While doing my usual daily checks on the latest SEO and online marketing news, I found an interesting post on Sphinn that caught my attention. Originally written by Ann Smarty, it goes on to explain some of the issues that a static website will have when it comes to updates. For example, if you have a static website and you don’t make frequent changes then Googlebot will visit your site less frequently. As a result, over time your site will be visited less and less. On the occassion that you do update your site content, it could be weeks or even months before the new content is cached in Google which isn’t great at the best of times, but a disaster for any time sensitive content.
If you build your website in a platform such as WordPress (and use it as a content management system) then this problem doesn’t exist, as everytime you make an update to your page / content, WordPress will “ping” Google notifying it of the changes. This has been setup because Google wants to have the latest news stories, and you will find that your blog posts are cached usually within a few minutes of being posted. However, there are reasons not to use a CMS i.e. such as costs (i.e. if initial budget for building the site was low) so what can you do to rectify this issue with a static site?
Well the answer seems quite simple, you use Google Reader. Google Reader is basically an aggregator for all of your RSS feeds, which allows you to easily categorise and add your feeds from your favourite sites. If you add the homepage of your static site to Google Reader, it will present you with the following message “Google could not find any feeds on this page”, but it gives you the option to create one. By doing this Google will watch for changes on the site, and then summarise them for you by regularly checking the site and comparing the content. So there you have it, Google will now be checking your website for changes probably once per day hopefully ensuring that any content changes you make will be cached within 24 hours. I’ve just added a few static websites to my Google Reader that we’re updating in the next week, so I will follow up on this post and let you know how it goes!