There are reasons to change the text (copy) on your website but it’s not really to trick Google into ranking your website higher. That’s not how it works. There are some good reasons to change content and doing that will help your website rank higher but it’s not a trick.
If you have a news website and you’re continually adding new content, then yes… that’ll help a lot. Google loves fresh content but that’s not what we’re talking about here though and that’s just not the case for most people with websites (like business owners and internet marketers).
Changing a few words won’t trick Google, so don’t waste your time doing it. Instead of doing that, you could be writing new content, which very well could increase your rankings over time because your website becomes more relevant and more of an authority in your niche or industry.
With that said, let’s get into a few situations where changing text can help your website rank higher (again, not with the aim of tricking Google):
- Updating Old Content
- Getting Rid of Duplicate Content
- Enhancing Your Content
- Fixing Broken Links
- Improving Links/Sources
- Combining Pages
- Optimizing Images
Updating Old Content
If there’s content on your website that is out of date, then updating it to be current and more relevant is a good idea. Old data that doesn’t pertain anymore isn’t worth anything except as a drop of excrement in the annals of history.
For example, if you had a page on your website about how to rank high for 2013, then nobody’s looking for that because so much has changed. Instead, update that article for 2020 so that it’s more relevant and more accurate. Maybe there are chunks of that article that need to just be deleted and maybe some parts and stay but go ahead and update that content.
When you do update the content, don’t forget to change the date on it if your website posts dates of articles. This tells Google that something changed and it helps with click-throughs in search engine results since people want content that’s up to date. Seeing the date will compel them to click on your links.
Getting Rid of Duplicate Content
This is an interesting one because maybe you wrote all the content on your website and the rankings were very good but, over time, rankings fell. Why?
It’s very possible that other websites have stolen your content!
Find out by paying $5 and doing a search for your content over at Copyscape. Put in the content of a page and then search and see who might be using it. If someone is using it and it’s your content, you can ask them to cease and desist and maybe that’ll scare them or else just simply rewrite the content so that it’s completely original again. That might not mean the entire article but sometimes it will. Sorry.
Enhancing Your Content
Maybe you have some content which is good but isn’t ranking too high. You can put more time into that page and work on that content some more to help it rank higher. This isn’t changing text, I’m talking about adding maybe another 1,000 words to it to make it a lot better.
To make the article better, you can:
- Expand on the content – add more details
- Add in new sections to further explain things
- Add in pictures and video that add value to the page
- Add in sections about related topics
- Add keywords into the title, URL, headings, or content
- Change page titles to make them more compelling
- Add new content that contains LSI keywords
Good keywords are LSI keywords – the searches you see when using Google at the top (recommended searches) and the keywords shown at the end of results. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) use those exact phrases but something close to them is good.
Another good way to find awesome keywords is to look at Wikipedia pages related to your topic and look for unique words that show up on that page. Put those words (the ones that fit into what you’ve written about) on your page.
Adding relevant videos (either ones you make or from YouTube) keeps people on your page longer. This is called “dwell time” where Google measures how long someone stays on a page. The longer they are there, the better the content, typically.
A great way to make your pages rank higher is to make the titles more compelling. Compelling, to me anyway, means that people feel compelled to click on it for the fear of missing out (FOMO). They’ll feel like if they don’t click there, they’ll regret it. You want to leave a little mystery. Most of all, it should be an incomplete thought. When you leave something open, our brains naturally want to find the answer, so that’ll increase the chance of someone clicking on your post.
For example, if the title of a page was something like:
“Finally, the Cure to Cancer is Sitting in Your Kitchen Pantry”
then you’d maybe have more people clicking – although that looks a bit spammy and maybe hard to believe – so too much like click bait.
What also helps is making titles into questions that people might ask. When they’re searching on that question and see a result that matches it closely or even perfectly, they’ll be more likely to click on your result.
And while we’re on the topic, having a domain name that looks like it relates to the topic will also increase trust and improve click-throughs. Every little bit helps!
When Google sees more people clicking on your page, they’ll move your page up in rankings. That’s why having a really good click-through rate gets your page ranking higher.
Fixing Broken Links
Broken website links are like dead ends and they make your website less trustworthy. There are online tools you can use to find and check broken website links. Do this every, few months or even have broken links monitored continuously.
This is just regular, website maintenance that people forget, so do it.
Maybe since you wrote about a topic, there are better, more reliable sources available. If so, then go ahead and update that content, linking to those better sources. This will help people coming to your website and show Google you’re paying attention to your content.
See? This is an actual good reason to change content – and not just to try to trick Google.
Oh, and while you’re at it, add more internal links (links to other pages on your website, which are relevant) to help with SEO. Maybe change anchor text (the text that’s linked) to better keywords to help pages rank higher (yeah, that helps).
Do you have several pages that are all about the same thing? Maybe one gets good traffic but the others don’t. In that case, take parts of the pages that aren’t performing and add them to the page which is doing well. Make sure the content still flows well and makes sense, of course.
Once you combine pages, make sure you’ve set up proper 301 redirects from the old pages to the better one.
Making images load faster is an absolutely great reason to update the content (images) of a page. When you do that, you’re providing a better user experience.
One tool I use often is Optimizilla. It’ll bring down the image sizes for you but you have to manually change out the images, of course.
Speaking of that, there are new image formats like webp and others, which really speed up page load time, so switching to them is a good idea. Services like CloudFlare can do this kind of image conversion for you, on the fly (hintidy, hint, hint).
I hope you see how we’re not trying to play games with Google but we’re trying to improve our website’s content when we go back into pages and change the content. We’re trying to provide a better user experience so that our website has value.
This article listed some great reasons to update content and I hope you’ll go through the pages of your website and give them a thorough review to see how they can be improved.
If you have old pages that just aren’t relevant, then either delete them and redirect those links to the home page or else set them to “noindex” so that you tell Google to ignore them and they won’t count toward your crawl budget. You want the content on your website looking good, relevant, original, and worth spending time on. I say to make your content share worthy where people read it and will want to bookmark or share it with others. Now that’s good SEO!
Got any questions or other good reasons to explain why updating pages will or won’t get your website to rank higher? Leave them below in the comments.