Combine Freshness and Links for Long-Term Results

Last weekend, we learned of the death of beloved U.S. newsman Tim Russert. Within minutes, Google’s results reflected the news in its index. Most of the Top 10 ranked URLs on a search for his name were related to the (very) recent news of his passing.

That’s the “new” reality of SEO, and goes to the heart of why every company should create fresh content.

Fresh content will help you achieve top rankings right away, and help your Web site become an “authority” site. Search engines love fresh content and deep Web sites.

Blogs are the best way to continue to add fresh content to your site, and through RSS and social media marketing efforts, you can easily generate traffic, and a large number of relevant links, to the post. (As an aside, deep linking — links to pages deep within your Web site — is an area that most Webmasters overlook. They’re all too concerned with targeting links to the Web site’s home page.)

Case No. 1: Excel Tips

One of the guys on my company’s development team wrote a post titled “Excel Tips,” and had this blog post ranked on the first page of Google (in the universal results and news results) within an hour or so for the search phrase “Excel.” This ranking lasted four days.

Four days later, the post no longer ranked anywhere for “Excel,” or for the far less competitive phrase “Excel tips,” even though the title tag, header tag, and content support the keyword “Excel Tips.” It just didn’t get the right links to the post to make it “stick.”

These types of rankings (blog posts and the like) don’t last, unless you have a concerted effort to generate links and traffic to the post. Otherwise, these rankings will come and go. If we were able to get a link from Microsoft pointing to this post with the anchor text “Excel Tips,” I’m willing to bet that the post would still rank, particularly for the keyword phrase “Excel tips.”

Case No. 2: Free SEO RFP Template

Several weeks ago on my site, I offered a free SEO RFP template to the general public. I mentioned this in an au Natural column, had the anchor text “Free SEO RFP Template” pointing to my post, and voila, that post ranks number one on Google for the keyword “free SEO RFP template.” Today, I’ll link to the same post using the words SEO RFP and we’ll see by next week if this link bumps the ranking up to number one from number three (as of the writing of this column) for the keyword search “seo rfp.”

Case No. 3: “Bold Recommendation”

Another example of the power of anchor text in the link, and getting “the right link” rather than a bunch of nothing links, my company has a number one ranking for the search “bold recommendation.” You’ll see that the page mentioned has no words on the page to support “bold recommendation,” not even the title/description/meta keywords have the words “bold recommendation.” The reason? One link from the SEW Blog with the anchor text “bold recommendation.”

So, while you should devote some energy to this strategy, writing blog posts won’t get you long lasting results. You need to develop a regular schedule for posts and promote them in the right areas. This will get you valuable links that will rank consistently for the right reasons and (most importantly) for longer than four days.

Keep in mind, the old tried and true SEO method still holds. You should have static pages (pages that have always been there, and will always be there) within your Web site and a regular schedule of developing links to these pages, both externally (links from other Web sites, using a varied description/anchor text) and internally (links from other pages of your Web site).

Next week, I’ll conduct my Quarterly Site Review, so please contact me if you’d like me to consider reviewing your Web site and how to improve your SEO practices.

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