How many overwhelmingly positive SEO experiences have you had? Where the page you painstakingly optimized actually performed as expected? The traffic flowed steadily, you received a number of quality backlinks, and even generated a number of sales. It’s pretty hard to do in the hypercompetitive world of 2016, and it feels amazing when you succeed – which makes it all the more frustrating when your page starts to lose the traction you worked so hard to gain.
I see it all the time. Clients often come to me with woeful tales of how the page responsible for the majority of their website traffic suddenly stopped ranking. They act like the sky is falling, and while I understand their concern, there are steps you can actively take to prevent this from happening – or at the very least, make it happen more gradually.
The secret lies in Google’s complex search algorithm. As I highlighted before, Google is focused entirely on providing the best possible user experience. Its goal is to return results that will satisfy the customer’s query every single time. There’s a lot that goes into determining which pages will best do this, one of which is the “freshness” of the content.
You can hearken back to your undergraduate days to understand why this aspect of SEO plays an element in Google’s ranking system. In performing research for your freshman composition papers, you probably (or should have) had a number of different potential sources to choose from. When evaluating which ones to use, I’m willing to bet that you gave preferential treatment to those that were most recently published. Newer information is typically more accurate and “better,” and Google feels the same way. If two pages have the exact same content, the newer of the two is more likely to be ranked higher in its algorithm.
Here lies the answer to why your page may have stopped ranking. If your page has remained untouched since you first posted it to your website, there’s a good chance it’s been replaced by a newer, shinier page. It’s not fair, but it’s the truth.
It’s not all doom and gloom though: you can remedy this problem relatively easily with one simple step. That step?
Periodically adding new content to your pages!
Pretty simple, right? You make a blog post or add a product to your website, and on a monthly basis make edits to it. That can take the shape of adding new pictures, beefing up your text, linking relevant pages, or any minor change that will tell Google that your page hasn’t gone stale. The content you add isn’t nearly as important as the fact that you add it. By doing so, you can effectively convince Google that your page is a living document that’s constantly being updated. This will allow you to stay relevant for your target keyword, and to continue to get indexed by Google’s search crawlers. The end result? High-quality pages with ample staying power.
This shouldn’t simply be a reactive action. As my grandfather always said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Actively update your pages before they have a chance to slip through Google’s cracks, and you’ll hopefully be able to avoid the ranking drop off headache entirely. If you don’t have the time or energy, reach out to a consultant and let them handle the task for you – it doesn’t matter who is in charge of the updating, all that matters is getting it done.