Old Gold

If you write hundreds and hundreds of pages about a topic odds are that eventually one of them is going to rank, get some decent self reinforcing links, and then keep ranking. This is especially true if you are writing about a modern technology or a field that is rapidly changing. One of the reasons exposure on sites like Digg and Del.icio.us is so valuable is that it earns you unrequested secondary and tertiary (and fortuary, hey wait, is that a word) organic citations. Some underfunded mainstream media sites just link to whatever ends up on sites like Del.icio.us that day, then other people find those channels and link to you from there as well. It is equally cool and lame, but perhaps a bit more cool if you are on the receiving end of the linkstream.

Longterm the key to doing well on the web is to do things that are strong enough that they build unrequested links.

So what if you are already ranking #1 for a keyword on an old page? Is it ever worth editing it?

I have a page which got about a half dozen unrequested .edu links back in 2004. The page was probably of average quality, but easy to cite, because it looked comprehensive. As time passed I added a bit of info to the page here and there but did not go through to format and edit it...those changes, coupled with rapid changes in that field meant that the page went from average to below average quickly.

It still ranked #1, but that page has not got a single .edu citation since 2004. What if I would have made that page far better? Have I been throwing away a .edu link a week for the last year and a half? Likely. And it gets worse too, because as that page would have got cited it would have lead to secondary and tertiary (and fortuary, hey wait, is that a word) organic citations from people who were passionate about that topic.

And had that site gained another 50 or 100 .edu links it would have doubled or tripled the value of that site. The authority from that one page would have carried that site.

Now I am not a fan of going through and editing everything over and over again, but if you have a couple core pages which capture powerful ideas it is worth it to make those as good as they can be. And if you already rank, then you are just leaving links on the table if those pages are average. Clean them up a bit and get the love you deserve, you obviously deserve it if you are already ranking :)

Some marketing is push. Other marketing is pull. What makes SEO great, is that when you figure out what ideas to target your pull marketing is self reinforcing while others are pushing pushing pushing and never able to catch up.

Published: September 24, 2006 by Aaron Wall in seo tips


September 25, 2006 - 2:55am

It's a gamble. If this page is bringing you visitors that end up being repeat visitors, do you want to risk loosing the listing by changing a large part of the on page content? I guess it would be a good test of how much the actual on page content is causing the rankings.

September 25, 2006 - 4:23am

Well I am talking about turning an average page where there is little competition into an authoritative source that will quickly gain self reinforcing links. And I could give it a bit of a bump as well in the SERPs. For this particular query I have two of the top 5 ranked pages across two different sites, and there was little downside potential since the query is mostly an authoritative linkbait informational type query and not really a commercial query.

September 25, 2006 - 4:01pm

I do this all the I'm time (cuz I'm lazy) I look at it as "free" gold.

Just last week I spent 10min adding a couple links in some old gold pages, and it already looks as though earnings and pageviews took a small bump up from it.

And my site looks better too now.

Bruce Wood
September 27, 2006 - 5:42am

How does a page remain ranked very high for a specific keyword if the content on the page is constantly changing. For instance, SEO book's main page is constantly changing its content but it remains ranked #1 for the keywords 'SEO book' in google. If the number of times the Keyword's are counted on the page is always changing doesn't that affect the page ranking.

September 27, 2006 - 10:17pm

For shorter search queries the search relevancy algorithms are more dependant on link reputation than on the page content.

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