It is not necessary, and is nigh on impossible, to understand the complex formulas and all of the different factors used by the search engines’ algorithms, but it is possible to utilise many of the factors to gain success in the SERPs. Much value has been placed on the age of a domain over the years in SEO and SEM, but there are other factors relating to age which are an important part of the search marketing mix.
Content age – there are two elements relating to the age of content. Aged content does not necessarily mean it is still relevant to the search engines so in some instances, whilst the domain name may have been registered years ago, and thus add weight to the factors, the content within that domain should be fresh. However, content which has been up for years and is still gaining backlinks steadily implies quality content. You should monitor your backlinks to ensure that the content you have on your website is not perceived as stale, and therefore negatively impacts your rankings.
If you know you have a great piece of older content that deserves a wider audience, then promote it more widely through Twitter, social bookmarks, blog comments and so on to gain more recent links to it. It is worth remembering that Google, in particular, works on “query demands freshness” or QDF, which often offers newer content in favour of older, potentially more appropriate content for the searcher.
This brings us to the regularity of your content updates. If you only update your site once a year, you will always struggle to be placed on the search engine rankings above anything more recent. As the spiders visit your site, so they will compare the content with previous visits and note any changes. If there are none, or only a few, whilst your competitor has hundreds, then you will lose placings to the competitor. Every business, large or small, has something to tell their customers on a regular basis, whether it is a new product, attending an exhibition, discounts and sales, or even new staff or vacancies. A blog is ideal for this, being easy to administer and add content to, whilst attracting the search engines as well as links through your promotional activities.
Link age – whilst long established links can be of use, you need to keep a check on your backlinks for linkrot – when a link no longer points to the intended destination, as well as irrelevance, which can occur when the content of the linking page has changed over time. Fresh and recent links are good, and can be easy to obtain in quantity if you are also focussing on a social media strategy and have an established community or following. If you can create a buzz in the blogosphere or twitosphere about your content, your links will be seen to have all the required factors for QDF and link velocity.
Link velocity is the speed at which new links are acquired to your site, and which is currently taxing the search engines as the spammers are using it very effectively to flood the top SERPs with malicious pages. If you have a piece of content which goes viral and hence acquires a high link velocity, it is difficult for the search engines to easily and automatically determine, especially in these days of the live web, whether that is a good link or a spammy one.
News and topical content – keeping up with trends and posting fresh content on newsworthy topics will also help you to rise up the SERPs. There are several hard to get into but highly valuable news sites that Google regards as authoritative, and which you should concentrate on by providing regular, high quality and unique content for those sites. One of these is of course Google News, but Technorati and similar web 2.0 properties also have outstanding value.
Finally, there are also seasonal fluctuations which should be taken into account. Posting about the origins of Christmas at Easter will not assist you in rising up the SERPs, so keep your new content related to the season and you should see an increase in your rankings on seasonal searches.
All of these factors will help your site rise in the rankings if applied to your site and promoted using white hat internet marketing strategies.
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