November 10, 2010

How Often Is Too Often to Update My Site?


Hostway Team

By Monique Martin

When it comes to SEO, there’s nothing more important than having quality content on your website. But can you have too much of a good thing? Is there a point where you can actually hurt your PageRank by updating too often?

Feed the Spiders

Search engines index pages by using bots or spiders to crawl through the Web to “read” pages. If a website has been updated, the spider crawls it. The more often a site is updated, they more often it’s crawled. Publishing fresh content will “feed” the spiders and increase your crawl rate, but it’s no guarantee of increased PageRank.

Quality Content Is King

Simply adding new pages to your Web site might get it crawled more frequently, but if the content isn’t unique and relevant, you can actually hurt your cause. Google and the other search engines don’t just want new pages, they want new content. To make sure your updates are helping your site, follow these basic guidelines.

  • Content should be unique. Don’t fall for scraping scams where you can buy cheap content just to have new pages for your site. Updating for the sake of updating is a waste of time and resources.
  • Content should be relevant. Make sure your new pages have a reason for being there. They should be relevant to your product or service.
  • Content should be keyword rich, but not stuffed. A good rule of thumb is that your pages should have a keyword density (the frequency with which keywords appear) of about three to five percent.

What’s the Frequency?

There's no magic number. Updating your website isn’t just about keeping the spiders fed, it’s about keeping your customers interested and engaged. How often would you like customers to return to your site? The answer to that question should give you an idea of the update frequency needed. If you want people to come back to your site daily, you need daily updates. For most sites once or twice a week is sufficient.

Updates don’t have to be Gone with the Wind either. You can add a few small bits as long as they bring something to the table.

The Missing Link(s)

Good SEO is like keeping a dozen plates spinning at the same time. You can add oodles of quality content, but if you ignore the other aspects of SEO, you’ll sink in the rankings. Luckily, good content doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s link-bait, the good kind. The more quality content you provide, the more others will want to link to it.

If content is king, links are the queen. Quality (there’s that word again) inbound links are critical to your Web site’s success in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).

Tip: Don’t forget to link to relevant pages within your site. Internal linking is a spider favorite’s snack.

Create your site for your customers and optimize it for the spiders. Your site is a living thing. It has to keep growing and changing. Nurture it and your business will grow too.

About the Author

Monique Martin served as chief operating officer for a successful online insurance marketing firm for five years.

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