Winning with Google’s Freshness Factor
Google’s emphasis on fresh content is commonly known as “The Freshness Factor” and it weighs heavily in search results. Depending on your business and industry, this presents a serious challenge to you and your staff to consistently provide fresh content that is highly relevant and engaging. The freshness factor is big, so it absolutely cannot be ignored. Aside from freshness for ranking purposes, it is clearly important and beneficial for your readers to continue to see you as an authority; a credible and reliable source of new and updated information on all of the relevant topics and issues.
Remember, Google loves freshness but you are writing for people, not Google. Google’s technology has progressed to the point where they can tell the difference between great content, good content and poor content. Whether you are writing new content (articles, blog posts, press releases, etc) or you are updating existing content to keep the information current and relevant, you are providing value to people while at the same time maintaining freshness for search engine purposes.
The Optimum7 Approach to Fresh Content
At Optimum7, we are building our article writing capacity towards an intermediate goal of 10 Power Articles weekly. Power Article is a term coined by our company and refers to content that is relevant, credible and authoritative of 1500-2000 words generally. The purpose of publishing Power Articles is to build authority within your niche, receive quality links back to your site and greater Social Media shares. It’s our in-house strategy to meeting the demands, the requirements of past, present and future Panda-Penguins and guess what, it works! So, here’s a little something to help you keep the ball rolling by consistently publishing fresh, high quality content.
1. Begin Brainstorming Early
Let’s say, you’ve got exactly one week to flesh out a Power Article. Plenty of time… Right? Wrong! Don’t fall victim to procrastination. Do yourself a favor and start jotting down your topic ideas early. We understand that your weekends are precious, but surely it can’t hurt to start thinking. Even if it’s just thinking… because we all know how crazy Mondays can get! Believe it or not, a lot of the trials and tribulations you overcome and tasks you complete each day at work may be Power Article worthy. This is often the best option; to write about what you already know through real world experiences. Take a moment to think about what exactly it was that you learned at work last week. Is it something that others in your industry are interested in learning too? How To’s and Tips are great for growing mindshare as readers will find this information genuinely helpful and share it via Social Media – which is exactly what you want as Google uses such “social signals” to index your content and rank it accordingly.
2. Know What Others Are Writing About
Still stuck? Don’t worry. It happens to the best of us – especially if you’re writing for a niche. So, why not turn to your industry experts or the daily news for a little inspiration? It’s always beneficial to know who the thought leaders are and what the thought leaders and journalists are writing about. The good news is that the convenient functionality of an RSS feed allows you to subscribe to a blog so that you no longer have to manually check them for new content. Free tools such as Google Trends and Google Insights for Search are also fantastic for monitoring the news. So, first create a list of your top 10 industry experts and reporters. Subscribe to their RSS feed. Add them on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (as they’ll be more than likely to also share their content on these popular Social Media sites). The more you read, the more you’ll be able to give back. I’m not suggesting you steal their ideas but to read their content to inspire or ignite your own brain power to generate great content Why not try responding directly to their material or branching off with a new or alternative perspective?
3. Listen to What Others are Saying
Still stuck? Sign up for Twitter! Already got an account? Take advantage of it! Many forget that Twitter is not only a great medium for promoting your content but it’s also a great way to keep tabs in the online arena and to learn what others are talking about. The trending topics feature is always a great place to start looking. Since you’ve already added your top 10 industry experts, you’ll also be able to see what they’re tweeting about in your live tweet feed. Another clever way to come with new content ideas is to skim the comments of blog posts and see the burning questions people still have about the post and write an article that directly answers their questions within your article. Again, this will grow mindshare as people will begin to see you as the go-to source for all their problems.
4. Work with Your Colleagues
Tick tock, tick tock. Time is ticking! We’re afraid that this is the last option we’ve got for you. If you’re still at a complete loss and it’s already the middle of the week, you may have to seek the help of a coworker. Sometimes you just can’t make it on your own and it’s important to swallow your pride and team up with a colleague in order to get the task done. Are you good with words but maybe not so knowledgeable about the industry? Team up with a knowledgeable colleague… Are you knowledgeable about the industry but hate writing? Team up with someone who loves writing… Simple! Take advantage of your team’s strengths and acknowledge your own weaknesses. You’ll not only publish a fresh, high quality article but you may even get it written much more efficiently than you could have done all by your lonesome. It’s all about TEAM WORK!
