too.

I don't think it's the lack of fresh content that felled hubpages.

I just did a search using the site operator on hubpages, for just the last 24 hours, and it returned 667 results, which included content and profiles of people who had just joined in the last 24 hours.

By contrast, the same search for the Guardian newspaper showed just 437 results. Even though they are a huge site with a large staff and 25 million hits a month.

The Guardian's output is less because everything has to go through an editor.

I'm not sure how pumping out more stuff will prove to G that you have editorial control.

As far as I can tell, the only UGC site that has escaped is Squidoo, and they are not only pumping out less stuff than hubpages (the site operator revealed 124 new pieces of content in the last 24 hours), but they have a system with volunteers who go about "dinging" bad pages when they find them - I understand that this has the effect of sinking them in Squidoo's internal ranking, which reduces the amount of internal links to those pages, either from the category pages or other pages. We're back to those internal links again.
3:05 am on June 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What does that really mean? The home page ranks lower for a specific keyword after a new URL is added somewhere in the site?


You got it.

It's always been the case the adding new fresh high quality content helps, lately in a few instances, it absolutely hurts. The only possible reason I can come up with is that the new content is attracting too many incoming links. Until lately I've never seen new content harming a sites serps.
5:15 am on June 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Maybe I should have elaborated a little bit more...

If you have a static html site (not user-generated content), do you think that you should freshen up the existing content on a regular basis - like tweaking the existing pages (as opposed to adding new pages).

I've heard through the grapevine that ranking can be cyclical due to the current content becoming stale (yes, even with historical data - which one wouldn't expect to change over time). And there might be ways to bring a slipping page back up to its previous higher rankings by adding / modifying the info on the page.

Maybe someone has seen a change in this since Panda. I know that Shazam mentioned new content as "hurting" a site. Maybe Shazam is on to something here?
6:20 am on June 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I think freshening up pages or a complete site redesign can definitely help.

I've had great success with rewriting content and changing the layout on my sites in the past. It's really hard to know if this was because I just happened to hit the right combination of words, the new layouts were somehow preferable, or any number of other factors. I think changing the main content (homepage, sidebars etc.) is quite effective, but this is based entirely upon "PrePandaMonium" experience.

In the past, the googlebot was always happier if it had fresh data to munch on.
1:34 pm on June 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I've heard through the grapevine that ranking can be cyclical due to the current content becoming stale (yes, even with historical data - which one wouldn't expect to change over time). And there might be ways to bring a slipping page back up to its previous higher rankings by adding / modifying the info on the page.

Again, as goodroi pointed out above, beware of correlation vs causation.

We were actually taking about this a couple of months ago: Is it the age/freshness of the content -- or of the links to the content?
2:09 pm on June 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The Google algo probably treats fresh tweaking differently from fresh content.

I agree with the idea of placing focus on links. Adding a new valuable link out to a relevant, quality site/page helps the user experience, which is Google's goal. Good links seem to get respect from Panda. But a few minor changes in writing style, etc., would be low-value changes.

A commentary on SEOMOZ a while back on fresh changes:

The scoring of changes . . . will be based on the "perceived importance of the portions" that have been changed. The score will also take into account the changes as compared to the weighting(s) of each of the different pages of the site - i.e. if important pages change, it will have a different impact than if unimportant pages changed. My guess is that importance is mostly determined by links (both internal and external) that point to a given page. So if your contact page changes, it's not a big deal, but if your home page changes, that's a bigger deal. Source: [seomoz.org...]
Disclaimer: We don't know how much of the patent was adopted.

Since the post-Panda guidelines from Google include a new focus on grammar and spelling, they must assume webmasters will be busy tweaking their pages, and hopefully reward these changes, too. So there could be a lot of similar changes going on by your competitors which cancel any advantage you might otherwise get.

I don't recall freshness per se coming up in the new guidelines, and don't remember Cutts saying much about it in the past, except for one comment last year [webpronews.com...]

Freshness seems to be overrated. I know I've overrated it in the past. While I should have been getting or adding new links, I was creating new content that never got decent rankings.
2:20 pm on June 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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We were actually taking about this a couple of months ago: Is it the age/freshness of the content -- or of the links to the content?

Freshness may do something for some sites, but it is certainly not a requirement - either in terms of content or links.
3:11 pm on June 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I'm not at all saying that freshness is a requirement. Just pointing out that -- as with anything dealing with ranking algorithms -- it's often hard to determine true causation.
3:21 pm on June 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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What about freshness vs evergreen content?
 

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