Here it is! The one we’ve all been waiting for: It’s Good Fresh Content!
So, you may recall from Day 5. Be My Guest that we visited a roadshow and came away with the distinct impression that what was missing in our lives (website) was some good, fresh content, as described by Gosbert Chagula from Google Digital Garage (I’m thinking maybe if I mention him enough he will eventually notice, then use his contacts at Google to put us in touch with Katy and Barack!).
So what exactly did he say? Well unfortunately nothing quite precise enough for my liking. So here’s my go at explaining it all: Google wants to make money and Google wants to be successful (which to some extent means it wants to be popular and effective but I think really just means that it wants to keep making money – and to do that it has to be popular and effective!).
The Happy Googler
So, to be popular and effective it needs to get things right! If someone searches for a great party house in Devon with a pool then whatever appears at the top of the list (which, obviously should be us, but hey, Google’s clearly still got a lot to learn!) should be exactly what the searcher is looking for. They should click on the top result, find precisely what they wanted and be off celebrating with champagne and chocolates, singing The Happy Googler song. They should not return to look for something else.
What Google does not want is for someone to click on its best suggestion and be disappointed, which it can tell because they’ve just clicked the back button and picked another result from the list, grumbling something about rubbish search engines… It’s got a lot of data, does Google, and if, over time, your link is being ‘bounced’, meaning the searcher did not find what it was looking for when it visited, it will demote your site. If searchers click and stay away for some time, or do not return at all, your site will stand a better chance of improving. And my guess is that Google’s data quite clearly indicates a correlation between bouncing and sites that have not been changed or updated much, or at all.
Which makes sense, in general – if you’ve visited a site before and it hasn’t changed when you go back to it the following month then you are likely to spend less time there. So, change is good? Well, generally yes, I think with some exceptions, historical fact filled sites for example – you wouldn’t want to find Winston Churchill’s birthday changing every time you searched for it, it would be a nightmare trying to send a card – you’d want the data there to be consistent over time.
But for the rest of us and in particular Bicclescombe Grange’s website, we need to ring the changes, with good, fresh content. ‘Good’ I think is measured fairly simply, over time, by Google noticing how people behave on your site and how long they linger there. ‘Fresh’ though is less clear to me. Does it mean regularly changing the content on the pages we have? Regularly adding more pages? Both, regularly? Sadly I did not leave the roadshow with an answer to this, but I suspect it’s both. What I am clear about is that word, ‘regularly’, it’s no good updating every page and adding a whole heap of new ones if you’re not going to do the same the following month, or week, or maybe even daily. How regularly probably is a factor of how important Google thinks you are currently and how often it expects to see change; it visits big sites more frequently; it doesn’t visit ours quite so much, yet!
So I’ve been updating our pages, which in the main has meant adding a lot of pictures. After that, well, it’s difficult: The house doesn’t change that much; it looks the same in many ways today as it did yesterday, and in fact last week, and even last year. I revamped the News page, (which, obviously if you haven’t seen is well worth a look!) and that is fairly straightforward in its updateability. And I did something clever on the home page which means, as I’m sure you’ve all noticed, that the text and images change automatically on a regular basis. The text still says the same thing of course, just using different words!
Add some more pages then!
There, easy; just add hundreds of new pages, Google realises what a fantastic mega-player it’s left languishing on the lesser pages and promotes us to first spot, for every conceivable search term. We all live happily ever after.
Maybe you spotted the small flaw in that plan? No? Well, it’s a lovely house with a lovely indoor pool, and lots of other lovely things. And it’s got alpacas! But what it hasn’t got, is 300 pages worth of stuff to write about. Or, so I thought…
My first idea was to add more pages that were simply copies of the home page but with a few key words changed. You’ll have noticed and I’m sure clicked on all the links at the bottom of each page on the website (just nod, I’ll never know) and these lead to the aforementioned pages. So I had a 40th Birthday Party Ideas page and a 50th Birthday Party Ideas page – and the only difference was the change in the number. Brilliant! I thought, I can think of lots of similar pages; soon Google will be calling us to say it can’t keep up!
You guessed it. There was another small flaw and a little research uncovered it: ‘Similar content’ is bad! Lots of pages that are all basically the same are just not appreciated, for some unknown reason. Surely someone who was looking at our 40th Birthday Party Ideas page would love to read the same information all over again on our 50th Birthday Party Ideas page! Surely? Oh, alright!
So I took some time, and reworded as much as I could. But I decided there was a limit to how many different ways I could describe our amazing large luxury Devon holiday home accommodation property with its fantastic indoor heated huge indoor swimming pool and wonderfully relaxing hot tub jacuzzi. There had to be another way.
Our main competitors have hundreds or thousands of properties which obviously are all distinct and have their own unique descriptions and images. General content will get updated fairly naturally and they just need to focus on their home and core pages. So we could team up with some other properties. Or buy another property of our own… Or…
Enter, The Blog.
Date of Activity: 30th November 2018
Planning a special party or family occasion? Looking for the perfect venue? Our large Devon holiday home sleeps 26 and has an amazing indoor pool. To find out more visit the Bicclescombe Grange website.