It’s a known fact that updating a site regularly with fresh content appeals to search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Why wouldn’t it? Fresh and relevant content updated regularly is what we all yearn for when searching online for ourselves and it’s no different for search engines. Let’s look at how this information is discovered and what the impact of this is on search rankings.
So how does a search engine ‘crawl’ sites to index the latest content?
We will focus on Google in this post but the process is similar across all search engines, so let’s introduce the Googlebot.
Googlebot is a web crawling bot/spider. Crawling is the process by which Googlebot discovers new and updated content to be added to the almighty Google index.
A key indicator of how often Google crawls a website can be found through the Webmaster Tools panel, under Diagnostics. This gives you a Googlebot activity report which let’s you know how many pages get crawled per day and also the time taken to crawl. This crawl rate can vary from hours to weeks
Does a fast crawl rate guarantee top Google search rankings?
The answer is a very clear and resounding : “NO”.
Remember that crawl rate is just another signal in the overall ranking calculation, but clearly this is an important one when combined with quality content. So the secret is to combine rich content, which is the top on-page ranking factor, with regular delivery. Over time this will affect rankings, sounds simple right?
The best visual representation of the factors that affect SEO I have come across is a Periodic Table from Search Engine Land : The Periodic Table Of SEO Ranking Factors
By far the best way to update the content of a website with regular content is blogging, see my previous posts. For the best results, the aim is to blog at least weekly giving as much ‘food’ to the spiders. The fresher the content the more likely that other people will post links to you.
For local SME’s this is a great opportunity to engage with your audience and help improve SEO results in one go. Blog about what is happening in the local area, mention your customers, review a local business, interview local people, and contribute on other local blogs…combined with Twitter you are onto a winner.
So get blogging and get that crawl rate up…!