There's an elephant in the room, and no one seems willing to talk about it. If you've done any research on SEO, you've probably heard that search engines love fresh content. Possibly in those exact words. It's an alluring idea: just update your blog regularly, and your search engine rankings will soar. Unfortunately, it's wrong. Well, not exactly. It's just no longer the most important thing you can be doing, and focusing on fresh content can actually damage your rankings.
Why do we keep talking about fresh content?
It is one piece of the puzzle. Google and other search engines do factor "freshness" into their search algorithms, somewhat favoring websites that change and add new content regularly. But unless the query deserves freshness (QDF), search engines tend to lean towards authoritative sources, not the freshest ones. That's why when you search "fresh content," most of the articles you get are on the order of five years old.
This isn't to say that you should stop regularly updating your blog. In fact, consistently updating your blog is still a crucial part of SEO. Just, maybe not for the reasons you might think.
What does fresh content do for me?
This is perhaps one of the biggest reasons to update your blog. It's not the fact that search engines are updating a freshness metric; it's that you've added new value to your website. The more articles you have on your site, the higher it will rank for different keywords because you simply have more content. It's also easier to earn links back to new content, especially quality content, further boosting your rankings because you're now seen as a more authoritative source.
So what's wrong with focusing on fresh content?
The major issue is simply that it distracts your attention from what you should be focusing on: quality content. Focusing on freshness leads many business owners to feel like they need to be updating their blogs more often than necessary, and they're putting out poor content because of it. This can, and will, damage your rankings.
Poor content isn't measured by the writing itself, but whether or not users bounce and search for an answer elsewhere. If they do, search engines consider that result less relevant. This means that when you post articles on your blog, they need to do more than "freshen" up your website. They need to actually help your audience with their search query.
This means a lot more work than the "fresh content" approach, but it will pay off in the long run, even if search algorithms change. (Which they will.) Posting high quality content, even if it means you post less often, makes it easier to develop a readership, earn links to your work, and promote your brand. Search engines don't love fresh content; they love content that their users love.