Ever since Google launched its Caffeine indexing system in November 2009, there has been an emphasis on fresh content. This past November’s Google freshness update reportedly affected 35% of all searches, which dwarfs Panda’s 11-12% impact. That surprised some because Panda seemed like such a big deal to the SEO world, but we have to remember that the majority of users do not think in terms of SEO and increasing their page rank. Instead they are performing queries for specific and frequently time sensitive material as opposed to the keywords SEO tends to revolve around. As we attempt to parse Google’s most recent flurry of algorithm changes, 52 in the month of April to be exact, freshness emerges as a recurring theme and is specifically mentioned three times. While April’s freshness tweaks appear to be minor, it serves as a reminder that relevancy encapsulates not only the substance of the content, but also its recentness.
The most significant adjustment is “Smoother ranking changes for fresh results. [launch codename 'sep', project codename 'Freshness']” As we all know, Google tries to promote content that appears fresh, such as breaking news. They explain, “This change applies a more granular classifier, leading to more nuanced changes in ranking based on freshness.” In plain English, this segment of the algorithm is more finely detailed and relies upon subtler signals. Theoretically, this more sophisticated formula should deliver better results and produce more stable rankings overall. This is pure conjecture, but in part, it probably weighs the timeliness of the information against the authority of the source. Basically, “FIRST!” is important, but results from established news agencies would most likely supersede Joe Schmo from Nowheresville, even if he was a credible, articulate, and accurate source.
Next, they explain April’s “Improvement in a freshness signal [launch codename 'citron', project codename 'Freshness'] in addeningly ambiguous language. If you can extrapolate any significant implications from “a minor improvement to one of the freshness signals which helps to better identify fresh documents,” then you deserve some sort of Google Jedi Master status. They made one of their freshness signals better. Which one? Who knows. Was it fixing a bug or is it a genuine enhancement? Can’t say. Will it noticeably change anything? Probably not to anyone outside of the team who implemented it. Is there a clue embedded in “codename citron?” Beats me, but it could be a fun exercise if you are really bored. They did it, so they had to mention it, but there is no clear change we should be making.
Lastly, there is “No freshness boost for low-quality content. [launch codename 'NoRot', project codename 'Freshness']” If you have been generating unique, high quality content then there is no need to worry and every reason to celebrate this change. Google has “modified a classifier we use to promote fresh content to exclude fresh content identified as particularly low-quality.” If you have a subpar site with thin or junk content, it will not matter how fresh your material is. If everything else indicates you are a low-quality site, any attempts at relevancy will be for naught. Focus instead on improving your site and generating better content, and fold in freshness when it will not be undermined by the more important elements of your site. It is a little surprising that this has not happened sooner, but it sounds like this was more of an adjustment in how signals were individually interpreted and collectively compared to one another.
Ultimately, the new Google freshness updates reinforce what we already knew. A complex ratio of substance and recentness constitutes relevancy, especially for user queries that focus on news and current events. While it is important to post frequently and incorporate material that pertains to specific moments in time, quality trumps everything. If you post well-written, original content that engages readers through entertainment or information, you will eventually rise to the top. Your audience will grow, your authority will increase, and your page rank will rise. If you post infrequently, of course, it will hinder your site’s visibility and significantly decrease the chances of someone stumbling across your site when searching for particular items and not you specifically. Still, it is better to publish stellar content a few times a week instead of littering the internet with rubbish multiple times a day. Google rewarding individuals that take the time to contribute meaningfully to the discussion and penalizing those that merely degrade is something we should all embrace, one algorithmic change at a time.
Article by John V. The most recent Google Freshness Updates reinforce what we already know; A complex ratio of substance and recentness constitutes relevancy and determines rank. To learn more visit: http://www.wpromote.com