Every plastic surgery wants to reach and stay at the top of the search engine rankings. And there’s been a lot of talk about fresh content recently. But how important is fresh content to your SEO efforts and what does fresh content actually mean? How much does Google take notice of fresh content when ranking?
Are you going to have to post multiple times every day to keep up with other practices, or might this whole fresh content fuss be an awful lot easier than that?
Take a look at our fresh content SEO tips for plastic surgeons to see when and how to keep your content fresh for the best results in the search engine rankings.
Local Ranking Factors
With a bricks-and-mortar practice, you need to focus on local SEO to attract potential clients in your local area. Before we get into content freshness and how to make the most of it, let’s take a look at Google’s local ranking factors:
Yes, how new your content is does come into it for Google. They do look at recency as a ranking factor, but recency isn’t the only consideration.
Your content must also be highly relevant to the searcher’s query before it is included in the search results. Google is in the business of providing the best possible, most relevant answer to each search query. If your content and SEO are done well, then you could find yourself included at the top of the search engine results.
This is the point where many people get confused about content freshness. If you look at the search results for pretty much any query, you’ll see a mix of content that was published very recently and content that is older. You’d then be forgiven for wondering why fresh content matters so much if older content can still make an appearance. It’s because of this mix of ranking factors that the newest article on a subject isn’t always the one at the top. The top listed content will always be what Google considers to be the best content on the subject, even if it was written years ago. Freshness can be a differentiator though. If yours is the best, most relevant article, and the freshest, then you have an even better chance of ranking higher.
Recency and relevancy are your watchwords when creating and updating your content. That’s why you don’t have to worry about endlessly producing new content all day every day just to keep up with your competitors.
Because we’re looking at local ranking factors, distance is clearly going to be a factor. If a customer in Vermont is looking for a plastic surgeon, Google is going to show the nearest plastic surgeons to that searcher. No matter how fresh their content, or how amazing their practice is, a plastic surgeon from Los Angeles isn’t going to appear in local search in Vermont. The only way they’d have a chance is if they are the nearest practice that can perform the particular procedure that the searcher is looking for – back to relevancy again.
Another indicator for Google is who is most prominent in the local area. If you have a chain of well-known plastic surgery practices, you’re probably going to beat out any single branch practices in the local area, simply because your practice will be seen as more prominent.
Don’t worry if you are the single branch practice, though. You can see that there’s more to ranking locally than just prominence. It helps, but it’s not the be all and end all.
We hope you’ve already claimed and fully optimized your Google Business Profile (GBP), because you need to have your GBP set up and your opening hours listed to show up for this ranking factor.
Potential clients can search for “plastic surgeon open now” and, if you have your opening hours listed on your GBP and you’re open at the time of the search, you’ll be listed. It’s such an easy step to take and it can bring you potential leads, so if you haven’t claimed your GBP and filled it in, now’s the time.
Out of all of these factors, recency is most closely related to fresh content. But, as you can see, being the latest one to post on a particular topic isn’t necessarily going to get you to the top of the search engines. Next, let’s take a look at what fresh content really is.
What is “Fresh Content” and How Does Content Make Your Business Easier to Find Online?
You might have been expecting us to say that fresh content is simply content that has been published recently, and yes, that’s part of it. But fresh content can also be content that is frequently updated or has been updated recently.
You don’t need to constantly write completely new articles for your content to be considered fresh. You can also go back and update older articles to add more up-to-date information and give them a refresh.
Google uses what it calls Query Deserves Freshness (QDF) to decide whether to show the most recently published content or older content.
Basically, fresh content is more important to Google for trending topics and hot news about recent events. They also want fresh content for regularly occurring events, such as Black Friday or the Superbowl. And finally, they consider freshness when looking at product queries and current information queries.
If you think about it, that makes complete sense. If you’re looking for the latest Black Friday deals, you want this year’s deals available now. You need the freshest content, not anything from previous years that probably isn’t relevant now. You also want the latest updates on the news, not old news even from last week, never mind last year. And if you’re looking for the latest iPhone or laptop, again, you want current, fresh information.
On the other hand, if you’re searching for something like “how to chop wood,” the basics of that task haven’t changed in years. A top-quality article from the early 2000s might provide you with the best content on the subject over and above anything written even in the last hour.
So, thinking about how content can help your plastic surgery practice be found online, it makes sense to do what Google wants: create top quality, relevant content that matches searcher intent and do it consistently.
While there are millions of articles on SEO and so much jargon and seemingly mysterious acronyms, at the heart of it, Google is literally laying it out for you: create the best, most relevant content on your subject and keep doing it consistently.
Yes, you do need to look at keywords, meta descriptions, and optimize your content for SEO, but that right there is the nutshell version of what you need to do to get attention for your plastic surgery practice.
Freshness is clearly a ranking factor for Google and there are four dates that matter when publishing content:
- Published: When the page was published on your website.
- Indexed: When the search engine bots first crawled your content and added it to Google Search.
- Last crawl: The last time your content was crawled.
- Modified: The last time you made changes to your page.
