Content Freshness: Is it a Google Ranking Factor?

Content Freshness: Is it a Google Ranking Factor?

Content freshness is an important Google ranking factor that is overlooked by many content creators and marketers.

Google scores freshness by using its QDF (query deserves freshness) algorithm to determine whether or not a particular piece of content is relevant for a specific search query that requires up-to-date search results.

According to recent data, many companies under-invest in the content updates/freshness aspect of SEO which leads to them experiencing mediocre results in their marketing.

The graph below shows that, in addition to content freshness, content quality/relevance and backlinks are also ignored by most companies – and these are all things that can be solved by implementing an effective strategy for maintaining content freshness (as you will discover below).


This article takes an in-depth look at content freshness as a Google ranking factor. Read on to find out everything you need to know to help you leverage the power of fresh content in boosting your rankings and growing your business.

Understanding Content Freshness

Fresh content refers to content that was published recently, has been recently updated, or that is updated frequently.

There are many different schools of thought when it comes to the topic of content freshness.

Some SEOs and content strategies consider content freshness to be an SEO best practice. They believe that updating your content frequently helps it get crawled more often, and therefore rank better in Google and other search engines.

Others argue that fresh content doesn’t necessarily result in better rankings in the search engine results pages, but that better-optimized content will perform better in the SERPs.

But what does the data say?

  • Does Google crawl fresh content more frequently?
  • Are rankings impacted by crawl frequency?
  • Does content freshness matter more in certain industries than others?

These are all questions to consider when looking at content freshness as a Google ranking factor.

Why Content Freshness Is Important

Content freshness is vital because searchers need to see results that are recent and relevant. And since Google’s main objective is to provide users with the best possible experience, that is the type of content that the search engine will want to serve them with.

Google’s algorithm allows it to differentiate the different levels of freshness that users need for each of their queries.

For instance, when searching for information on a current event, you may be presented with content ranking at the top of the results page that was published just minutes ago. This means that in order to answer your query, Google’s algorithm determined that age was less important than recency.

What do Experts Say?

Approximately 70% of marketers state that regularly publishing relevant content is the most effective tactic for search engine optimization. According to some of the leading experts online, there are many reasons why content freshness is considered a Google ranking factor.

For one, if the searcher needs fresh content in order to find value, then your rankings on Google will be impacted by the freshness of your content and if the content isn’t fresh, rankings may drop.

Here is what some experts in the digital marketing niche have to say on the issue of content freshness as a Google ranking factor:

What Moz Experts Say

According to Moz experts, there are many different ways in which fresh content may influence your Google rankings, including the following:

  • Freshness based on the inception date of the webpage. The inception date is the date when Google first became aware of the page, such as when the bots first discovered a link to or indexed the document.
  • The number of changes made on the updated content. For instance, if you only change 10% of your document, it won’t have as much impact as updating over 50% of your document.
  • How much of the changes made were to the core areas of the document. Changes made to important areas of a document signal more freshness than those made to less important areas, such as comments, navigation, date/time tags, JavaScript, and so on.

What Search Engine Land Experts Say

According to an article from, Google’s new algorithm helps to make search results fresher in order to provide more relevant results.

The ranking algorithm now shows fresher results faster – something that impacted over 35% of searches and more efficiently determines when to give users more up-to-date and relevant results for the different degrees of content freshness.

It’s clear that search engines love timely, up-to-date, and fresh information.

But, it’s important to keep in mind that while content freshness is important, it doesn’t mean that you can win by making minor changes to the pages on your site, or by publishing lots of new, low-quality pages just to get that freshness boost.

You will only be able to harness the power of fresh content to increase your visibility and ranking by creating high-quality content that is focused on fully satisfying the user’s intent.

How I Approach Content Freshness

I believe that content freshness matters when it comes to ranking on Google. This is especially true when updating old content.

I’ve personally run A/B tests on my websites in an effort to understand how pages are impacted by freshness and in most cases, I’ve seen a positive correlation between updating content and ranking increases.

Below, I have outlined my personal process for ensuring that content freshness has a positive influence on my SEO.

