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Fresh tag - what is it good for?
Vanity - or?

 11:02 pm on Oct 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just a question - some might find it really stupid, but it's a thing i've been thinking about lately:

- this fresh tag ... what's so great about it?

I don't really get it. I mean, it only shows you the last time Gbot was at your site doesn't it? That info is already in your logiles after all. A fresh tag will not make you rank higher or lower, i know that much - at least my own rankings are not different with or without the date stamp.

As increased spidering is really just a cost (bandwidth and server processes), i can only think of one occasion making me want to increase the frequency, and that would be during (after) a total re-make of the site. Such occasions are rare.

As to "my new pages will get indexed faster" i don't think there's a correlation between frequency and depth of spidering, apart from both tasks being performed by the same spider. I've seen numerous posts complaining that the Gbot comes by ever so often, but stays at the doorstep and then leaves, not seeing all the freshly added pages. Imho, "deep" seems better than "often", but then again - news sites, blogs, forums, etc., may have another opinion.

So, is it pure vanity? Or, perhaps speculation that a date in the serps will give better clickthrough rates?





 11:29 pm on Oct 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

this fresh tag ... what's so great about it?

Updated listing. If you remember the not so old days at all everyone sat around on pins and needles waiting for their listing to be updated. If your url had a PR4 or higher your listing and position updated once a month. If your url had less than a PR4 it was generally once every 90 days. Now no one is exactly certain when their updated content is going to show up in Google and what's going to happen to their position when it does.

Enter the freshbot. Instead of updating on a schedule the Freshbot (as opposed to the DeepBot) would find out that a url had been "recently modified". It would go ahead and spider the new content and display it. If you weren't watching anything but your logs you would see an increase in traffic (hopefully) and check the SERPs to see what was up. If your listing had a date beside it and was in a higher position it was time for someone else to buy.

People like getting updated ahead of schedule. Some people just like having a fresh listing. Some people figure out ways to charge their SEO clients extra,use it during their "I deserve a raise" presentation or add it to their resume.

Fresh is cool,stale isn't. Get it?


 11:56 pm on Oct 10, 2003 (gmt 0)

Claus -

I wonder if in part the freshtag is in some way a response to complaints about a stale index. I remember in May/June during "Dominic" there was an awful lot of griping about old pages.

Now if you look at the serps and see yesterday's date, you can't really say that G isn't presenting fresh content, can you?


 12:33 am on Oct 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

One thing you seem to be forgetting is that there are pages out there which are frequently updated. Such as those that contain updated news on a specific topic. Google and their users prefer the most up to date index.


 1:49 am on Oct 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I usually prefer fresh content and a fresh tag is a good identifier for that purpose.


 2:05 am on Oct 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Now if you look at the serps and see yesterday's date, you can't really say that G isn't presenting fresh content, can you?

I and several others believe that,since Dominic,that Google is using older versions of its index. Some believe that Google reached its theoretical table limit months ago. Some say that the database died in a horrible crash late one night after one of the many legendary but undocumented Google parties and that Google is covering it up to protect their market position. Others believe that it had to do with the use of multiple datacenters. Still others report that Google is glossing over its outdated listings with "fresh" listings in order to maintain its youthful appearance and to refute terrible rumours about its actual age (unknown). A recent replacement of a corporate Google executive is raising even more eyebrows here at the newsdesk. We're watching the latest announcments claiming that a well-financed competitor will soon unseat "King Google" and replace him with a kinder,gentler and far superior intellectual search engine. There is currently no known connection between these rumours and the New World Order. Strangely,Google has not responded to these allegations and recent California governor-elect Arnold "Arnold" Schwarzenegger has not even addressed the issue.

Whatever. Fresh is fresh. Old is not. Fresh press never hurt anybody,right?



 2:07 am on Oct 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

In addition to seeing Google from the webmaster's point of view I also use Google for a lot of research so I see it from the regular user's point of view. All too often the SERPs I get contain content that hasn't been updated in years. For that reason I like the fresh tag because it's an easy way to spot sites that are in fact fresh. It's just too bad the fresh tag isn't visible for a longer period of time.


 2:12 am on Oct 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

>For that reason I like the fresh tag because it's an easy way to spot sites that are in fact fresh.

No. Google shows the fresh tag on pages that haven't been updated in a while. Both my sites have fresh tags for the home page at the moment, even though they haven't been recently updated. This is normal if your site has a home page with a PR6. This is the curse of having high PageRank. ;)


 3:23 am on Oct 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Here's a fresh tag question...
Google comes to my site daily. I just re-did the entire site... early September.

The google listings and description have changed accordingly... yet it does not display a fresh tag.

Anybody know the reason why?


 3:25 am on Oct 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I've asked this same question before and got similar answers. Truth be told I've never once seen a bump in traffic because of having a fresh tag, but maybe it's just my niche. Also, as a user, I don't think I've ever clicked on a link because there was a fresh tag next to it. In fact, I would bet that 99.9% of Google visitors don't even know there are fresh tags, let alone what to do with them if they saw one. I wouldn't worry about not having any.


