SEO tips for 2014: Keep content and site layout fresh

11/02/2014

As Google implements it’s latest ‘Hummingbird’ algorithm, many site owners have noticed that long held top positions on Google are being lost to new sites. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team explains why past success on SEO does not guarantee success in this new era of search, and offers advice on retaining that vital top spot in the rankings.

Watch the full video here:

When a site ranks very well and for a long period of time, the webmaster is often worried about changing anything that could affect the rankings.

As a consequence, that site can become outdated, with searchers gravitating towards fresher sites.

The latest Google webmaster help video from Matt Cutts addresses the topic of what an older site can do to maintain its ranking over time.

The Webmaster Help video was posted yesterday in answer to the question, "How can an older site maintain its ranking over time?".

Cutts replied that the best thing to do is to take a fresh look at a site; many more established domains may find they have not updated their site design or layout in many years, with the result that they look stale to today's users.

Traditionally, an older domain can be favourable for good rankings, as it can build up trust, authority and backlinks over a longer period of time. Meanwhile, the 'freshness' of content on a site has always been important in SEO, with regular page updates or blog or news articles helping to show Google the site is up-to-date and bring in new visitors.

However, Cutts has now reiterated Google's focus on user experience and functionality as being a crucial factor, suggesting people preferring a site - either demonstrated in engagement metrics or in an increased number of backlinks - will lead to it rising in the rankings.

"Take a fresh look at your site," Cutts said. "A lot of the times if you land on yur site from a search result, even if they've been in business for 15 years, 14 years, sometimes they haven't updated their template or their page layout or anything in years and years and years. And it looks like, frankly, a stale sort of older site, and that's the sort of thing where users might not be as happy about that."

"I wouldn't just say 'I'm number one for now and everything is great' because newer sites, more agile sites, more hungry sites, more sites that have a better user experience, they can grow and they can eclipse you if you don't continue to adapt and evolve and move with the times," Cutts said.

"Are you still providing the best user experience?" Cutts said. "If something is not as fresh as some of the experiences that you get from some of these newer websites, that can have fantastic design, then eventually people might prefer that experience and up migrating and leaving you behind."

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