If you have an older website that has a strong track record and has continually ranked well over the years, it’s easy to get complacent. After all, what’s not broken doesn’t need fixing, right?

Unfortunately, many older sites are seeing their once solid websites drop in placement, and they can’t help but wonder what’s causing this to happen. Is it spamming? No. A missed memo? Hopefully not. Freshness? You got it.

Matt Cutts from Google recently explained how important it is to keep websites up to date and fresh. The owners of older websites can get so comfortable with their methods and placement, they fail to make their site current and engaging with the latest trends. This isn’t because they are being lazy, but more because they don’t want to mess with something that has been working.

But, as you know, being too complacent comes with its consequences, too. You may be seeing your own website being knocked down a few spots and taken over by newer, fresher sites. You may start to think, “But I was here first!” Unfortunately, this mindset isn’t going to get you far, or upward on the search results for that matter. Search engines are built to favor fresh, unique and engaging content, so they naturally gravitate toward sites that produce this.

It can be hard to look at your site in a constructively critical way, especially when it had the momentum just a short time ago. Everyone wanted to know what the secret was, and now you’re wondering the same thing. Here are some good questions to ask yourself.

  • How long has it been since the template or page layout was last updated?
  • Are there functions or features that are no longer used?
  • Does the website take long to load?
  • Is the site cluttered or hard to follow?
  • Are parts of the site not functioning properly?
  • Are you losing traffic?
  • Is the site ranking well?
  • Do you find your competitor’s sites ranking better?
  • Is the content written in a conversationalist tone?

Only you can make the call on whether or not your site needs some updating, but you don’t want your past SEO success to give you a false sense of security today. It doesn’t matter if you were #1 three straight years in a row; the web is changing and all sites need to adapt. Newer sites are generally more likely to comply because they are not set in their ways and are eager to try new tactics. But really, we all need to have this mindset. Hungry sites = successful sites.