Content marketing

How Often Do Publishers Update Content? A Study On “best air fryer” Articles

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CONTENTS

Publishers seem to dominate the search engines when it comes to “best of” and “top” lists. These lists drive substantial lower funnel traffic from customers ready to make a purchase, making this a highly lucrative space.

One key strategy behind their success is regular content updates. To understand how impactful content updates are on rankings, we conducted a study focusing on the keyword “best air fryer,” which garners an impressive 42,000 searches per month in the UK, and 186,000 searches per month globally.

This study aims to uncover how website updates, including frequent updates to titles, body content, and backlinks, significantly enhance search rankings. By analyzing these practices, we provide actionable insights to help optimize your content for better performance.

Study Overview

Our objective was to analyze the impact of various SEO-related website changes on the rankings of articles related to the keyword ‘best air fryer.’ Using Rankalyzer, we tracked the top 30 pages for this keyword over a 20-week period, starting in January 2024.

We monitored weekly modifications in key elements such as titles, body content, backlinks, descriptions, H1 tags, H2-6 tags, images, schema, and page speed. Our analysis prioritized the first three elements—titles, body content, and backlinks—as they are most critical for SEO performance.

Methodology

  1. Tracking Period: We tracked the keyword ‘best air fryer’ (in UK SERPs) using Rankalyzer over a 20-week period, starting in January 2024.
  2. Data Collection: We collected data on the top 30 ranking articles each week, focusing on changes in titles, body content, and backlinks.
  3. Backlink Changes: Rankalyzer records both new and lost backlinks. A change is recorded when there are new or lost backlinks. In reality, new backlinks occur more frequently than lost backlinks, so we can generally assume that a backlink change is due to new backlinks.
  4. Key Metrics Identification: Key metrics such as frequency and type of changes were identified to analyze their impact on weekly rankings.
  5. Data Analysis: Patterns and correlations between changes and ranking improvements were analyzed to derive key findings.

Key Findings

  1. Top-ranked articles make more frequent changes
  2. More frequent content updates lead to improved rankings
  3. More frequent title changes lead to higher rankings
  4. Articles with more frequent body content changes achieved higher rankings
  5. Optimal frequency of backlink changes for improved rankings is 0 to 1 per month

Detailed Findings

Top-Ranked Articles Make More Frequent Changes

Our analysis reveals that the top 5 articles with the highest average rankings made more frequent SEO-related changes compared to the rest. Below is the detailed comparison:

Bottom-Ranked Articles Make Fewer Changes

Similarly, we found that the bottom-ranked articles made fewer changes overall:

Comparison of Changes:

Group Average Monthly Changes Title Changes (Monthly) Body Changes (Monthly) Backlink Changes (Monthly)
Top 5 Ranked Articles 14 0.6 3 1
Rest of Articles 5 0.2 1 0.4
    • Total Changes: Articles that ranked in the top 5 made an average of 14 changes per month, compared to 5 changes per month for all other articles.
    • Title Changes: Top 5 articles made an average of 0.6 title changes per month, whereas other articles made 0.2 title changes per month.
    • Body Content Changes: Top 5 articles made an average of 3 body content changes per month, compared to 1 body change per month for the rest.
    • Backlink Changes: Top 5 articles made an average of 1 backlink change per month, while other articles made 0.4 backlink changes per month. Since Rankalyzer records both new and lost backlinks, we assume most changes indicate new backlinks, which are more common.

This data suggests that more frequent updates, especially to body content and titles, are associated with higher rankings. Regularly updating content elements like titles, body, and backlinks can significantly enhance article performance in search rankings.

More Frequent Content Updates Lead to Improved Rankings

Articles that improved rankings over the 20 weeks made more overall changes than those that declined in rankings.

