One of the most common questions I get when talking to clients discussing their content marketing strategy, is “how often should I publish new content?” Is it necessary to publish new content daily or can I get away with 2-3 posts per week or even less?
There is no definite answer to this question and I would say it depends on the type of blog or web site. Google and other search engines are looking for good quality and relevant content to show in their search results and freshness is just one of the factors taken into account by their ranking algorithms.
To help you decide the most suitable publishing strategy I added below a few ideas in a question/answer format.
Should I post new content daily?
If you are running a news, celebrity, quotes, jokes, lifestyle or sports site then most probably you will have to post multiple times per day to keep your content relevant and fresh.
If on the other hand you are running a blog or a website in other areas (for example weight loss, nutrition, education, travel etc.) where the status of things does not change daily then most probably you can get away with a couple of updates per week. You can actually use the time to prepare your posts, optimize your post titles, promote your older posts and work on your digital marketing strategy.
What do you competitors do?
Find out what other web sites in the same niche as yours do with their publishing strategy. Do they publish daily or many times per day, what type of posts do they publish (short or long and informative)?
Is there any SEO benefit from publishing new content daily?
Indirectly there is some SEO benefit from publishing regularly (daily or 3-4 times per week). First, you give one more incentive for search engines to crawl and index your web site. Second, you give an incentive to your readers to come back again and third this combination may give your more exposure, more social media mentions, more loyal readers and why not more natural links pointing to your site.
What does Google say about publishing new content?
There are a couple of videos of Google’s Matt Cutts talking about the importance of fresh content. The one is how important is the frequency of updates on a blog and then other is freshness an important signal for all sites . Also, in their latest quick start seo guide they also talk about content freshness mentioning “keep it fresh and keep it up to date”.
In summary, what Google says is that you need to keep your content fresh and relevant but that does not mean you need to post daily or weekly. What is more important is the quality of the content and not the publishing frequency.
Do not forget about user-generated content
A great way to get new content for your web site without having to generate that content yourself is by having your users generate the content in the form of comments, forum posts, reviews, answers to questions, contests, surveys etc. It’s a big topic and not easy to accomplish if you don’t have a lot of visitors to your web site but it is a way to keep the content fresh. I will come back with a new post for more details about user-generated content.
What do I do and what you can learn from it?
I don’t post daily. In almost all the websites I run (including those of my clients) I establish a 3 updates per week policy. The only cases I choose to post more often (i.e. on a daily basis) are in new web sites when I want to build up content faster.
What you should do?
- Establish a steady routine – It is important to establish a publishing strategy and stick to it. Having a clear strategy as to when you should post will help you build your schedule, your action plan and deadlines. If you leave it open then most probably you will postpone it with the first difficulty.
- What do your readers want? – Put yourself in the position of your readers and think if you would like to get content more frequently. If you are publishing long, informative articles on a daily basis do you think that this is something your readers would like to read day after day?
- Check your statistics – Test different scenarios of a couple of weeks and check your statistics to find out if more frequent publishing is beneficial.
- Write your posts in advance – As equally important as establishing a publishing strategy is the preparation of your posts in advance. What I usually do is have 2-3 posts ahead of schedule to ensure that I will not miss my targets.
- Do not forget about the 80/20 rule – Do not forget that 80% of your content online will never get the attention it deserves. This is how the Internet works due to the vast competition so think well how you want to spend your time. If publishing daily does not generate any return (i.e. more traffic, more customers, more social media mentions, more exposure) then better reduce your publishing frequency and concentrate on other actions like finding other sources of traffic besides search engines.