The why, when and how of updating your website content.

It’s a common misconception that once you create and upload a piece of content to your website, the hard work is done.

In reality, even evergreen content (content that stays relevant indefinitely) needs to be updated regularly to stay fresh and see maximum SEO benefit.

While it’s important to have a steady stream of new content on your website, it’s equally important to ensure your existing content is up-to-date.

Here’s what you need to know about updating your content to keep your search engine rankings healthy.

Why should you update your website content?

Google’s algorithm looks at a page’s ‘freshness’ when determining its rank in search results. When a piece of content is first published it’s naturally going to be seen as fresh, but this decreases over time.

Updating website content signals to Google that the page is still relevant. In other words, regularly making changes to your content helps ensure it continues to rank in search engine results. Moreover, fresh content provides a better experience for your audience.

However, it’s not enough to simply edit the ‘published’ date on a blog or add a new heading to a landing page. Changes made to ‘important’ areas of a page (such as the body text) signal freshness to search engines more than minor tweaks – so updates should be substantial enough to make an impact.

What types of content should be updated?

Generally, all your website content can benefit from being reviewed and updated regularly. This includes your:

  • Homepage
  • About page
  • Product or service landing pages
  • Blogs

And any other pages with text or other content on your website.

How often should you update your website content?

There’s no hard-and-fast answer to this question and it really depends on the type of content and how often you can manage it (small business owners are busy enough as it is!).

With that said, core website pages such as your homepage and about page could benefit from being updated every six months or so. Other pieces of content such as evergreen articles and landing pages should be updated more regularly to ensure they’re relevant and informative.

Also consider the performance of individual pages. If a piece of content such as a landing page or long-form article was once generating traffic to your site but has started to slow down, it may be a sign that it’s time to update.

RELATED: 9 basic SEO tips to help boost your Google rank.

Tips for updating your website content.

Add 200 words or so of new text: Regardless of what type of content you’re updating, adding new text is an easy way to keep it fresh. You can also replace old text with new text if you don’t want the page to be too text-heavy.

Review your keywords: Search queries change over time, so it’s a good idea to do some research and make sure your content is still optimised with relevant keywords.

Check your links: Ensure all the links in your content still work, and if not, update or remove them.

Make sure it’s valuable: Above all, your website content should be helpful and relevant to your audience. With this in mind, the most important consideration is to make sure your content is still accurate and valuable (which will help your rankings as well).

For example, if you’re an accountant, a guide on how to create a Christmas budget would be considered valuable and relevant content. An article about how to choose Christmas decorations, on the other hand, would not.

Don’t forget about new content: Creating new content regularly is still important, and should be a part of your overall content marketing strategy.

Keeping a website updated does take time, but the results are worth it. Your audience will appreciate the value you provide, and you’ll achieve more SEO benefits for every piece of content you create.