Fresh Content SEO Writing article updated June 2014.

An SEO question that arises from time to time is does Google prefer fresh SEO content?

And if Google does prefer fresh content, would on a database driven website automatically varying the important SEO areas of a webpage: title tag, meta tags, alt text of images, h1 header etc… regularly improve Google SEO rankings?

The above is the sort of SEO questions asked by those new to search engine optimization and on the various SEO forums there’s a tendency to state as an SEO fact Google prefers fresh content!

What is Fresh Content?

Fresh content would be a webpage that’s been recently updated, SEOs have argued there needs to be enough changes to make a webpage fresh to Google, but in essence make some content changes (write some new SEO content for an article for example) and Google etc… is supposed to give that webpage a SERPs boost for JUST being fresh (updated).

Fresh Content SEO

If the SEO gurus who state as an SEO fact fresh content is ranked higher by the search engines, by varying your title tags, alt attributes, h1, h2, h3 headers, anchor text of links along the lines of this:

Google Fresh Content
Google Prefers Fresh Content
Fresh Content = Great SERPs
Search Engines Prefer Fresh Content
Fresh Content and Google the Truth
Google Fresh Content = SEO Myth
Fresh Content SEO
SEO Content Writing
SEO Content
Fresh SEO Content
Fresh Content SEO Writing

You get the idea, basically make a bunch of semantically related keyword phrases that are randomized every time a web page is visited (not hard to do with a PHP driven website).

This should generate an SEO fresh page in the eyes of the search engines ranking algorithms: Google will be tricked into believing you’ve been frantically writing new SEO content. So every time Google visits a page like this it will think it’s been updated with new fresh content and give it a ranking boost for being so lemon fresh :-)

Unfortunately, there’s one enormous flaw in this “SEO fact”, most stuff you find on SEO forums, even the best SEO forums is a bunch of made up tosh based on circumstantial evidence at best (no real scientifically generated evidence to back up the SEO claims) and search engines preferring fresh content over never changing content is one of those widely believed SEO myths.

SEO Myth – Fresh Content = Higher Google Rankings

Poorly informed webmasters come to conclusions like this in the following way.

Had this webpage for ages and not updated for years, doing OK in Google, but not great. Revamped the webpage/website and Google gave it better SERPs almost over night and sends it more traffic, whooh Google prefers recently updated content (fresh content) over old static content. Everybody should update their old webpages for better SERPs.

Reality check: this doesn’t occur every time a webpage is updated (if it did, would be easy to get to number 1 in Google for any SERP), sometimes a change will result in SERPs drops (less traffic).

Real reason for the SERPs improvement is either coincidence (maybe new backlinks finally kicked in, Google changed it’s ranking algorithm etc….) or the new content is better search engine optimized and so does better in the search engines due to being better optimized content.

Think about it, a webmaster who frequents and posts on SEO forums etc… wouldn’t deliberately update a webpage with poorly search engine optimized content, when a webmaster like this changes an old webpage there’s a very good chance it’s going to be better SEO optimized afterwards.

This also explains why changes don’t always result in SEO improvements, some changes aren’t always an SEO improvement (a lot of bad SEO information out there, easy to make a webpage less optimized following bad SEO advice!).

Fresh SEO Content Per Se Does NOT = Better Google SERPs
Better Search Engine Optimized Content = Better Google SERPs

SEO Content Writing

Since there is no SEO benefit to having ever changing fresh content on an existing webpage, varying your content just to make it fresh could be a very bad SEO idea. Much better SEO wise to write what you think is the the best SEO content for each webpage and only update when an update is needed.

Fresh Content SEO Writing

If a webpage is targeting a set of related SERPs like:

Does Google Prefer Fresh Content?
Fresh Content SEO
SEO Content Writing
SEO Content
Fresh SEO Content
Fresh Content SEO Writing

The above are some of the SERPs this SEO article is targeting, I use an advanced SEO feature built into the WordPress SEO Package I develop which uses the above semantically related keyword phrases as the anchor text of internal links to this webpage.

The best title tag would be one of the above phrases or a derivative, I’m using: “Fresh Content SEO”.
I use the same main phrase for the H1 header.

If this webpage ranks high for the Fresh Content SEO SERP in Google, some of that rank will be due to the title tag and the H1 header, why would I change the title tag/H1 header?

If I built a PHP script to randomly change the title tag to the 6 target phrases above when Google re-indexes the webpage this web pages ranking for the “Fresh Content SEO” Google SERP will vary based on how optimized the page is for that particular phrase.

Sometimes this webpage would be better optimized for the SERP and other times worse, this pages rankings would fluctuate overtime! That doesn’t sound like a good SEO tactic, how would I track which change resulted in the most traffic? Since you are trying to trick Google into believing the content is freshly written, that sounds a little black hat SEO and could result in a Google ranking penalty.

Yes you can probably make some small changes to a webpage that won’t impact it’s SERPs, but make the wrong changes and your going to have a negative impact on that pages SERPs and from my perspective it’s better to aim for one highly optimised page to using less optimised phrases in key areas of content in the misguided hope Google likes recently updated content.

David Law

David Law > AKA SEO Dave
: 20+ Years Experience as a Freelance SEO Consultant, WordPress SEO Expert, Internet Marketer, Developer of Multiple WordPress SEO Plugins/SEO Themes Including the Stallion Responsive Theme (tested to WordPress 4.9 November 2017).

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