Keeping your website up to date is important for a few different reasons, you’ll often hear SEO’s tell you that it can help improve your rankings or something along those lines, although this is true I think there are other reasons you should keep your site updated which are perhaps more important. In my opinion there are three major reasons that you should keep your website up to date with new, fresh and relevant content, the reasons are retaining user trust, ensuring search engines crawl your site regularly and increase your rankings.
The simple fact is if your website looks out dated and the last blog you posted was in 2013 (example), then the user is going to trust your site, they will just assume it’s abandoned. Of course if you are selling a product or general have a site where the user has to put trust in you in anyway then this isn’t a good idea. Not keeping your content up to date can result in a massive loss of sales and also lower your traffic retention, as well as opening yourself up to a host of bad reviews.
Ensuring Search Engines Crawl Your Site Regularly
If you have ever taken a look at the log files on your server then you would know that if you’re an active website that is regularly updating content various different search engines visits your site hundreds or thousands of times a day, depending on how regularly you updated your website. Crawling software is smart, it also has to crawl the whole web or at least what it can find, which as you imagine isn’t an easy job. Since the crawler is crawling so many sites search engines naturally only want to crawl websites which have new content or updated content for them to index, there is no point revisiting a site if it doesn’t change.
If a crawler realises that your site rarely ever changes then it has no need to come back to your site and regularly crawl it to add to its index, it assumes you won’t have any fresh content for you to rank and therefore comes back less regularly. This shows that Google don’t value your site as much, the site’s that do the best are often the sites that regularly update their product or content as an example, Amazon, Ebay & Wikipedia.
It Increases Your Ranking Potential
As Google regularly visit sites with fresh content then it naturally trusts them more and general gives them a higher ranking. New content is also one of the best ways to rank for new keywords, there are of course the other H1’s, Title Tags, internal linking and so on, but content is still king (ish!).
Let’s wrap this all up and answer the question how important is it to keep your website up to date? Very, if you don’t, your users lose trust, Google loses trust and ultimately it costs you in rankings. How regularly should you update your content though? That’s a different post all together, as regularly as you can afford or put in the time to do!