 3:52 am on Oct 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Good comments. I thought you'd all accuse me of being stupid for questioning the value of the fresh dates. I'm glad it's not so, although i appreciate that you disagree. As to Google users (searchers) i don't really have an opinion about if the fresh dates are good or not yet. I'm only concerned with the value for webmasters/SEO's and (mostly) the value for the sites they run.

>> news sites, blogs, forums, etc., may have another opinion.

...as stated, i recognize that. I have pages that update never, rarely, occasionally, monthly, weekly, every 15 minutes, and i also have pages that update for every request, so

>> you would see an increase in traffic

You bet. When they made the bot-switch my average number of pageviews per ip/visit/anything increased tenfold, and then some. I just about banned the Gbot for that, but i had patience and the level became tolerable again.

>> go ahead and spider the new content and display it

Yes, but it doesn't just do that for any site out there. It waits. It comes by, knocks on the door, then it leaves again. Not only that but it comes by often, just to say "hi! well, you might just have added more pages, but i really don't care - i'll be back tomorrow".

The recent threads about new (well, relatively so) sites are like that. They get links, they add content, they get spidered any and all day, and still Gbot goes to their frontpage only - until their backlinks or whatever reach that magic treshold level that haven't been identified clearly yet. To these sites, a fresh date without deep spidering is not worth a lot.

In my case, it seems that i'm past that threshold. My new pages get spidered and indexed quite quickly, which is good. Then, nothing really happens until they get PR and start ranking where they should be ranking some time after that; two weeks can pass before that happens, perhaps even more.

The ranking is not the same as the spidering, it's due to the index update - inbounds are counted, PR is calculated and all that, just like in the old days. It's faster than it used to be; not 90 or 60 days, but it's still weeks after the spidering and the fresh date. So, the fresh date tells me that the page has been spidered. I can see that in my logs. It might even rank good, but i still have to wait until that fresh date is long gone (and then some) before the page will find the right place in the SERPS.

>> If your listing had a date beside it and was in a higher position

Your position seems to be a lot more depending on spidering of other sites than your own at the moment. So what you would want to look for would in stead be a fresh listing on pages that recently started linking to you. When your page moves, it's not necessarily connected to spidering of that page - it might as well be new inbound links that are getting incorporated in the index. In this respect, a fresh date on your own site has little value.

>> you can't really say that G isn't presenting fresh content

That's a valid reason - as seen from Googles side. It's good marketing. But still, as seen from the webmaster side, are there any real benefits?

>> Fresh is cool,stale isn't. Get it?

Oh yes, i do get those fresh dates, so i guess i'm cool, but i'm still concerned as to their benefit. One thing is to be spidered often, but to be spidered deep is more interesting for, well, most i think - as:

>> News sites

News sites that have the most interesting and fresh content on the front page is the exception (and there's Google News for those sites) - other sites seem to add and update deeper pages, although often the new content get linked from the front page.

>> Some people figure out ways to charge their SEO clients extra,use it during
>> their "I deserve a raise" presentation or add it to their resume.

That's good and valid reasons to appreciate the fresh tag. Still, it's not from the siteholders point of view. More visitors, better conversions, higher ranking? I might get a fresh tag, but my competitors will also. Of course, the new(-ish) sites will not get spidered deep until they get popular (which requires that someone can find them), so there's less competition there - on the other hand, the established sites will publish more new pages constantly to ride the fresh wave, so the competition is not likely to become smaller.



 3:54 am on Oct 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have seen my site and others do better with a fresh tag. It seems to affect newer sites or pages the most. It is only temporary, however!


 4:34 am on Oct 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Who cares! the fresh date does nothing but help you. Itcertainly doesn't hurt. And for the people who want the mostrecent content they are more likely to go to your site. My site has a PR of 7 and 184 backlinks witha pr >4 I got a freshdate on oct 6 and another on oct9. the Ovt. 9 included my newest pages and I am glad because If I am searching theSERPS it provides me with a tool to tell when my site was last cached and my competitors sites also. Google is not going down any time soon and when the new search engine comes I will still beat out my competitors


 1:09 pm on Oct 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

>> It seems to affect newer sites or pages the most. It is only temporary, however!

Yes, i've seen that temporary boost as well. As pages that are not updated in any way still get the fresh tag, you should constantly change all your pages, otherwise there's no effect? I'm not going to do that.

>> the fresh date does nothing but help you

I tend to disagree. As "fresh" is valued so high in the SERPS; for some keywords, all you get is email-archives, messageboards, blogs, news pages, and so on. It's great if you run one of these types of sites, otherwise not. I've even observed a new spamming technique to replace guestbooks; go for the maillists and forums.


I think there are quite a few elements.

One is the date stamp in the serps. This was the one i was interested in when i started this thread. It does not seem to do anything, and it's not related to page updates - but perhaps it can increase CTR, i have no evidence.

Second is the frequent spidering. Good for new pages and changed content - but only if your site is well linked, otherwise the spidering is not deep enough. After the two-day boost your page will probably fall back and await calculations.