Following on from that, how does Google measure content freshness?
They use a number of factors:
- Page inception date: This is the date that your content was indexed by Google.
- How much your page has been updated: The more you’ve updated your content, the more Google considers it to be fresh. You can’t simply change the date and republish. Google’s more than clever enough to spot that.
- Number of changes to the main content of your page: Where you update your content matters too. Changes to the main body of your article will indicate more freshness than just changing the title and meta description or your date and time tags.
- Rate of changes on your page: The more often you change your page, the more Google is likely to consider it fresh.
- Rate of new page creation: You may get a higher freshness score if you often add new pages to your site.
- Freshness of backlinks to your content: Getting backlinks is an important part of SEO, and it can help your site and content be seen as fresher if your backlinks have high freshness scores.
How does content freshness affect your local rankings?
Trying to keep your content fresh is important for local rankings, but don’t neglect your standard SEO efforts in favor of simply producing tons of low-quality content. It might sound like more fresh content will work, but it still needs to be high quality. And it still needs to be fully optimized for local SEO with relevant topic keywords and local keywords.
It’s far better to have a well-thought-out content plan that focuses on what your clients want to know and to maintain a consistent schedule of posting the best answers you can to their questions.
It is possible for your older content to still make an appearance at the top of the search engine results if it’s the best content on the subject and the best answer to the search query.
Yes, aim for freshness. Have a plan for new content and when you’re going to update your existing content. But don’t neglect your basic plan of posting relevant, quality content consistently.
Think about whether what you’re posting needs to be considered fresh or not. Is it the latest news on plastic surgery developments or the latest equipment? Is there a brand-new skin care regime that can help patients recover after surgery? In which case, yes, it does need to be fresh and posted as quickly as you can. Or is it evergreen content on topics where the answer hasn’t changed much in years, such as what patients can expect when they visit your surgery, what they need to bring with them when having surgery, and similar topics?
Bear in mind when your content needs to be the freshest when writing. Take the time to write great content that’s relevant and fully SEO-optimized and you will start seeing results in the search engine rankings.
How to Improve Your Freshness Score
Hopefully, you can now see that while freshness is important, you don’t have to wear yourself out trying to post every day. Instead, follow our steps below to improve your freshness score and boost your rankings.
1) Publish new content regularly
Consistency tends to win out when it comes to search engine rankings. If you don’t post very often, Google will learn that it doesn’t need to index your site very often. If Google knows you post every day, on the other hand, it will send Googlebot over to index your new content each day.
Find a balance that works for you. Find a writing and posting frequency that you can live with, while also doing all the other things you need to do to run your practice and take care of your patients.
Create a content plan covering the next three months and plan out what you’re going to post and when you’re going to do it. This makes content creation so much easier and gives you a better chance of being consistent, as you don’t spend hours staring at a blank page and wondering what to write.
2) Refresh older content regularly
As well as planning to create new content, add a plan to update your older content too.
As we’ve seen above, updating the main body of your content is more likely to get Google to consider your article fresh. And the more you update it, the fresher it’s likely to appear.
Add new statistics, update your titles, think about new keywords to aim for. Add in new images too. Perhaps include videos, as video content is highly popular. Then update the main body of your article to add new information and refresh the article.
3) Prioritize content receiving high traffic
Google Analytics is your friend here. Check your analytics at least once a month to see which pages are getting the most traffic. Before you start to update any content, take a look at your statistics and find your most popular posts.
If your top-performing post is still consistently bringing in great traffic, then leave updating it until the traffic starts to tail off. Don’t make extra work for yourself by updating it now.
Instead, look at your other successful posts where traffic has started to decrease. These are the ones that are ripe for an update.
4) Change the publication date after updates are made
Once you’ve done your updates, change the publication date too. If you don’t, when your article appears in the search results, it will still show the original publishing date. Not only will this make it less likely for Google to show it as a fresh article, but searchers may disregard it too if it looks like the information may be less up-to-date than other articles on the subject.
5) Submit to Google through Search Console
Eventually, Google will get around to crawling your updated article, but if you want Google to re-crawl your freshened content now, then submit your article to Google Search Console. It helps to get your site reindexed quicker.
Hopefully, our fresh content SEO tips for plastic surgeons have given you something to think about and helped you understand what fresh content is and how to use it to your advantage.
Attend a Surefire Local Marketing Platform Demo
We know that running a full content and SEO plan can be a lot of work, especially when you’re juggling the running of your business with marketing it, but Surefire Local can help.
Why not request a demo of our business intelligence marketing software and see what a difference it can make to your marketing results?
With our powerful all-in-one marketing platform, you can view detailed analytics to help you identify your high-performing content and update it at the right time for maximum impact.
You can also jot down ideas, plan your content, and publish new content regularly right from our dashboard, without having to log in and out of any other software. And, of course, you can edit and update your blog articles too.
In fact, you can run every aspect of your marketing with our easy-to-use marketing software, including updating your Google Business Profile and over 80 business directories, requesting and replying to reviews, managing your emails and social media, and so much more.
Get in touch with our friendly team and book a demo.