The next common SEO myth is that Google only ranks “fresh” content.
Does Google rank fresh content? Absolutely, but Google also ranks old content that hasn’t been updated in years!
Freshness is a query-dependent ranking factor, meaning fresh content matters for some search queries, but not so much for others.
For example, a popular web page about the human heart has had almost the exact same content since 2013.
And if you look at the page’s traffic trend, it’s continually gained search traffic to this date. That’s because a search query like “how does the human heart work” isn’t dependent on fresh content, since nothing has really changed.
Now, a topic like “best movies on Netflix” is something that changes over time, and if you looked at the organic traffic trend for a web page about this topic, you’ll see spikes and dips in search traffic.
Basically, dips happened when the content got older without an update, but when the post is updated with fresh content, you’ll see immediate gains in search traffic.
So how can you tell if a query relies on freshness? The quickest and easiest way is to look at the top 10 ranking results, and if you see that all of the pages have the current year in the title, there’s a high chance that freshness plays a role in ranking.
But the bottom line is Google doesn’t only rank fresh content.
The next SEO myth is that duplicate content will get you penalised. Duplicate content is exact or near-duplicate content that appears on the web in more than one place.
But there is no such thing as a duplicate content penalty. It’d be impossible to track properly since many pages are syndicated, scraped, and can even be created without you knowing it, like on category or archive pages.
In fact, Google and its representatives have said on numerous occasions that Google doesn’t have a duplicate content penalty, but that doesn’t mean duplicate content is good for your site.
It can actually lead to undesirable results like backlink dilution, wasted crawl budget, or syndicated content ranking ahead of you.