The Keystone Cops are alive and well and living in the Thames Valley. A month since an incident in Henley on Thames, the police are now admitting they made a mistake. It appears that a branch of Lloyds TSB was being robbed at gunpoint. So four police cars and a helicopter rushed to the bank – except they went to Pangbourne, some 15 miles away. The bank’s staff were somewhat surprised, but probably less surprised than the actual robber who got away with his action, seemingly uninterrupted by even a Community Support Officer.
So why did the police end up in the wrong place? It appears the alarm systems, which are rarely used, were inaccurate. The Lloyds TSB staff did exactly as they were trained and raised the “silent” alarm, warning the local police of the robbery in action. But the system suggested to the police the alarm was coming from a different location. You might have thought such systems were frequently tested, but the good news is that armed bank robberies are rare. Even though they are potentially serious, they have low awareness levels compared with street robberies, shoplifting and car crime. Your average police officer is unlikely ever to be involved in dealing with a bank raid in an entire career.
What this story reveals is that the things that remain at the forefront of our mind, are those to which we are exposed most often. For example, you probably spend most of the spring and summer caring for your garden’s lawn, tending to it and making it look lush and green. But in the winter, you ignore it completely. The same, it appears is true with the Thames Valley Police – daily crime gets a lot of attention, but testing out those bank alarms which are almost never used anyway? They’ll wait to another day – priorities.
Well, strange as it may seem, Google behaves in the same way as the Thames Valley Police. Google pays attention to the regular and frequent stuff that passes it by, only giving comparatively scant attention to the infrequent material. In fact, rather like the Thames Valley Police, if a website is changed infrequently, Google’s algorithm pays even less attention, setting the delay for its next return at an ever more distant time in the future. It’s like your lawn being in constant winter.
Google pays most attention to those blogs and websites which are updated most frequently. Search for “Internet marketing blog” and you’ll find that the top of the list is the HubSpot Blog, which is updated an average of five times a day. In the middle of the search engine results list is ClickNewz, which is written on a daily basis. Meanwhile, at the Number 10 slot is Mark Flavin’s Internet marketing blog, which is updated a couple of times a week. There is, it seems, a direct relationship between the position on a Google search results and the frequency of blogging. You can try searching for something else, such as “fashion blog“. Top of the results is The Sartorialist, updated several times a day. Down at the bottom is Couture in the City, updated every few days. You can repeat this exercise at will and you will find that on average the top ranking websites and blogs are the ones which are updated more frequently than those further down the list.
In other words, Google perceives frequency of update as an important factor in the results it presents to us. That implies that the more often you post material to your blog, the higher up the search engine rankings you will go. In fact, several searches across multiple phrases reveal that the top ranking sites are those which are updated SEVERAL TIMES A DAY. Updating your blog once a week, or when the muse takes you, is no longer much of an option. Your competitors who add content more frequently will get more attention from Google and will be rewarded with higher positions in the search engine results ranking.
But it’s not just Google that this is important to. Human beings react the same way. The more frequently you see a website mentioned, quoted or Tweeted, the more important you perceive it to be. Frequency of posting to your blog or adding content to your website is an essential component in this process. You get more people talking about you – online and offiline – the more frequently you add content.
And so it is true for the Thames Valley Police; the more frequently they see town centre knife crime, for instance, the more front of mind it becomes. And that’s why its easy to ignore testing bank alarms to see if they are set right. Similarly, your lawn does need care in the winter if it is to look its best in the summer, but because it is not front of mind you ignore it and then have to work much harder in the summer to make it look anywhere near decent. Don’t let your website or blog become your forgotten lawn – add content to your website multiple times each day. You’ll get higher search engine ranking and you’ll get more people talking about you. Only add content once a week or so and you will become one of the forgotten many.
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+