It’s no secret that Google loves fresh content. More often than not when I publish a new article, it ends up in SERPS fairly quickly. Is it because I’m a great writer, because I know all the SEO tricks, or maybe it’s because I realized the obvious, search engines like fresh content! Google for one wants to return the best possible content for a users search query, but this doesn’t always mean the newest content. Fortunately, Google has realized there truly is a need for people to get up to date information when searching online, and those who produce high quality, up to date content on their sites are going to be likely to rank higher and faster than their competitors.
When we think of ranking signals we think of our social media presence, technical & on page SEO, back link profiles, etc; but what many haven’t taken into consideration enough is their level of productively producing new content for their websites. If a user types into Google search “web design techniques”, wouldn’t you assume that, given the subject at hand, they were obviously looking for up to date information? I seriously doubt anyone would type in a query involving web design techniques and hope to be returned with search results from 2009. This is just one example of many that makes it clear how strong of a need there is to accommodate users on the web with the most accurate and up to date information as possible. That being said, this also brings up the issue of sites who house hundreds if not thousands of articles filled with outdated and or obsolete content that is no longer accurate.
Changes in technology take place rapidly, and in order for web publishers to keep up they will need to start cleaning up old articles. Having up to date content on your site will convince users that your site is worth returning to in the future, and it will give good signals to Google as well in determining the value of your site to internet users. I find it best to go back and edit content on a regular bases, even one day of editing a month can achieve a lot for the average site. Another option would be to do a complete overhaul of your website once every six months to a year, this is also the method I don’t recommend.
The point here is, keeping your website and its content up to date can have profound effects on ranking in SERPS. People are more likely to link to content that is up to date vs. content that is outdated by several years, just another added bonus of keeping up with the times. Ranking itself is not static, it changes constantly in fact, it’s just that many don’t see changes over a long period for a given set of keywords, so they don’t always notice these changes because they haven’t affected them directly. The more outdated your content becomes, the more likely someone else will outrank you.