It’s no surprise that Google takes into account a number of different factors when determining your place on the search engine results page (SERP). But sometimes even just a few quick and easy updates across your site’s content, metadata, and links can have more of an impact than you think!
While it’s always a good idea to add up-to-date and relevant content on your site, there may be a simpler option: updating your old content. First off, your existing pages have already established some history and equity with Google, so they have a head start on getting improved listings for relevant searches than a brand-new page. Also, old, dated content’s value degrades over time in the eyes of Google, and this is taken into consideration when determining the quality (and therefore ranking) of your site and pages. To counteract this, update or enhance your old content. This can include fixing grammatical or spelling errors, optimizing for keywords, improving the content’s accuracy, or adding more up-to-date information like frequently asked questions and answers.
Google views these updates as renewing the freshness of the content, and it is no hidden fact that Google prefers fresh content. Similar to why doctors need to take continuing education courses, new information is seen as more accurate. Even users prefer recent information, as they are more likely to click on a link that has been published or updated within the last year. This in turn can improve your click-through rate, which is a key ranking factor. When you make these updates, be sure to also update the date indicating when it was published, so that you can better showcase the fresh content.
Metadata provides information about the contents of a webpage and is just as beneficial to users as it is to the Google bot in determining your ranking. There are a few types of metadata that you can use to your advantage in improving your site: title tags, meta description, and headings.
Title metadata showcases each page’s title as it’s displayed on search engine results, and is perhaps the most important metadata. Check to ensure your most important pages’ title tag includes rich keywords that are relevant to the page’s topic and your target geographic location. You can check your title tag on desktop by hovering over the browser tab.
Description metadata also shows up in search engine results. This falls just below the title and offers a concise yet appealing snippet regarding what the webpage is about in a few short sentences. Lastly, check to ensure each primary page has headings and subheadings that also highlight important keyword phrases that helps Google and visitors quickly understand what the page and subsections are about.
Users often scan the metadata and click through to the link if the metadata looks like the page may fulfill their search query, and make the page more readable once they’ve opened it. By including relevant and informative metadata, users are more likely to be attracted to your webpage, which can enhance your click-through rate and thus your ranking. Similarly, the Google bot relies on metadata to read your content and understand what it’s about so that it can appropriately rank it. Check with your webmaster on what updates to your meta tags make the most sense on your most important pages.
Broken links on a page hurts your credibility with visitors and Google. As you check your most important pages, be sure to check all your links are accurate. If not, your webmaster can fix or remove them entirely if they no longer add value to your site. Not only can these broken links annoy users, but they can also hurt your ranking as they decrease your site’s value in the eyes of Google. This is increasingly important as Google puts more weight on Page Experience as a ranking factor.
In addition to fixing broken links, you should also look for opportunities to link to new and better sources. Outbound links are important in determining your ranking so it’s advisable that you try to include high-quality and authoritative links where possible. This includes your providers’ profiles on professional associations, organizations, and events, as well as any articles they have written and news they have been mentioned in.
Google places a higher priority on sites that frequently update their content, so even just a few regular updates to your content, metadata, or links can exhibit to Google that your site is valid. More so, the highest-ranking results on the SERP are typically items that have been published within the last year, making it important to stay up to date and active on your site. In order to be a part of this high-ranking crowd, be sure to consider trying out these updates!