The Google freshness aspect of the algorithm has changed the way that websites are ranked within the SERP’s. Google is rewarding those websites that make frequent changes to their website with higher rankings within the SERP’s. It’s a great way to ensure that the content found by searchers is always up-to-date so Google will continue to dominate the search engines. However, there are many different types of factors that would determine how a document is updated. For example, in part 1, we discussed how frequently adding new content is a great way to get indexed quickly and increase search rankings. In part 2, we discussed how reviving older content is a great way to benefit from the freshness update. You’re essentially tweaking time-based content to make it more current, etc. Let’s look at some other elements of “freshness” and how Google will determine the value of your pages.
Freshness 3 – How About Time on Page?
Google has implemented several ways to determine how fresh a website or page actually is. For example, sometimes, a solid indicator isn’t simply how often new content is added to a page. Many times, the longer people spend on a page can be a great indicator of freshness. It is common knowledge that a visitor will ONLY spend a long period of time engaging with a page that offers up-to-date information. Ask yourself this question…
Whenever you visit a page and engage with the content, isn’t it because it provides up-to-date information? You’re NOT going to keep visiting pages that have outdated content…right? In general, Google knows that people spend more time on new and relevant content.
Many people will agree with this statement, which is why it is important you make sure your pages engage visitors for long periods of time.
The good news is that, over the years, we’ve learned a lot about the way people engage with content online. I must admit that I’ve learned much of it by following those authority bloggers and some of it through my own testing. Let’s look at some of the fundamental ways to increase visitor time spent on-page…
Use Video –
Adding videos to your pages is a great way to keep the visitor on the page longer. As a matter of fact, it’s a growing trend to create a video tutorial first and then add a script that can be downloaded for those who require text. The Internet has connected people from all over the world, which means that sometimes having just text content in English no longer engages a visitor that well. Adding videos is a great way to allow visitors to follow through and increase time on page. Remember,
Location matters when adding videos so make sure to test different locations throughout your content. I recommend adding them to the middle of your content.
Use Images –
Here’s something cool…
First, it’s important to optimize your images before uploading and secondly, to always test before embedded them into your content. BuildZoom.com noticed that press releases with images outperformed those without them in reference to on-page engagement. Much of the success has to do with allowing visitors to understand content more clearly. As a matter of fact, this is why infographics are so engaging when added to content.
Increase Load Time –
By now, you should know that page speed has a direct influence on your page ranking. Google considers page speed 1/200 rankings factors so it’s important you tweak your website to load under 3 seconds. Visitors who are browsing the web are NOT going to wait for a page to load and will leaving to a competitor website if they can’t find information right away. If you’re using WordPress, then install a few simple plug-ins to increase your page time. Next, do a quick search in Google and you’ll find a handful of resources that will walk you through tweaks you can make to your page.
Here are a few quick ones…
- Optimize images
- Compress HTML pages
- Install WP Minify (compress java, CSS, etc.)
- Install WP Cache
Add Social Buttons –
I’m not sure about you, but when I visit a page that has been shared hundreds of times on Twitter.com and Facebook.com, I know it must be of value. I would recommend installing social buttons to all your content so you can start collecting “shares” from all social networks. When visitors arrive on your page, it’ll help provide that extra proof, showing them that others found your content valuable. This is a great way to encourage them to stay on your page and read your content. If they agree, they’ll share your content, which will provide further social proof to others and increase your engagement at the same time.