1. Rank Content First

As previously mentioned, one of the ways that Google determines content freshness is by the inception date of the page. In other words, the search engine looks at the dates when it first became aware of the content. That’s why it’s important to rank content first before focusing on revisions.

After your content has been ranked, it’s freshness score may give it a boost for specific search queries, but it will obviously decay over time. As your content becomes older, you can then use revisions and updates as a way to maintain content freshness.

The bottom line is that with all other factors being equal, freshness degrades over time which makes the content less successful for some particular queries.

It’s also important to note that in some cases, older documents could be more favorable for a search query than newer ones, as evidenced in the graph below.


Because of this, it may be beneficial to adjust the content freshness score of a webpage based on the difference of its age compared to the average age of the content in the results page.

2. Review Analytics and Google Search Console Monthly

Yet another approach I use to help maintain the freshness of my content is by reviewing Google search console and analytics every month. It’s important to watch analytics trends to see how they are positively or negatively moving.

Traffic and engagement are two popular metrics that can be used to signal freshness. When Google displays a list of results in response to a search query, the results chosen by the user, as well as the amount of time they spend on the result, are both good indicators of relevance and freshness.

For instance, if users consistently choose and click on a search result that is further down the results page, and if they spend a lot more time engaged with the content on that page compared to other results – including the ones at the top, Google sees this as a sign that the result is more relevant and fresher than the rest.

This can be interpreted to mean that the click-through rate (CTR) of a page is a ranking factor – although that is not always the case.

The bottom line is, if a web page is returned for a specific query and users with the same or similar queries spend more time on average on that document, Google can use this as an indication that the document is fresh and therefore rank it higher in the SERPs.

This is why it’s crucial to review your analytics and Google search console monthly so you can keep an eye on the analytics trends to see how they are moving.

3. Revise Content Quarterly

The rate at which you change your documents is important when it comes to content freshness. If the content on your website is changed more frequently, it will score differently than content that is only changed every few years.

That’s why I like to revise content quarterly. I use Google Search Console to review Impression and click data, but also pay close attention to average position and impressions to confirm that the phrases haven’t simply lost search volume due to seasonal searches or users searching less.

I’ve taken up this practice in the last year and, generally speaking, it has helped me make more money blogging than most of the other tactics I’ve learned over the years.

4. Revise/Publish Articles Completely

Another effective way I use for ensuring content freshness is to revise the articles in full and republish them as new. For this, don’t forget to use proper tools for your blog so that you can update everything easily depending on what platform you’re on.

This signals to Google that a major revision has been done and will earn you a much higher freshness score than simply revising or updating some of the information on the page.

Although changes to core content are important, you will get a stronger signal of content freshness by revising and republishing the articles completely.  On a side note, I also like to use a social media scheduling tool to push my content out on Social after publishing.  While I don’t have any data showing that this improves ranking, it’s just something I like to do to signal a share soon after the revisions I completed.

According to a recent report from Social Media Examiner, over 58% of marketers state that original written content ranks among the most important types of content for experiencing high ROI from their marketing efforts.

This is not surprising when you consider the vast benefits that come with using fresh, original, high-value content:


5. Submit to Google Search Console

The final step I take toward ensuring the freshness of the content on my site is to submit the revised articles to Google Search Console to have them recrawl the content and potentially rank it higher in the SERP.

Once you have completed this step, you can then market your content like it’s fresh and keep an eye on how Google sees your site and the different ways you can optimize your content to achieve even higher rankings on the search engine.


Freshness is a ranking factor that is dependent on the specific query of the user. This means that it’s deemed more important in some search queries than others.

When it’s important for users to see recent news, freshness plays a major role. For instance, if someone were to Google “latest developments in coronavirus vaccine” Google knows that the user will want to see the most recent news.

However, in other instances, freshness plays a less important role. For instance, if someone Google’s “how to tie a bow tie”, Google knows that guides written 10 years ago may still be as good as one that was written yesterday since the process of tying a bow tie hasn’t changed in the last decade.