    • Of the consistent performers, articles which had an improvement in rankings over time made 54 overall changes on average, compared to 41 overall changes for articles with a decline in ranking.
    • Articles with improved rankings also made an average of 2.6 title changes, 11.5 body changes, and 4.2 backlink changes. In contrast, articles with declining rankings made an average of 1.7 title changes, 9.4 body changes, and 2.8 backlink changes.
Change in Rankings Total Changes (average) Title changes (average) Body content changes (average) Backlink changes (average)
Articles that went up in rankings 54 2.6 11.5 4.2
Articles that went down in rankings 41 1.7 9.4 2.8

More Frequent Title Changes Lead to Higher Rankings

Our analysis indicates that the frequency of title changes significantly impacts the ranking of articles. Articles that made no title changes had an average ranking of 21.2.

Those that made between 0 and 0.9 title changes per month had an improved average ranking of 16.7.

The best-performing articles, with more than 0.9 title changes per month, achieved the highest average ranking of 13.6.

Monthly Title Changes Average Ranking
0 21.2
0 - 0.9 16.7
> 0.9 13.6

Articles with More Frequent Body Content Changes Achieved Higher Rankings

Our analysis reveals that the frequency of body content changes in articles is closely linked to their ranking performance. Articles with no body changes had an average ranking of 21.8.

Articles that made between 0 and 2.2 body changes per month had a slightly better average ranking of 19.9.

Those that made more than 2.2 body changes per month achieved a significantly higher average ranking of 13.3.

Average Monthly Body Changes Average Ranking
0 21.8
0 - 2.2 19.9
> 2.2 13.3

Optimal Frequency of Backlink Changes for Improved Rankings is 0 to 1 Per Month

The optimal range of average monthly backlink changes for average ranking was 0 to 1.1 changes.

Articles with no backlink changes had an average ranking of 20.5. Articles that made between 0 and 1.1 backlink changes per month had a better average ranking of 16.4.

Those that made more than 1.1 backlink changes per month had a slightly lower average ranking of 19.1.

This implies that too frequent changes in backlinks might not be as effective and could potentially be detrimental. Note that a backlink change generally indicates the acquisition of new backlinks, as lost backlinks are relatively rare.

Average Monthly backlink Changes Average Ranking
0 20.5
0 - 1.1 16.4
> 1.1 19.1

Conclusion

Our findings demonstrate that regular updates are essential for maintaining and improving search rankings. Using Rankalyzer, we identified top performers and analyzed changes in Titles, Body content, and backlinks to assess their impact on rankings. This analysis offers actionable SEO guidance, particularly for websites that publish best-of lists.

The study also illustrates how Rankalyzer users can conduct similar studies on their keywords of interest, enabling them to stay ahead in the competitive landscape by applying effective SEO strategies.

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Additional Information

Study Limitations

Data on changes is only available for websites that are ranked in the top 30 each week, which created some gaps in our analysis. To address this limitation, we focused on metrics calculated using averages.

Detailed explanations of these averages are provided in the glossary below. Additionally, the scope of our study is limited to the ‘best air fryer’ keyword, and results may vary for other keywords.

Glossary

Average Ranking: The average position of an article in the search results over the study period, calculated by summing its weekly rankings and dividing by the number of weeks it appeared in the top 30.

    • Average Monthly Changes: The average number of changes made to an article each month, calculated by summing the total changes and dividing by the number of months it appeared in the top 30.
    • Average Monthly Title Changes: The average number of title changes made each month, calculated by summing the title changes and dividing by the number of months the article appeared in the top 30.
    • Average Monthly Body Changes: The average number of body content changes made each month, calculated by summing the body changes and dividing by the number of months the article appeared in the top 30.
    • Average Monthly Link Changes: The average number of link changes (new or lost backlinks) made each month, calculated by summing the link changes and dividing by the number of months the article appeared in the top 30.
    • Consistent Performer: An article that was consistently ranked in the top 30 during both the first and last week of the study.
Article by
Sean Begg is Founder & CEO at Rankalyzer & Position Digital. He loves writing about SEO, link building and digital PR.

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Sean Begg is Founder & CEO at Rankalyzer & Position Digital. He loves writing about SEO, link building and digital PR.

Rankalyzer allows you to see exactly how your competitors are optimizing their sites and the direct effects on their keyword rankings. Armed with this insight, take decisive action, refine your SEO strategy, and drive better SEO results today.

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