June 13 2012 Editor Assistance Newsletter
I've posted the chat log from our social networking chat. It can be found with all chat logs in our Editor Assistance site. Click on the link in your admin menu to get to the main Editor Assistance site. From there go into the Forum & Chat subject area, and you'll find all the logs sorted by date!
I am pondering adding the option for each article to let you specify a Facebook image to go with that article. That is, when people promote an article on Facebook, you could choose which specific image would display with that promotion. I know the article add/edit screen already has bunches of boxes on it. I don't want it to get too confusing :) But I do also know that sometimes it would be nice to be able to specify a specific image to be used by Facebook and Google+ when promoting that article. It would be entirely optional to fill in. So this would only really matter for editors who use images.
Let me know what you think. Would one more input box be just too many to deal with on the form? Or would it be helpful?
Google greatly rewards content which is evergreen. That is, Google rewards long-term, always-useful content far higher than it does short-term, date-oriented content. If content seems to be about a specific date and time, Google consider that to be content which can quickly become old and out of date. Therefore that type of content would get lower ranking than content that is fully evergreen.
Articles that mention phrases like "today" or "last week" or "this summer" would be penalized, compared with articles that talked in a more evergreen way about a topic.
Of course, we care not only about Google getting visitors TO us. We also care greatly about the visitors who reach us. We absolutely have found that visitors can be actively confused or frustrated by references to time and date.
For example, imagine an article states "last week's episode was amazingly good." The article is posted in May 2012. When a visitor reads that content in December 2020, they will be quite confused. They have no idea that "last week" really means eight years ago.
Imagine an article says "this summer only, the Renoir exhibit will be in town" and is posted in May 2012. When a visitor reads that article in August 2020, they will be baffled by what the article is talking about. Now they have to figure out if it meant August 2020 and they just missed it - or if the article meant August 2021 and they are now planning for something that actually happened years in the past. But in either case they will be wrong in their guess.
The solution should not be to start putting dates and times in - because this makes the problem even worse. If a person is coming to learn what Stonehenge is all about, and they find a list of events for May 1999, they will hit the BACK button so quickly your head will spin :) That will cause the article to lose all traffic. Articles should never have date-specific content. All date-related content should go in the forums and newsletters. That way the articles themselves can remain timeless, always-useful, and earn high rankings.
To summarize, it is critical on the web to always write all content with an evergreen frame of reference. It is what the readers want, and it is what the search engines reward.
For the times you want to mention something happening "this summer" or "last week" then the forums and newsletters are the ideal locations for those time-based entries. The newsletters and forums are both time-based posting areas. They are clearly identified with the date and time of their release, and their purpose is that very thing. They are where any reference to date or time or "upcoming" works perfectly. Social networking is also perfect for date-specific commentary.
So the best, most effective solution is a two-pronged approach. Every article should always be fully evergreen. There should never be any date or time related phrasing in any article. There should be no use of "today" or "yesterday" or "this summer" or "last week". Then, use your forums and newsletters and social networks to promote that article, and in those areas you can talk about the upcoming events, the recent events, and other context.
The Editor Assistance Site has a full article that talks about evergreen content and why it's so critical for long term traffic -
Please let me know if you have any questions on evergreen content, and why it's so critical that each article in our article area be 100% evergreen. I am happy to help!
Lisa Shea, owner
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