Google prioritises search results by authority, popularity, and relevance. But relevance isn't just keyword accuracy, it's also the recent date of publication. For example, you wouldn't want an article about the stock market from three years ago - but an article about barbeque repair from three years ago might still be the best content on the subject.
Many brands do some of their best content work early in their blog and website development arc. You put your heart and soul into writing an amazing guide on roofing shingles or IP addresses and it catches fire. Other brands reference it. People searching for answers read it by the hundreds, then thousands. But over time, even if the information is still relevant and accurate, newer pages start to steal your thunder, ie. SERP ranking.
"But relevance isn't just keyword accuracy, it's also the recent date of publication."
The same goes for great service pages, videos, and infographics. How do you refresh your best-performing content without changing pages that are already perfect? That's what we're here to help with today.
The best way we've seen this done is the annual article method. Have a blog article that knocked it out of the park with great data and a superbly organised format? Do it again next year. Call it the 202X edition and publish all the information again with this year's data. Not only will you get to keep your first big-hit article and publish another zinger, you may become a business report staple for other brands and readers who liked and trusted your first article.
"Have a blog article that knocked it out of the park...? Do it again next year."
The annual article is great for market analysis, predictions, yearly lists, year-in-review, and other content that can encapsulate a year of data. For more in-demand content, you might release an update monthly or quarterly.
Did you post a stub article (a very short piece of content) on something that turns out to be on SEO fire for search results? Don't be shy about updating it to full-sized content. Take the core concept and run with it. Write a longer, more informative and useful article to make use of that sweet SEO and provide your readers with some real value.
"Write a longer, more informative and useful article to make use of that sweet SEO..."
If the content is short because it's a quick question with a quick answer, provide the answer at the top; don't bury the lead. But then provide the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ in paragraphs below for the curious to scroll on.
Go back in and freshen up the details. You can re-write whole sections or just pieces of data to keep the article relevant. But make sure that each of your changes adds value and interest to the content and is accurately updated to reflect the current market or trends.
Be sure to mention the current year in each of your updates. Make this a casual mention that simply needs to be updated year-on-year. Change out the quotes you use or the images that support your content. Find new relevant statistics and quote current market prices without actually changing the well-written body of your work.
"You can re-write whole sections or just pieces of data to keep the article relevant."
Yearly updates are practical, but updates about every 3 months may be better for Google's relevancy window.
Last but not least, add a "Last Updated" line to your UI below the page title - service pages and blog articles. Update this date every time you change the page. This tells both web crawlers and article readers that they've found a page that is still currently relevant - even if the original page was published years ago. For blogs, but not service pages, you may want to indicate the original publish date and the last updated date, as some readers will want to know.
"Update this date every time you change the page."
How do you keep your best website content fresh and "relevant" to Google searches? With these techniques, that SEO smash hit you wrote years ago will get just as much airtime this year - provided the content is as relevant now as it was then.