Fresh content? I’m not selling produce! Why do I need fresh online content? There are many reasons. One big one is that Google likes active websites that provide consistent, changing content on a regular basis. Think about it this way…when you search for something online, you most likely want new content that is at least somewhat recent…right? The search engines want the same thing. They know you want fresh, contemporary results, so they also like fresh, contemporary websites. Disclaimer: this doesn’t necessarily apply to EVERY online search. You can always find something that returns a 12-year-old article ahead of ones that are 12 weeks old. This is more of a general rule of thumb.

An article on Kissmetrics.com comparing SEO companies and Content Marketers points out that, “Google likes fresh content, and they have for a long time. If you know SEO, you know that fresh content gets rapidly indexed, and registers higher in the SERPs than older low-value content.” So, what does this mean for your business? It means you need a strategy to update your website with fresh content on a consistent basis. This is something that you either do for yourself, or you hire someone to do for you. There are plus and minuses to both approaches.

Providing fresh content takes time. Sometimes it takes hours and hours depending on the topic and your skill as a writer. Hiring someone to do it for you brings a hard cost to your content marketing and SEO efforts. But, if it frees up the “hours and hours”, it may well be worth it. That’s a decision that you’ll have to make for yourself as a business owner. Just like anything that you don’t do on a regular basis, you’re bound to be slower at this than someone that does it on a regular basis. What is the cost of not hiring someone to handle your content marketing for you? A recent article on CareerPlug.com said, “the cost of not hiring could also mean losing potential business because you don’t have enough hours in the day” or “maybe you fall behind on some spreadsheets or keep working ten or twenty extra hours a week to keep up.”

If you decide to do it yourself, you’ll need a plan…and you’ll need to stick to it. Try coming up with a list of topics to last you a few months based on your proposed posting schedule. If you want to post once a week, then you’ll need 12 to 14 topics. Once you’ve come up with the schedule and a list of topics, then sit down and figure out when you’re at your creative peak. For me, it’s first thing in the morning. The later it gets in the day, the more difficult it is for me to come up with the right words (as I sit and type this at nearly 8:00pm). Next, just set aside some time for the next week or so and crank out as many pages as you can manage without losing your mind, or your creative flow. If you can stockpile a dozen articles or so, you’ll be able to relax for a bit and just worry about getting them posted on time.

Of course, there’s more to improving your website traffic than just adding content. You’ll need to make technical decisions about your content to make sure it performs as best as possible. People realize today more than ever that SEO and content marketing are not separate silos that never interact. They work together! So, I’ll ask again, how fresh is your online content? And more importantly, what happens to your rankings if it’s not? If your rankings are struggling, think about adding relevant content that provides a resource for consumers. Ask “what do my customers want?” and try to answer those questions as often as possible.