Smell That Fresh Update Excitement?

I love search marketing trends because there is so much at stake for so many people. I also love the absurd amount of excitement that sets this community ablaze when anything changes in Google. And then, I really enjoy sitting back and watching all the expert advice roll in about what to do after you and your clients calm down.

It’s always the same advice by the way. Here, I’ll give it to you now. Got a pen? Go ahead, get a pen; this is really big, new, exciting advice in response to the Google Freshness update.

Please write and regularly post relevant content on your website.

Shocking, yes? Content is still king. I swear, if I have to write this article one more time, I’m going to pull over this car and give you marketers a thorough spanking. Alright, fine, I’ll write it, but stop poking your sister.

Google made the announcement on Nov. 3. Google’s Amit Singhal said, among other things, that, “…the algorithm needs to be able to figure out if a result from a week ago about a TV show is recent, or if a result from a week ago about breaking news is too old.”

That sounds like a good idea. The post continued on with a nice outline of the update saying it’ll be putting fresh SERPs out there for all searches on topics:

  • Recent or hot
  • Recurring (think conferences)
  • Frequently changing (think “top safety rated car”)

The big news that got everyone running around like a chicken sans head, however, was the percentage given for searches affected…35 percent. Then on Nov. 7, the blog posted an addendum to that saying “…noticeably impacts 6 – 10%” (i.e., calm down).

Meanwhile, Searchmetrics got out some kerosene and threw it on the update with its “winners and losers” data. The most interesting thing in that list for regular folks like us is the drop in visibility. Perhaps there will be one more small tweak over in Google engineering.

So, what can I add to the cacophony of expert voices out there?

Two things.

  1. Take a fresh look at your target phrases in SEO and make sure they’re not part of the fresh phenomenon. As an example, if you sell a piece of sports equipment, endorsed by a current player, make sure the target phrase “equipment + player name” isn’t getting derailed by that player’s latest stats. If it is, reconsider it as a target phrase (you won’t win this battle with a blog post) and prop up lost traffic in paid search if necessary.
  2. I will give another shout-out to the continuing blurred lines between all your marketing departments. PR and all your offline efforts must be integrated online to keep content relevant, fresh, and consistent and this update just puts another nail in the coffin for those committed to keeping silos in their marketing department.

So, you know, get your news, blogs, and events updated on the web the same day as they go out to your newsletter and press contacts. Get into the social media game and try and build an interactive community where people are engaged with your content through commenting, sharing, linking, etc. Blog good content, a lot, and then blog some more.

In conclusion, I’d like to take a trip down memory lane for a fresh perspective on the freshness update. There’s a great timeline of all the algorithm updates through history posted by SEOmoz. I had a lot of fun reliving the joy and panic of each and every blip in the Google change radar.

Here’s the snapshot of the big changes through the ages.

2003 – Florida. I miss the good old days when the s*** really hit the fan. Kid’s today, complaining about Panda. Hah!
2004 – Brandy
2005 – Big Daddy, Google Maps, and Jagger – which ruined a few of my client’s Christmases.
2006 – Shh. Hear that? That’s the sound of uninterrupted, pre-recession commerce.
2007 – Universal Search
2008 – Pretty quiet year all-in-all before the economy collapsed. Good times.
2009 – Vince
2010 – Google Instant/Google Places
2011 – Panda

So there you have it. There will be others, many others, but all you need to do as the marketing expert for your company or client is preach the gospel of regularly posting relevant content. There. Feel better? Now go forth and do your job. This freshness is stale already.

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