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Why outdated web content can rank well in the search engines

Some time ago (well over a year), I ran a small web site that was started pretty much as a self challenge. It was a niche site in a very non competitive market, so I just thought one day “hmm, the site leading the way isn’t doing SEO well, I bet I can out rank them”. Well, my pride got the better of me because although I was right, I ended up with a business where I now had to serve customers, and at a very low price. Even worse, we had to provide a service (I say we, because I quickly recruited a team of people to help me) and it didn’t even seem logical because there was no back end product – at least not another more profitable one.

Have you ever heard the phrase “Fire, Ready, Aim”, and that is pretty much what my approach was to this site, which became a real business (I didn’t really think it out long term). That’s the down side of having access to developers and designers, and having lots of ability to drive traffic to a web site.

So whats my point? Well, this site STILL outranks the competition and I no longer promote the site. It even has a “this site is for sale” text string on it. So I had to ask myself “do the search engines really care about outdated content?” At least two newer companies have joined the mix since I got out of it, and in fact, it was over the weekend that I did some searching to try and find a buyer for this domain, or perhaps offer them my Internet Marketing services.

So why does this content sill out rank newer sites with more dynamic content?

1. It serves a niche market where there is limited competition. If you are in an emerging field where new content is coming out daily, there is bound to be more competition for your related terms. If you are in a niche market where there is very little activity or fewer optimized sites entering your field, you might get lucky as I did. (yes, niche is always better)

2. Implementation of good on site SEO practices. After all, this is why I launched the web site. I saw that the competition had a great idea, but didn’t know how to market it online without using AdWords (they still use AdWords, and I still out rank them organically).

3. Trusted Links. When I was actively promoting the site, it had a Page Rank of 5 and this was more due to the quality of links rather than the quantity of links. I scored an interview from a major site that linked to my little site and that kicked it up to a Page Rank of 5 (from 3) in no time and with few other links.

4. Age of the site / content. My sites content is seasoned in that has been around longer than many of the newer sites in the field. (so is it better to have dynamic content or seasoned content? – makes you wonder)

5. Domain expiration date. This is one of those questionable ranking factors that we often hear quoted. A commonly understood practice is to register your domain for at least 5 years, which indicates that you plan on being around for at least that long. With Google’s domain registrar partnership, it is alleged that this is a ranking factor, at least for Google. At a minimum, I would say it is a good test for how the site owners feel about their site. Most registrars default to a two year term, so it could be suspected that is you reduce it to one year, you are testing the market, and not serious about the web site.

Sorry I was not able to mention the site by name; I am in negotiations with a few companies. Even after it sells, I may not be able to mention it.

Happy ranking!

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One Response to “Why outdated web content can rank well in the search engines”

  • Yobachi:

    I’ve learned most of this as I go long over the last few months, though some of it was common sense before I got started; and the feedburnner was installed by the person who installed my site for me.

    I use WordPress, and like it for the most part. What’s a cheap, user friendly alternative? Doesn’t movable type take a lot more of hard coding and technical know how.

    I won’t comment on blogs I have to register for. Having to type in name, email, and url is enough. I stopped commenting to a blog that I regularly commented to when she abruptly went to registering. I’ve meant to tell her that.

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