There are a thousand things I could tell you about SEO to make you rank better, longer, and for more keywords. But today I’m going to talk about the goglebot crawler a little bit, because odds are you don’t know how or when the google search crawler visits your site.
Today I found myself looking at some old blogs that I hadn’t visited in awile. Some for a few months, and others a few years. These are blogs I own, ones that were once viable money makers, now with barely a trickle of traffic. There was lots of things to update, WordPress, plugins, ads, and in some cases themes. Some plugins were deleted, some were added.
With that out of the way, I thought it would be nice to let google know that these sites were “alive” again. That’s the funny thing about google, you can have the best content, and first page #1 rankings – but without updates on your site, all rankings slip over time. Google has more than 200 ranking signals it uses for results pages, and it’s very rare that a stagnant, non-updated site would stay on top of rankings. It’s not just google. A stagnant non-updated site loses readers, stops attracting new backlinks, and generally loses traction in search engines overall.
So, I didn’t really have a strategy per se – but on one site I saw that lots of pages needed updating. There were a few dozen that only had a single sentence of content. this was a pagerank 2 site about 3-4 years old with about 50-odd posts and 3 dozen paged pages. Over 2-3 days I updated some pages and posts, maybe 18 per day. I added content, on many I added content and an image.
I did a couple key things.
I installed the CBNet Ping Optimizer Plugin
This was so when I made tons of updates in a short period of time – I didn’t send out a zillion pings.
I also installed the free plugin Hobo WP googlebot Tracker, because I wanted to know how often the googlebot would come back and index these update pages.
Then I did about 18 updates a day for 3-4 days. I’ve had bad luck in the past doing all my updates in the span of one day. I want google to know updates are going on over time. When I was done, a rebuilt my sitemap to send out a final good ping to the big search engines…and then I waited.
I don’t use the googlebot tracker plugin all the time, but when I’m doing updates like this it’s very helpful. I can actually see that google is visiting my site and indexing the new content. I could see some of these details in google webmaster tools, but it’s great to actually have this information inside my blog. You actually get the date and time googlebot visited, and you’ll find that many if not most days – it visits multiple days. You would think that on each visit it combs through all updated pages – and that’s not really the case either. There doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to it, it visits some pages one day, more on the next, etc.
If you want googlebot to revisit your blog (that was stagnant), update old posts with new content and / or images like I did. My blog that hasn’t had content in two years is now alive again – and is receiving about 1,000% more traffic than it was. This is definitely a direct result of getting the googlebot to revisit (and reindex) my site!