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Can Changing Your Blog Posting Frequency Hurt Your Rankings?Published by Kenny Novak • Category: Content Marketing

Let’s get right to the core of the question here. On SEO blogs throughout the Internet, everyone recommends 4-7 posts per week on average. Some say post as often as you can, even if it means two or three per day. Others say post as often as you have the content to support, even if it’s just once a week. The problem is the transition; can changing your posting frequency hurt your rank?

The answer, as it is with so many things in SEO, is a qualified maybe. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. Honestly, 99 percent of the time it won’t. It all depends on how you’re trying to change and with what. Consider these scenarios:

Increasing Frequency with Quality Content

Right now, you don’t think you post often enough. You have the time and you have a broad enough niche that you can support more content. You have writers to write that content and the budget to pay them. In short, you’re all set to expand how frequently you post.

Do it! There’s no SEO drawback to posting more often when you have the quality to support it. In fact, more content means more opportunities for traffic, links and conversions. More content, when the content is high quality, is nothing but a benefit for SEO. If you are in this scenario and you’re worried that the frequency change will hurt, just go ahead and jump in. As long as you keep the quality up, you’ll be fine.

Increasing Frequency with Filler Content

Increasing-Frequency-with-Filler-Content

You don’t post enough, and you know it. Your weekly post draws a little traffic, but you’re not growing fast enough. You don’t have the space to fill with keywords to broaden your niche, and you don’t have enough opportunities to gain links. You want to post more, but you’re out of inspiration and you have no time to do it. Your only choice is to hire the cheapest ghostwriters you can and hope they give you something you can publish.

Don’t do it. This is one case where you’ll suffer from increasing frequency, and it’s all because of the content. Posting more often is a good thing, if your posts are worth reading. If you’re filling your blog with useless fluff just to post keywords and links, you’re going to be hit by one of the Google algorithm updates sooner or later. In this case, it’s much better if you keep to your current schedule and focus on providing value.

Decreasing Frequency to Boost Value

You post too much, and you don’t have much to say. Users aren’t sticking around to comment, or when they do, it’s usually just to point out how they didn’t find much of value in the post they just read. You don’t know how to improve on your schedule, and you’ve decided to cut it back. It’s better to have better content less frequently, right?

You’re right. Quality is greater than quantity when it comes to modern search engine appeasement. Dialing back on your content so you can pack each piece with value when you do publish is a good tactic. Just try to avoid publishing the same content you would before, just less frequently. If you’re doing that, cutting back did nothing to help.

Decreasing Frequency for Budget Reasons

Decreasing-Frequency-for-Budget-Reasons

You post too much and you’ve been going through a rocky patch. A number of factors, from a bug in the software to the convergence of the stars, have conspired to cut your profits and drive you into the red, but just barely. You can cut something and pull a profit again, and you’ve determined it has to be your blog. A few less articles per week, with no sacrifice in quality in the ones you do publish, seems right up your alley. Is it safe to cut a functional blog, or will it harm your SEO?

It’s probably safe, but you might see a minor dip. You won’t be penalized, as long as you keep up the quality of your writing. The reason you might see a small dip in your ranking is because a lower flow of content means some users will slowly forget to return to check. It’s not an SEO penalty, just a natural result of a lower stream of content.

The Moral of the Story

See a trend? The primary takeaway from this exercise is to point out that quantity does not have that much of an effect. In fact, Matt Cutts has said as much in one of his video blogs. If you and another business were exactly tied in every respect, but one posted content more often than the other, the more frequent content would win. That situation never occurs, however, so it’s a moot point. Content frequency is not a primary factor in your search ranking. If anything, it’s extremely minor.

Quality of content, however, is a huge factor. The SEO difference between a useful guide and a keyword-filled piece of fluff is incredible. Content that looks too much like spam can even receive penalties, while quality content does nothing but help you in every way, from search to organic traffic to conversions.

A Question of Freshness

A-Question-of-Freshness

Part of the focus on the frequency of content is that Google has talked about the freshness of a piece of content as an indicator of it’s SEO benefit. Many people take freshness to mean it’s an indicator of how recently the content was posted, but that’s not quite true ine very respect. Certainly publication date has a bit of a factor into it, but plenty of blogs don’t even date their content.

Freshness of content, to some extent, is referring to how recent the subject matter is. For instance, some fresh news in SEO is the Google Panda 4.0 update. Writing about the original debut of Google Panda is no longer quite as fresh, nor would talking about Panda 3.0 or any of the intervening updates. The content is fresh, in that the subject has only recently come to light.

On the other hand, freshness isn’t that important for everything. As always, context is equally important. Writing about Panda 1.0 could be a very relevant piece of content, particularly if it’s a historical piece that analyzes trends in SEO.

You can roughly break down all content into two categories; evergreen and not. Evergreen content is the content that is timeless. It works and provides value for an indefinite period of time. How to guides, instructional pieces for devices or software that isn’t likely to be made obsolete by new versions, historical retrospectives; these are all evergreen. They may decline in utility over time, but they never really die.

On the other hand, there’s the rest of the content. Content that’s news for a short time, before it becomes old news. Content that contains information that is made out of date by new updates. A lot of SEO information falls into this category; SEO tactics that worked five years ago may bring you penalties today. This is where freshness really matters. Taking old SEO advice can be detrimental to your site ranking, so Google tries to demote content as it becomes less fresh. It’s not entirely a function of how recently the content was published; it’s partially about how much the subject has changed in the intervening time.

Written by Kenny Novak

Kenny Novak

Kenny is an SEM and SEO professional. He uses blogging and content marketing as a launchpad for small businesses looking to grow their online presence.

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