Website Updates: When? How? Why?

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Over the past number of years, Google has rolled out a number of 'search algorithm' updates that were keenly followed by all website design professionals, and even a large proportion of the non-technical world too.

With names like Hummingbird, Pirate, Pigeon, Panda and Penguin, these algorithmic updates have one central purpose: to make Google's search results more useful and truthful. This topic comes under the heading of SEO -Search Engine Optimisation - and it's the way to get your website noticed by Google’s search engine.

The key to success with your own website is to ensure your web design agency helps you to makes frequent, calculated updates to your website – and to have a modern, SEO friendly CMS (Content Management System) to support this work.

The Why

Just like no one likes sipping cold tea, or eating a lukewarm meal on a chilly day; so too Google’s search engine algorithms hate stale internet content and old websites. In fact, if a web site design has not been refreshed in a few months, it can give Google’s search engine “indigestion”. Why does that matter to you?

  • Stale content on your website will cause Google to ignore your website. Your competitor's are largely updating their website so Google will focus on them.

  • When potential customers search for your products or services on Google, your site will not appear higher up in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) unless you are actively working on that website's content and reputation. If work is not being carried out on your website then that would reduce the number of new sales leads you get fom the web.

  • Sites appearing amongst the top 5 to 10 rank are more likely to steal your business away – and because your website is not refreshed regularly with new content

Efficient and productive website design is all about attracting – customers as well as search engine BOTs, Crawlers, Spiders and Creepers. And the only way to continually do that is with regular website updates.

The When

Ideally, you should have your web design team help you to perform frequent changes to both design and content – new content should, in a lot of cases, go in every week – and some fresh layout/design every year or less. The more frequently such website content changes are made, the more it will pique Google’s interest in your website. The visual layouts will really only be of interest to your website visitors, not Google crawlers themselves.

  • Plan to publish new website content every few days – even if it's just a small entry in the News area or an update to an existing page. Every week you should try and add a new page. Again, think of the website visitor. Is there anything missing on your side for them to make a decision on doing business from you? Are all your product/service pages right up to date?

  • Whenever there’s breaking news or events happening about your industry sector, make more frequent (a few updates per day) updates. So, if there is a big trade fair on, and you've got a stand there, then you should have many website updates, twitter updates, Facebook updates etc per day. It's a focal event for your business year and you should take full advantage of it.

  • Special events, like Christmas, Bank Holidays, St. Paddy’s Day, should attract more updates than usual too.

When Google’s search engines go out for their scheduled “crawls” to re-index page rankings, if your website designing partners haven’t made changes to your site design or content, you won’t receive any “brownie points” from Google. In fact, your site could even be taken down a couple of notches. Recovering from such penalty is often an uphill task.

The best way to preempt that from happening is to include regular updates as part of your website management and marketing strategy. In a lot of cases you can get your web design team to help you here – they could do the updating for you once you had prepared the text and chosen a few images to go with it.

The How

So how does one go about making sure Google always ranks your website high in its SERPs? What can you, as an entrepreneur or site owner, to always catch Google’s eye – and your customer’s eye – when a query is entered into a search engine for your products and services?

Keeping Google interested in your website isn’t all that difficult – if you work with a professional website design agency that knows what they are doing! Here are some things that are simple to do and easy to execute:

  • Don’t wait until “something important” happens to your business to get updates to your website. Ask your web team to shake things up frequently, bringing in a fresh new look to a few pages at a time

  • Using a Content Management System (CMS) can help ease the “pain” of site design refreshes as well as content publishing. If your CMS is of a high quality and properly setup and managed, then adding content and even updating page layouts is not a huge job.

  • Work with your web design agency to build a responsive site that works equally well on desktops as well as on mobile devices. Google is very focused on smart phones because that is and will always be the 'future'. A lot of end users and business customers may not get to a traditional 'PC' during the day and will have access to a few different types of mobile devices from small screen smart phones to mini-tablets to small laptops and large tablet PCs.

  • Talk to your design team about integrating all new content with a smart, intelligent CMS. That way, whenever you need to add new content, update existing information, or produce new pages or layouts, you can do that on your own

  • Periodically, perhaps every 6 months or so – but definitely annually! – work with your web designing agency to do a complete review of your website and suggest design enhancements and content refreshes.

All of these steps can be planned well ahead as part of your web site upgrade, management and refresh strategy. And if you don’t have such a strategy – then now’s the time to work with your web design team to put one in place.

Telling Google and the World you’re here!

By always keeping your website fresh looking and up to date, you make it worth recommending in Google's eyes. By doing this work you are saying to the internet:

  • Telling your visitors, existing customers and potential clients that your website isn’t an “orphan” left to fend for itself – you value their visits and interest, and will reward them with constantly refreshed content and and inviting and easy to follow layout and design.

  • Signalling to Google that you are making every effort to feed its BOTs and Spiders with fresh new content frequently, because you are interested in being ranked higher in its search rankings

If you have any questions about your website management, we'd be glad to go through some ideas with you and put a plan together.