Why Your Site Needs Fresh, Relevant Content
By Victor George
It is said that content is king, but today 'fresh, relevant
content' is the master - or is it?
Every owner of a commercial web site knows that frequent fresh
content is needed on their pages in order to achieve and
maintain a high listing on search engines which actively seek
fresh content. Google sends out its 'freshbot' spider to gather
and index new material from all the sites which offer it. MSN
Search seeks it too. I've noticed that MSN Search's spider pays
a daily visit to a site of mine which has proper fresh content
By incorporating fresh content, commercial web sites will remain
competitive, for without it they will certainly fall down the
search engine listings and lose business. Besides, having
something new keeps visitors coming back and attracts potential
But creating and then manually uploading fresh content onto our
web sites each day is hard, time consuming work, isn't it? What
we want is a way of putting daily fresh content onto our web
sites easily and efficiently. Let's look at the current
techniques available to us to achieve this goal and see which
one offers a global solution to the fresh content problem:
1) Server Side Includes (SSI'): These are HTML statements
written by the webmaster and uploaded onto the server. SSI's
inform the server to include a specific block of text when a
specific page is served to a browser or a search engine spider.
Because these scripts are compiled 'before' they are served,
they remain 'visible' to search engine spiders and therefore
will be seen as fresh content. Unfortunately, not all web hosts
support SSI's; this is because the server must 'read every page'
on the web site as it looks for include statements, a process
which clearly reduces server performance.
How many web site owners have the time to manually upload fresh
HTML content onto their servers every day? Probably very few,
which is why the use of SSI's is not a global solution to the
fresh content problem.
2) Blogging: Google's Freshbot spider is so voracious for fresh
content that it eagerly devours the contents of common weblogs.
But can a daily blog be used to influence the listing of a web
page under specific keywords or phrases?
It can, but for the vast majority of web site owners, blogging is
out of the question. Putting up a daily keyword-rich business
blog onto a web site is hard, time-consuming work, and it
requires the blogger to be a competent writer, too. Few business
owners have time available or the competence to write something
new about their products or services every day.
Blogging is therefore not a global solution to the fresh content
3) RSS Newsfeeds: Having newsfeeds placed on a web site is
certainly an easy way of getting fresh material to appear each
day. 'Really Simple Syndication' or RSS, is a fast growing
method of content distribution. Newsfeed creation is an
uncomplicated procedure and therefore appears to be an easy
solution to the fresh content problem.
Many owners of commercial web sites believe that by
incorporating newsfeeds on their sites they will improve their
search engine rankings by using the links appearing within those
feeds, which are given relevance by Google. This belief is wrong
These scripts must be executed by search engine spiders for the
fresh content to be noted, and since the spiders take a
simplistic approach when reading web pages, these scripts will
not be executed at all. These scripts are compiled 'after' they
have been served, and not before.
There are also a couple of growing menaces associated with RSS
o Since the popularity of RSS use is growing exponentially, the
idea to monetize syndication with ads is gaining ground. Indeed,
Yahoo has announced that it will begin displaying ads from
Overture's service within RSS feeds. Now who wants other
people's ads on their web site? I don't.
o There are rumors of newsfeeds being used to deliver spam. If
this gets out of control then newsfeeds will quickly become
history. Who wants spam messages appearing on their web site? I
don't. RSS is therefore not a global solution to the fresh
4) Newsfeed Scripting Solutions: A software solution can be
rigged up to 'extract' the HTML from newsfeeds. The HTML is then
placed onto web pages so that the fresh content will be seen by
search engine spiders. This however involves the use of PHP and
MySQL, which tends to put many business owners off. And if
there's spam or ads in the feed, they will get extracted, too!
Newsfeed scripting solutions are therefore not a global solution
to the fresh content problem.
5) Creating Original: Content As mentioned above under SSI's and
Weblogs, creating and manually uploading your own fresh content
every day is a time-consuming chore. And what if you have a
number of web sites, each of which requires frequent fresh
content in order to remain competitive? Yet we all know that
there is nothing better than our own proper keyword-rich fresh
In summary, getting frequent proper fresh content onto our web
sites is not straightforward at all. HTML extracted from RSS
feeds appears to offer a partial solution, but it is too
complicated for most businesses and is potentially menacing.
The e-commerce industry is clearly in need of a genuine solution
to the fresh content problem. The way to do it is to
automatically have our web pages updated every day with 'our
own' content, not anyone else's. Only then will we be able to
say that fresh content is truly the master!
About the author: Victor George is a "fresh, relevant content" crusader whose web site can be found at:
Easily control your web content to suit your clients and to keep
the search engines well fed with your new and relevant content.