Third there's the SERP priority towards fresh content. Old content-rich pages with lots of PR tend to fall back, and fresh pages with right incoming achor text tend to gain.

Forth, there's the user (searcher) perspective.
- One thing is click throughs - i don't know about this.
- Another is "the distribution of questions vs. answers" - looking for factual information, you tend to find a lot of recent sources posting the same questions that you are posting, in stead of finding the answers to those questions. I haven't found the right searching behavior yet, but you need to do something else than you did before.
- A third issue is spam. Although the definition is subject to interpretation i see lots and lots of it.
- A forth is plain useless pages. Subject to interpretation, and lots of those too.
- A fifth is affiliate sites and other networks - lots of those.

Fifth, there's the Google perspective.
- One thing is the dates, showing that their spider is active and their SERPS are fresh. Good PR.
- Second is that the fresh weight might make more sites use adwords in stead of drowning. Good for income.

Last, there's the long term impact. This is very uncertain, and my guess might not be the best, but it seems like this to me at the moment:
- New sites will be small(-ish) one-page sites
- Old sites will be able to grow deep
- Old big sites will have to add pages all the time to compete
- News sites and blogs will benefit, as their fresh content is on the front page - they will be able to grow
- Forums ditto - not because of the front page effect, but because they grow slowly
- Shopping sites, starting out with, say, thousands of product pages - forget it. Leave promotion to one-page affiliates.
- Affiliate sites - go ahead, make lots of small ones that update frequently and earn big money.
- Networks of all kinds - anchor text translates to money, so it's earning time. Just keep updating.
- Informational sites - if your're old, develop new pages constantly - if you're new, stick to a few pages and grow slowly in a niche.
- Entertainment sites - add fresh content and you're in the game. Or spam.
- "Ressource sites" - it was nice knowing you, bye.
- Corporate sites - forget the SE, buy ads in stead.
- Mom&pop sites - nice to have a hobby. Nothing more, whatsoever.
- Pr0n sites - same as ever, nothing new under the sun.
- Spammers - go ahead and get the word out anywhere, anytime, it pays.
- Cloakers - hmm.. i don't know, probably it's not worth the effort, but the spammy kind might be
- Linkers - link requests will increase a lot, as it's the only way to good rankings apart from "fresh". Good thing for "big" sites as advertising income may increase on that account. Links for free will become harder to get.

And there's probably even more. I'm not totally sure about any of this, but i don't really think any of these things are exclusively positive seen from a pure webmaster perspective.

Also, there are unknowns, as eg. SE preferences among users, Spam filtering (will it come or not?), tweaks and knob-turning etc. etc.



 1:50 pm on Oct 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have NEVER seen a fresh tag help in the rankings. My jump in the rankings and recent PR increases only happens once a month. Pages may be included much faster, but overall results seem to take a major update to improve.


 5:08 pm on Oct 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

The google listings and description have changed accordingly... yet it does not display a fresh tag.

Anybody know the reason why?

Regardless of how often Google comes to your site it seems to depend on the date modified. Are you on a Linux server? When was the file modified? The "recently updated" depends on the last modified date and when Googlebot sees your changes.


 5:11 pm on Oct 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

G updates sites sometimes but doesn't "fresh" every site it updates.

Fresh dates seem to be more frequent at high PR sites.


 8:59 pm on Oct 11, 2003 (gmt 0)

Fresh dates seem to be more frequent at high PR sites.

I've had fresh listings at PR4. Haven't seen one at less than that though. Anyone else?


 1:32 am on Oct 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

My site is hosted on a Unix server.
As far as I was told by my hosting company, they support if modified since tags.

I have been changing my content somewhat (around 1K) every week hoping this would increase the sniffing I received from freshie.

Doesn't seem to work.
My site is a high PR 5 site. Was a 6 and it just dropped down to 5.

However, I have just acquired nearly 250 new links through a series of websites all hard coded (non javascript)and all keyword targetted.


 2:45 pm on Oct 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just wondering... nobody thought the "last" statements from post #14 were provocative? Totally out-of-line with reality? Out of line with Googles stated objectives? I did post some wild suggestions there, so surely they can't just be considered true or valid? All of them?

I was hoping for a little feedback on what seems to be too much of a contradiction between Google objectives and Google actions. Specifically, "with so much emphasis on fresh, (how) will they deal with the un-desired sideeffects, and (if so,) when?"

Guess it's just too off topic, or not really all that interesting. Sorry for rambling.



 9:04 pm on Oct 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

The version of my site listed in teoma and altavista is as old as the hills, several months in fact. FAST is better, maybe a month. But google is the best, just a few days at most, though i don't even pay for it (unlike the others).

And I get only a few percent of my traffic from AV, T, and FAST combined.

Long live google and her fresh tags!


 5:26 pm on Oct 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

Guess it's just too off topic, or not really all that interesting. Sorry for rambling.

You have some interesting observations. It's just that the original question asked by you was "Why are fresh listing so important to webmasters". Try posting your observations in a fresh topic. You'll probably get more responses. Get it?

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