So if your content is for satisfying a query that isn’t time-sensitive, then this ranking factor may not be such a big deal.

The best way to leverage the power of content freshness as a Google ranking factor is to look at various search results for your target keywords in order to assess how important freshness is for each one.

If freshness is important for a particular keyword, you can choose between updating the page frequently or publishing new articles on the topic on a consistent basis in order to keep up with demand.

On the other hand, if freshness is of very little importance, you can focus your efforts on creating the best guide on that topic and then update or refresh the content when rankings begin to drop.


Ron Stefanski is an online entrepreneur and marketing professor who has a passion for helping people create and market their own online business.  You can learn more from him by visiting 

You can also connect with him on YouTube or Linkedin or in his Facebook Community.

5-Step Formula to Ranking Premium Content in Google

5-Step Formula to Ranking Premium Content in Google

If you want to rank at the top of the search results, you need to know everything about your competition and the content you are writing about. The same holds true even if you are trying to rank your site with long tail keywords or in less competitive markets. No matter what your site is or the market you are currently in, Google is only going to list so many websites in their first page organic listings… and we all know that the first page is the only place that matters.

What most site owners and bloggers don’t realize is that ‘content creation’ is a long term game and it’s one that takes a lot of patience to see results with. However, there are methods to speed up this process. With all of this in mind, today I wanted to share with you a simple 5-step formula for maximizing your content creation and search ranking efforts, while also speeding the process up as much as possible.

1 – Decide on Your Topic and Niche Audience

Before starting a new website or blog, you need to first know why you are creating a site in the first place, who it’s targeting and how you are going to make money with it. While most bloggers will just go live with their site and plan on monetizing it later on, this is a long and tedious process — especially if you are waiting around for your content to start indexing within Google. However, there are some tips and tricks to speed up this process. For a more detailed approach, Neil Patel wrote up a great resource guide on how to rank your site in the search results faster.

Companies that Blog

Blogging is completely changing the way content is created on the internet and how businesses rank in the search results. Businesses with a blog not only tend to create more valuable content for their audiences, but they also rank more often and have increased traffic.

In short, the more you know about your site, audience, and content before getting started, the more likely you are to find success.

2 – Create Your Content and Monetization Strategy

Once you’ve decided on your content focus and niche market, it’s time to scope out your competition. Search Google to see what other sites are ranking for keywords you would like your site to rank for, while also seeing what type of content they are creating. Tools like SEMRush and Long Tail Pro are great for digging deep into the search rankings and analytics of your competition, while also seeing how likely it might be for your site to outrank them.

3 – Make Your Content Better than the Competition

While checking out your competition in the search results, it’s important that you spend a decent amount of time on your content creation. Google loves ranking content that is over 1,000+ words long and goes above and beyond. A perfect example of this would be a detailed resource guide that includes original images, data charts to backup information, videos and even infographics if you can find the time to create one.

The combination of creating killer content and including an engaging infographic to go along with it is something some of the best blogs in the world do to consistently stay ahead of the competition. The concept of this model is to have written content that walks the user through the process of how to create a blog, while also showing them visuals in infographic form — for those who don’t want to read through the 1,500+ words of text.


4 – Reach Out to Relevant Industry Sites for Backlinks

Content creation is just one component to the success of your site. While it’s a major component to ranking and user experience, the real factor to getting your site to rank in Google is the backlinks and references you will receive from other sites. Not only does your content need backlinks, they also need to be from relevant and authority sites.

To accomplish this, you have a few different options. The first is to start doing your own outreach and guest blogging on other sites while referencing back to your own site and content when applicable. The other is to manually contact all sites within your niche to see if they would like to reference your resource guide or feature your infographic on their site. They key here is to provide value and to make it as easy as possible for them to complete this task while also benefiting from it.

5 – Monitor Your Results and Repeat the Process

The last part of the process is to monitor your results and to then repeat the process. I mentioned that content creation is important, but once your content is finished and live, you won’t really need to mess with it again. The rest of your time and focus should be spent on your content outreach and getting more awareness for your site.

