Google's April updates include changes to how it handles fresh content. Frequently updated high-quality content marketing campaigns stand to gain, but low-quality content won't drive SEO results.

Google’s search changes for April indicate that the company is continuing its efforts to promote fresh content on the web, but only when frequent updates are powered by high-quality articles. In its recent Inside Search blog post, the company announced three changes dedicated to promoting quality recent results.

The search engine first detailed its updated “smoother ranking” for fresh content. “We want to help you find the freshest results, particularly for searches with important new web content, such as breaking news topics,” said Matt Cutts, Google’s distinguished engineer.

This update mirrors the company’s previous fresh factor algorithm, which was dedicated to helping users find recent results. At the time of the algorithm’s release, Google’s Amit Singhal explained that results, “like warm cookies,” are best served fresh. He said, “Even if you don’t specify it in your search, you probably want search results that are relevant and recent.”

“We have modified a classifier we use to promote fresh content to exclude fresh content identified as particularly low-quality.”

-Matt Cutts

Now, the company is taking freshness to a new level. A second related April algorithm update indicates Google is improving its freshness signal to better identify the most recent documents on the web. Still, marketers can’t regularly post content for content’s sake in an effort to gain visibility – the focus must be on finding new ideas worth publishing. The third freshness update clearly outlines that Google is working to give “no freshness boost for low-quality content.”

Brands that want to see a lift in search from updated articles must focus on quality writing and topics that matter to their audiences. When done right, news content marketing from reliable content writers may help businesses maximize SEO thanks to fresh factors – especially as the company also announced a new UI for news results that emphasizes related content. But without useful and researched information, Google’s updates make clear that businesses will not see search benefits.

Marketers should be thinking beyond SEO when developing content marketing campaigns that account for regular website content updates. Focusing on the user will help yield SEO results, but data shows it also boosts brands’ bottom lines. As Brafton has reported, 92 percent of businesses publishing multiple articles every day acquired customers directly through their blogs.

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.