We know that if all other factors are equal, Google ranks websites with fresh content above other websites in a search. So fresh content in your website is worth gold. But how do you freshen up your content?

It has nothing to do with layout, design or images. Content in this article refers only to the text of the website`s information. Google indexes the text content in websites in order to rank them in search results, but ignores layout, design, and images (except for the “Alt” text and captions of images).

While the website that you had designed for you last year still looks perfect to you, since then, many new competing web pages have appeared on search engines. Your content, while still perfectly good, is now no longer the latest in a search. So how can you fix that?

Adding new content

A useful way to get fresh content indexed is to add more web pages. Remember also that the quantity of information in a website is another of the many factors that search engine algorithms use to determine the relevance of a website to a search.

Look through your current pages for bullet points that can be expanded into new pages. As the subjects have already been introduced in your website, they may be the easiest on which to provide more information.

Are there any new uses of your products or services that you can announce? These can be the basis of additional pages.

Is there any new customer feedback that you can publish? This not only adds to the content – it is useful information for prospective customers.

A “News” page is useful for summarizing new content. Have your products or services reached new markets? Are there any new products or services that you can announce?

Refreshing old content

There may be ways of rewriting existing web pages to show that they are fresh. Keep file names the same, but change titles, headings and text.

Add some words, sentences and / or paragraphs. Add something to make the text topical. E.g. If you are selling surfboards, mention current surfing news.

Expand on some descriptions. But do not pad them out – not obviously anyway. Do not just rearrange the sentences.

How to write the new content

Once you decide on the pages that you will add, on the first night select a page and just type a list of the ideas you have for that page. On the second night, take each of the ideas on the list and type something about it. On the third night, edit what you have typed. Each time you take a fresh look at the text, after sleeping on it, you tend to improve it.

Use this procedure for each of the ideas listed, and for each new page. This works for most people. Only if you are a genius will you write the perfect copy the first time. The rest of us ordinary people need to work at it.

When people tell me that they don`t have the time or ability to write copy for their web pages, I remind them that they are good at running a business selling their products, so why not stick to that and pay someone else to write the copy. You just need to list the ideas. The words may be worth their weight in gold.

When does it take effect?

To check when the search results have reflected your changes, in Google`s listing of your web page, click the link “Cached”. Google`s view of your web page highlighting the search words then displays with a gray table at the top:

“This is Google`s cache of [your web page]. It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on [date].”

That is the date your web page was spidered, but after that it needs to be indexed and the cache updated. So it may be a few days to a couple of weeks before your changes take effect on your position. It depends on how frequently your site is spidered, and on the volume of indexing.

The changes will normally show in Googles cache within two or three weeks, but if you have some top websites that link to you and have a facility to change the descriptions on those links, you may see a result in search engines even sooner.

Fresh is good

Make the above a regular routine, adding more and more information. It is a compelling justification for a content management system.

Remember, if you stand still while everyone else races ahead, you may effectively be going backwards. Make it a policy to be fresh.

These articles were first published on www.platywebs.com.au and have been re-published on many other websites and ezines over the years. New readers are still finding them to be of value and up to date with today’s conditions. We believe they illustrate common sense and the value of thinking through situations. Please check out the other articles advising on small business, web design, search engine optimisation, web hosting and domain names.