What’s the point of adding new content to your site?
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Earlier this week, I had a client ask the, “what’s the point of adding content to your site if it doesn’t come right up in Google” question. It can definitely be frustrating to spend the time to craft a good piece of content and then not see it come up when you search for it on Google. I wanted to just outline why this happens and why it’s important to still create quality content.
In this particular case, my client, who happens to be a lawyer specializing in workers compensation cases, created a very timely video on whether workers compensation might apply to the COVID-19 virus. It hit all the marks (I’ll elaborate more on those shortly) for good content, but after adding it to Youtube and his website, it’s not showing up in the top results.
Simply because something is added to the website does not mean it’s going to pop right up in a Google search.
If you’ve heard of the old phrase, “it’s like finding a needle in a haystack”, that definitely applies here.
What everyone is after, when they don’t pay for Adwords, is called “natural” listings. Natural listings are unfortunately not instantaneous listings–they take some time to get indexed and show in searches and there are many different aspects that influence where and how high they show up in those searches.
Right now, there are a lot of people trying to capitalize on anything and everything “COVID-19”, so I would say heavy competition is an understatement right now to try to be seen for any topic + the name of the virus. Even when it comes to what are called long-tail keywords that can normally help for targeting more of a niche (ex: “coronavirus or COVID-19 workers comp california”), it isn’t a sure thing. If you currently go to Google and type that example in, you can see at least a few government sites and others who have had articles up since mid March on the first page of search results.
Likewise, if you go to YouTube (which is also basically a big search engine for video) and search that phrase, a ton of things come up such as news, government press coverage, and plenty other lawyers who were putting up videos a week or more ago. So yeah, heavy competition.
Google uses at least a couple hundred (that we know of) ranking factors (if you’re interested in what those are, check out backlinko.com’s Google Ranking Factors) to determine placement of search results. With highly competitive things, it will be more difficult to show up if you’re just a small business and not dominating a lot of the ranking factors. It’s not impossible, it’s just tough.
How Google “gets the memo” that you have updated content …
Many of the sites that my agency builds are based on the WordPress platform. We also use the All In One SEO plugin to generate what’s called a “sitemap” file. This sitemap file is what you can submit through your Google Console Tools account (I highly recommend setting one up if you haven’t … click here to learn more). Doing so notifies the Googlebot to come index your website pages.
What’s nice about WordPress is that it will automatically update your sitemap file whenever you add a new page or post (in the old days, we used to have to do this by hand). If you’re using the All in One SEO plugin (or any other plugin that will help you to generate a sitemap file) you can set how often you change your site (daily, weekly, or monthly). The Googlebot will “discover” this last modified date and use that as a hint for going out and crawling new pages on your site.
If the content is something time sensitive, within your Google Search Console account you can request that the Googlebot recrawl your site (I wouldn’t abuse this feature though).
After Google gets this virtual memo that new content is on your site, it will take some time for it to show up in Google’s search index. Where it shows up in search listings is a bit more complicated (remember those 200 ranking factors I mentioned …) but having the sitemap and setting up the Google Search Console are the steps that need to be in place first.
So why update content if I can’t immediately rank for it in Google?
First, make sure your content is useful for your audience. Does it answer a question or give other important or useful information? Is it well written and free of errors?
If this describes your content, then here are the top points on why creating content (text, videos, etc.) is very important to your online marketing:
- You can showcase your experience and expertise in your field.
- People who will come to your site via other search phrases (and end up browsing around) have the potential to see your other content or be interested in what service/product you offer. Plenty of times I’ve landed a client after they stumbled onto the JVM blog!
- If you’ve created content that clearly answers a question, there is a small chance Google might feature your post as one of their featured snippets. I’ve had 2 clients who have had posts featured, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility (and when it happens, it can bring a lot of targeted traffic to your website).
- If your content is useful, there is also potential for people to share it on social channels. Pro tip: make it easy to do so by using a social sharing plugin on your WordPress site.
- At the end of the day, you are adding valuable content (content that answers questions, provides quality information, or is otherwise useful to your audience) to your site and that is a ranking factor for Google. Over time, this can absolutely help pages on your site move up in search results.
Finally, it’s also important to remember that creating content as part of your overall online marketing effort is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes some planning, thoughtful research and writing. It’s not a 100% guarantee of being shown high up in Google search results, but over time you should be able to see some at least some of the benefits above.
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