5. Create a Brilliant Outline
Make your task seem less overwhelming by breaking your content down into manageable sections. First do your research, think about your sub headers and then allocate a word limit to each section so you don’t get carried away on one particular point. Leave perfecting your title, introduction and conclusion until last as your body copy should assist you to whip these up with ease.
- Introduction – 150 words
-Sub heading 1 – 250 words
-Sub heading 2 – 250 words
-Sub heading 3 – 250 words
-Sub heading 4 – 250 words
-Sub heading 5 – 250 words
- Conclusion – 150 words
- References – Copy and paste sources you come across during the research phase into your outline for quick reference.
If you’ve chosen Step 4 and elicited the assistance of a coworker, ask them to provide you with a brilliant outline for you to use as the foundation of your Power Article. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to throw together once you’ve got it all in front of you!
6. Write Drunk, Edit Sober
Before you start reaching for a Bud Light, let me explain that you don’t have to become a drunk like Hemingway to come up with some really stellar content. By writing drunk, we mean that you simply have to let go of some of your inhibitions. Sometimes writing well means that you have to suspend the laws of grammar and just get your thoughts down on paper. If you can’t find the right word, change the color of the font and use a thesaurus later. This is called “stream of conscious” writing where you write continuously and don’t stop. Don’t distract yourself or interrupt the flow of your thoughts by fretting over whether something makes sense or if there’s a better way to say it. There is always enough time to remove your beer goggles, sober up, go back with a fresh set of eyes and edit for grammar and clarity.
7. Ask for Feedback and Suggestions
The only way to improve the quality of your content is to always be open to constructive criticism. Asking for feedback and suggestions from your team is a great way to steer clear of your own personal bias towards what you’ve written. Sometimes you come to the point where you have read, edited, reread and reedited your piece that you can no longer see it clearly. You read what you meant to say, rather than what you actually said. By asking your team for help, they can make sure you stay accurate and clear throughout your writing. Asking for feedback and suggestions is how you grow as a writer. Having people point out places where you can be clearer, need more detail or where you go off on a tangent will ultimately help you see these things as you edit your own work and anticipate them. It also provides an opportunity for someone else to make a point or come up with an example that can improve the overall value of the article for the reader.
8. Rewrite Old Content
Rewrites play an important role in maintaining your existing ranks. Some of your best content (most frequently visited pages) needs special attention. These pages are highly visible so they get lots of traffic. KEEP THEM FRESH! … add new data, update your thoughts, and add a new wrinkle. You will keep your audience engaged and you will you’re your page high on the search engines because it’s a freshened page. It works for people and it works for Google. It’s a perfect cycle. It’s much easier and quicker to rewrite old content than to write something from scratch. It’s important, however, to not get confused between editing and rewriting. Rewriting involves much more than simply rearranging and adding a few words here and there.
9. Take Advantage of Guest Authors and Interviews
Let’s face it… Things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes you have a week from hell that leaves you scrambling to get your article written. Never, however, sacrifice the quality of your work due to time constraints. If you’re seriously in a rush, seek the help of a guest author. While guest blogging on high authority websites is fundamental for SEO success, you can also benefit by offering guest blogging opportunities on your own website or blog. Create a button on your website that is visible and easy to locate for potential guest authors. Conducting an interview is another great option for those crazy weeks. Diversity of voices and opinions is always necessary to keep your blog dynamic and “fresh”. Work on networking with industry power figures and celebrities that can add value to your blog. This will help keep your content crisp as they may know something about the topic that you don’t.
10.Do NOT Ever Stop Writing
Sigh of relief… You’ve done it! Congratulations! But don’t get too comfortable just yet. It’s important to get into the habit of consistently publishing fresh, high quality content. If you’re on a roll, do NOT stop! Remember that writing is a lot like running. Once you start running, you can reach what’s called a “Runners High”. You’ve literally become an adrenaline junkie and just can’t stop running! But once you stop running it’s not easy to get back into the swing of things. The same applies to writing. Once you stop, it’s not easy to pick it back up again. Try and aim for that “Writers High” where you just can’t stop publishing fresh, high quality content!
Optimum7 has successfully managed Google’s freshness factor for its diverse range of clients. Contact us today to start publishing fresh, high quality content on your blog that will rank higher in the search results.