Continue to monitor your search rankings and see what new keywords you might be ranking for. As you continue to see new search phrases and keywords creep up on Google, be sure to link other content on your site using back to your new article using a similar set of keywords, as this will also help with your search rankings.

SEO - Search Engine Optimization is growing

Content outreach and link building is something that you should also continually focus on. Go after higher quality links than smaller sites, as they will push a lot more SEO juice and value to your site.

How to Rank Any Content in Google

Even with over a billion active sites on the internet today, it’s still possible to rank new websites and content at the top of Google. All you need to do is produce high-quality content and make sure you follow each of the methods outlined about.

Remember, it’s easy to go live with a website and content — it’s not so easy to get an audience and find success. You need to work for it!

Long Form Content SEO Ranking Strategy: 11 Must Follow Tips to Rank

Long Form Content SEO Ranking Strategy: 11 Must Follow Tips to Rank

Long Form Content SEO Ranking Strategy: 11 Must Follow Tips to Rank

long form content seo

Have you ever written a piece of long-form content or eBook of 4000 words and above before?

If you haven’t, you probably don’t know the benefits and think that it’s just a lot of pointless work. But if you have, you already know that while it is indeed a lot of work, the result of that work can mean a great difference in search engine rankings. Earlier I wrote about two important things to make your long form content rank & many readers asked for a more detailed guide on this and here we are.

Now, let’s say that you want to set up your own business. You lie awake every night terrified that your business might end up being a failure.

Then, one day, you see an A-Z guide for starting any business, and fortunately, this guide clears all your doubts and helps you to get started. This guide is loaded with all the information you need, and after devouring it, you begin to trust the people that created it.

So the next time you need to get anything for your business, like project management software, or advice on how to manage your work-life balance, you now have a trusted source to go to.

That is the benefit of creating informative, in-depth, long-form content.

To put it succinctly, long-form content will get you more of what you want from your blog – more visibility, improved engagement and social shares, more backlinks (which means a higher ranking in SERPs), and most of all, it will make your audience start seeing you as the ultimate authority in your industry.

However, this post is not about the importance of long form content.

Instead, I’m here to share with you:

11 SEO Hacks For Creating & Ranking Long Form Content

1. Start With Keyword Research

Before writing your long form post, take the time to search for the best focus keyword on the topic, and also consider targeting a lower competition keyword.

Just ensure you carry out this step correctly because it will ultimately determine the success of your content in search engines.

There are many amazing tools on the internet that will make your keyword research task effortless.

Two of my favorites are:


2. Target Long Tail Keywords

Now, you already know that you should have a focus keyword while writing your long form blog post. But what a lot of people don’t know is that they should be targeting long tail keywords.

These are the type of keywords that get super specific on any topic. Long tail keywords are usually much easier to rank and drive in highly targeted traffic.

Below is an example of long tail keywords which I got from the popular tool:

Target Long Tail Keywords

You can also use the same tool to gather as many long tail keywords as possible. But, if you’re having trouble coming up with more of such keywords, another good place to look at is the “related searches” section in Google:

Searches related to long form content

3. Optimize and Clean Your URL

It’s been confirmed that cleaner and shorter URLs help search engines better understand what your post is talking about, and they also provide a better user experience.

Also, you want to ensure your URL contains your target keyword; this will enable it to rank better.

Optimize and Clean Your URL

Short and concise is best.

4. Use A Proper H1 Tag

Your H1 tag will always be the first thing people see when they arrive at your blog posts.

Typically, your H1 tag is usually your blog post title.

Use A Proper H1 Tag

A good H1 tag can significantly impact your search engine ranking.

The chart below shows the search engine ranking result gotten from a local car parts store in Houston, Texas after they changed some of their page titles and H1 tags:

H1 tag impact search engine ranking

A well optimized H1 tag will enable the search engines to better index your content.

Ideally, your H1 tags should:

  • Be short and to the point.
  • Provide a clear idea of what the blog post is about.
  • Have a long tail keyword (your target keyword).

Once your headings have these qualities, you’re good to go.

