Google has released some new advice to webmasters of well-established businesses with domains that have been around for a long time. Keep up with the times, or you'll be left behind.
Said advice comes in the form of a "Webmaster Help" video from head of webspam, Matt Cutts. A webmaster asked, "I have been in business for over 14 years with my domain, and see much newer domains passing me. Any algorithms to protect older domains/sites in business from newer sites with more spam?"
Cutts decided to "answer a slightly different question," leaving off the "more spam" and simply focusing on the older domains vs. newer domains aspect.
"The advice that I'd give to you as the owner of a site that's been around for fourteen years is to take a fresh look at your site," he says. "A lot of times if you land on your site, and you land on a random website from a search result, you know, even if they've been in business for fifteen years, fourteen years, sometimes they haven't updated their template or their page layout or anything in years and years and years, and it looks, frankly, like sort of a stale sort of an older site, and that's the sort of thing where users might not be as happy about that."
"And so if you do run an older site or a very well-established site, I wouldn't just coast on your laurels," he adds. "I wouldn't just say, 'Well I'm number one for now, and everything is great,' because newer sites, more agile sites, more hungry sites, more sites that have a better user experience - they can grow, and they can eclipse you if you don't continue to adapt, and evolve, and move with the times. So I wouldn't say just because you are a domain that's well-established or has been around for a long time, you will automatically keep ranking. We've seen plenty of newer domains and businesses bypass older domains."
Of course it's unclear whether or not the person asking the question actually had an old, stale site. There are over 200 signals Google takes into account, but "keeping up with the times" is clearly going to have to be something businesses need to consider if they hope to maintain a significant online presence.
This probably doesn't necessarily mean complete design overhauls every year, but perhaps some gradual tweaking is in order as time goes on. What are those outranking you doing better than you?
Image via YouTube