Gone are the days when people memorized website URLs to get the information or service they want. With the exception of a few popular websites like http://eBay.com, http://NBA.com, and http://CNN.com people have come to rely more and more on search engines to get to websites containing the information or service they need. Because of this, search engine optimization has become an invaluable tool in website design for people and companies to be able to reach their target audience. Without search engine optimization, even a quality website would find it difficult to reach a very wide audience.
Factors Affecting Page Rank
Search engine optimization (SEO) is simply the method of increasing a web site’s ranking in search engine results listing. According to an article by SEO experts, the top ten ranking factors that can influence a web document’s rank at the major search engines like Yahoo!, MSN, Google & AskJeeves for a particular term or phrase are the following: Title Tag, Anchor Text of Links, Keyword Use in Document Text, Accessibility of Document, Links to Document from within the Site (Internal Pages), Primary Subject Matter of Site, External Links to Linking Pages, Link Popularity of Site in Topical Community, Global Link Popularity of Site, and Keyword Spamming. Note, however, that although keyword density does affect page rank it is often frowned on as is considered to be a questionable technique when it is over 10 to 20% the actual content since it appears to be spamming then.
The Effect of Fresh Content in SEO
It is not enough for your website to apply the other SEO techniques like meta tag optimization and link analysis. Fresh content, meaning relevant content delivered on a regular basis is imperative to a successful SEO. Although not mentioned as one of the top ten ranking factor, one of the recurring factors affecting page rank mentioned in SEO articles is content. Not just any content but the freshness and consistency of content. Since it is a factor mentioned in many existing articles I’ve come across, common sense dictates that the freshness of content is indeed an important factor in page ranking. Major search engines like Google are known to rank pages not only according to the relevancy of the content but also according to how fresh the content is. Dated content can lower the page rank of an otherwise well designed website and ruin SEO efforts. A fresh content on the other hand will contribute to the success of search engine optimization.
Ways to Deliver Fresh Content on a Regular Basis
However for SEO to be successful the fresh content delivered by the website should be in a form that is readable to search engine. Ordinary content writers, of course wouldn’t know how to make their content readable by search engines. The good news is that there is no special effort needed on the part of content writer to make their content readable by search engines. All that is needed is a good dynamic, database driven content management system (CMS).
Content management systems might seem hard to manage but they are actually relatively easy once you get the hang of it and get past the learning stage. Learning to use them can, however, prove to be tricky. It is best to get the help of web developers when setting up a website’s content management system. CMSs are however very useful especially for websites with multiple users who can contribute to the site’s content. Mambo and PHPNuke are recommended for starters.
Another way to deliver fresh content at a regular basis is by using a weblog. Maintaining a weblog is an easy and cost effective way of updating your site. A good weblog should always be frequently updated, full of rich and informative articles, and should allow readers to post comments. According to an article by Matt Foster, aside from the ability to add fresh content regularly, a weblog integrated in your website will also achieve the following desirable results:
* It will increase the amount of inbound links to your website
* It will increase the frequency at which the web search engines will spider or crawl your website ( this is due to the frequent update in content )
* It will increase the interactivity for the web user; and
* It will ultimately improve your search engine ranking.
Two of examples of good easy to use blogging tools that can be integrated into websites are Blogger and WordPress.
For those who are a bit more tech savvy and know how to use Macromedia Dreamweaver, Dreamweaver is a design software that can help you update your website with more control. With Dreamweaver you can add or change not only the written content but the whole look from color schemes to fonts and even the layout of your website. But if you do not have a need for such control over your website and feel a bit daunted by Dreamweaver, Macromedia Contribute would be a good option. There are, of course other design software out there, which you can use.
The Importance of Fresh Content Beyond SEO
After learning how to regularly deliver fresh content to optimize your website’s rank it is important to know that its importance and effect to your website goes way beyond that. Aside from the success it contributes to SEO efforts, fresh content will not only get the website noticed by search engines but is imperative in keeping the website audience. People usually go on the net not just for relevant information but for timely information as well. After the search engines show a website as a result of a search string and people get to visit the site it is up to the fresh content to convince the people to keep on coming back to the site. If the website content is outdated and is updated rather infrequently and erratically, the chances of the target audience going back to the site on a regular basis, if at all, will be rather slim. Even the best SEO efforts will be wasted if the target audience decides that the website is not worth visiting. Therefore fresh content really is one of the keys to a successful SEO and thus a successful website.