5. Add Good Subheadings

In an article posted on LinkedIn Pulse, Keren Lerner stated that “Your headlines may be catchy. Your writing may be amazing. You may have well-crafted words, punchy sentences, and incredible insight into the minds of your reader. But if your blog [post] is longer than 150 words, you need to add sub-headings – or build them in as you go!”

According to her, this is because, “big block of texts can feel like a chore to read.”

In case you don’t know, subheadings are the h2, h3, and h4 tags usually contained in a blog post.

Use subheadings to break up your content into easy to follow chunks. This will help your readers navigate and skim your content better.

6. Add Inbound Links

Internal links refer to any links from one page on a website that points to another page on the same site. It’s one of the methods smart bloggers and content marketers use to tell Google and website visitors that a particular page of content is relevant.

There are many benefits associated with internal linking, some of which include:

  • It helps to boost your ranking for certain keywords.
  • It helps search engines easily crawl your site.
  • It can help you to promote some paid services.
  • It gives your audience further reading options.

7. Add Outbound Links

Just like inbound links, linking out to related pages in your niche tells Google that your page is of higher quality; it also helps search engines figure out your exact topic.

According to Brian from Backlinko, “Not linking out might be the #1 on-page SEO mistake that I see people make. I try to use 2-4x outbound links per 1000 words. That’s a good rule of thumb for most sites.”

Brian's take

8. Optimize Your Title Tag

Title tags are incredibly essential; a properly optimized title tag will drastically enhance your page’s visibility in SERPs. They’re usually the very first thing people see when your content shows up in the search results.

For the sake of clarity, a title tag is the title of each result that comes up.

Here’s an example:

Optimize Your Title Tag

While writing your page’s title tag, ensure it contains your focus keyword and also describes the benefits the page offers.

9. Optimize Your Meta Description For SEO

A meta description is a 160 character snippet that summarizes a page’s content.

Optimize Your Meta Description For SEO

Just like the title tag, your page’s meta description will enable your post to stand out in the search engine result pages.

A properly optimized meta description should:

  • Include a focus keyword.
  • Be brief (about 160 characters).
  • Be crystal clear and descriptive.
  • Contain a call-to-action (CTA).
  • Be enchanting and entice the visitor to read the entire page.

10. Include Multimedia

You already know that content marketing is not about just text. Text alone can only take you so far. Entertaining videos, images, screenshots, diagram, and charts can take you a lot further.

They will:

  • Boost the time spent on your site.
  • Reduce your bounce rate.

These are the two important user-interaction ranking factors that Google has been using to judge web pages recently.

You must have noticed that I often use a lot of images, charts, and screenshots on my blog posts; this is simply because I know the benefits they add to my content. Apart from boosting time on site and reducing bounce rate, they will also enhance the perceived value of the page, which will equally increase the likelihood of people linking to it.

Therefore, while writing your long form content, try and add as many relevant multimedia as possible.

11. Add Your Target Keyword And Related Keywords

It is important to include your focus keyword in the body of your blog post. However, you should not overdo things – just ensure it’s in there a few times.

This will make Google understand that your focus keyword is important while crawling your content.

Also, sprinkle in some related, low competition keywords throughout the content to enable you rank for even more focused long tail keywords.

Finally, it’s also advisable to mention your keyword toward the last paragraph of your article, and also in some of your subheadings. However, always remember to tread with caution and don’t over do it.

Performing Proper SEO Of Long Form Content

Long form content is truly effective in positioning you as an authority on your topic, and also effective for enhancing your search engine ranking. However, this can only be achieved with solid SEO practices – like these 11 points.

Remember that this is not a complete list of everything needed to have a great SEO. These are merely the basics that will help you craft the best long form content on any topic.

Like you already know, search engine optimization is a long term strategy and not something you should expect seeing results in immediately.

In order for it to really have the best effect possible, you need patience.

Implement these techniques, and then watch, with patience, as your rankings skyrocket.

Do you have any more SEO ranking tips for long form content you’d like to share with us? Which one of these ranking tips do you often forget to implement? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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