Google will soon be updating their algorithm to reward fresh content. If you manage a lead generating or ecommerce website and want to maximize positive and minimize negative impact on your website’s leads and sales, you may want to be proactive and update your SEO strategy before the release, to give Freshness what it wants.

First, understand what Google has to say about Freshness:

Different searches have different freshness needs. This algorithmic improvement is designed to better understand how to differentiate between these kinds of searches and the level of freshness you need, and make sure you get the most up to the minute answers.

According to Amit Singhal, the blog post’s author, the following types of searches will be impacted:

  • Recent events or hot topics (occupy oakland protests, nba lockout)
  • Regularly recurring events (presidential election, exxon earnings, etc)
  • Frequent updates (best sir cameras, subaru impreza reviews)

As consultants and managers of 35 lead-generating and ecommerce websites, we’re guessing nearly all of our clients will be impacted only by the third group, frequent updates.

Of course, all we can do is speculate the impact until after the update, when we’re able to test what Freshness rewards and punishes, but in the mean time here’s what we’re recommending to our clients.

Content Is Still King

Focus blog posts and site updates to terms you think will be affected by Freshess (see above). Ensure that each page of new content is optimized for one primary target term and 2 or 3 long tail variations.

Push your fresh content to your social media channels (Try SocialToaster.com to recruit “ambassadors” to do it for you).

Figure out a way to stimulate or better use User Generated Content. One of our clients is posting Amazon product reviews on their site, for example.

Reviews!

We know that Google pays attention to consumer reviews. Just check your Google Places page and note how Google pulls in reviews from InsderPages, Yelp, and others.

We can read into Amit Singhal’s post that search phrases like “best sir cameras” and “subaru impreza reviews” will be impacted by Freshness. Where do you rank for similar terms in your industry? If you’re getting a lot of your traffic from these phrases, prepare to promote these terms with more SEO content and links.

Update your HTML and make reviews and testimonials more identifiable to Google. Google likes reviews to be in Microformat coding. Read more in Google Help.

If your products are in Google Product Search (a.k.a. Google Shopping), beef up your positive reviews.

Respond quickly and positively to all negative reviews, no matter on what site they appear.

Google+

We’ve been watching client Google+ stats in webmaster tools, and haven’t seen much to work with — no hard evidence of this impacting search results, other than Google telling you which sites in search results your friends have +1’d. Nonetheless, we believe that Google considers social media content fresh, especially their own.

Just by the fact that Google is giving us data showing “search impact” of Google+, we’re playing it safe and encouraging our clients to use the Google+ button and collect more +1’s.

If you haven’t yet, set up a Google+ Business Page page and work it like your other channels. (HootSuite.com can help you push one update to multiple channels).

The more you tell Google about yourself, the more information they have to work with.

Video

Optimize your YouTube.com channel and video for your Freshness terms. Promote your videos to page one of Google search results. Don’t know how? Hire an SEO. (like us!)

News
We wonder if the Freshness Update is the beginning of the end for Google News. Will news results be more integrated or relocated on the search result page? To be sure, Google is constantly optimizing the layout and design of their search results page.

If Google wants to know what’s hot, what’s current, and what’s news, then by all means give it them. Our hunch is that press releases will remain a difficult way to get more than a temporary lift (note: they’re still good for link building).

Google will most likely instead continue to favor news stories from major and local news outlets. The example search results Mr. Singhall mentioned in his post are from MSN, Aljazeera, The Guardian, and the LA Times. In addition, we’ve found that with our SRM clients, content from major news outlets is much harder to displace off page one of Google searches.

Do what you can to include your target Freshness keywords in titles and content of all online press coverage.

Help I Can’t Do All This Myself!!

Hope this helps you to stay minty fresh. Call Eric to see if we can help: (866) 446-1972.

Further Reading