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Google Freshness Algo Tweak

 3:35 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google Freshness Algo Tweak [googleblog.blogspot.com]
Building upon the momentum from Caffeine, today we’re making a significant improvement to our ranking algorithm that impacts roughly 35 percent of searches and better determines when to give you more up-to-date relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness.
  • Recent events or hot topics. For recent events or hot topics that begin trending on the web, you want to find the latest information immediately.
  • Regularly recurring events. Some events take place on a regularly recurring basis, such as annual conferences like [ICALP] or an event like the [presidential election].
  • Frequent updates. There are also searches for information that changes often, but isn’t really a hot topic or a recurring event.



     3:55 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Amit Singhal wrote:
    Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven or cool refreshing fruit on a hot summer’s day, are best when they’re fresh.

    I hope that's just careless fluff. Search results are best when they're relevant. For certain things freshness can be relevant, sure, but not always.



     4:11 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Let's say, for example, a page about best SLR cameras exist on a website, and the page was created a couple of years ago but is updated recently, a week ago. Can Google determine the updated page? That means we need to rework on our older articles.

    35% of the searches will impact this time, which is really massive. Keep an eye on your Google Analytic, folks!


     4:29 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    As someone who has some business in the events niche, this is something they really did need to improve. I can't tell you how often I would search for particular events myself and find some page at the top of the SERPs for something that happened in 2009.

    But this one does sound kind of massive, and Google's track record not so hot, so I for one am ... shall we say... *concerned*

    Marketing Guy

     4:42 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    That's true netmeg, events were always badly handled by Google. I'm just not sure how this will impact other more evergreen content like product reviews. Will we see an influx of new but poorer quality review articles? I can see this being a can of worms for Google (and us!).


     4:50 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    impacts roughly 35 percent of searches

    ..so Brett was right after all...



     5:23 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Well I guess I am good as I have had to update so many sites for Panda.


     5:26 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Really? I thought freshness was always a key factor in GSR(Google Search Results) not Gun Shot Residue.
    But really, it seems like a big leap to say "freshness" is the most relevant.
    Is this yet another means to shape the way the user, searches the internet?

    Freshness isn't always the most relevant data point for search.
    For example if I'm looking for the "best slr cameras", I don't necessarily want to see the freshest results.
    I want to see the best results, not what Google thinks I should see.
    Isn't pushing this down to us, just another form of mind control?

    But yet, we should have known this was coming when they announced some time ago about how they would be showing even recent twitter results in their SERP's.

    Which brings me to segue into this topic which should get more attention:
    1. Is the indexing of FB comments on websites just another area in which SPAM doctors can game the system?

    2. Is Google's acknowledgement of this indexation a backhanded way of saying, "Hey we're tracking the comments and we hope your spamming of the comments will overload FB's infrastructure."

    I'm not a Google basher, I like Google. But come on already.Google's my latest and greatest BFF and CFF. Change-For-Freshness. Tee-Hee


     5:37 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    I guess this one should be "Mint" for freshness.


     5:40 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Google has long "tried" to emphasize freshness - depending on the query term. There is the whole "QDF" factor (Query Deserves Freshness) that kicks in for some searches. However, as noted in this thread, their "try" often fell quite flat.

    I sure do hope this is an improvement - even when using their extra special left hand time options, the results have been a lot less than desirable.


     6:02 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    How, pray tell, will the freshness date be determined?

    All the obvious possibilities are fraught with spamming opportunities.


     6:06 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    It says this will impact only about 35% of searches. I'm thinking that will not include searches for products, since it's common sense that an older review might be better than a newer one, depending on other factors.

    I'm reading this as something that will be applied only on certain searches.


     6:23 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    35% is a big honking number in this context.


     6:23 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Do think freshness is overrated...for most industry sectors having content posted a month later doesn't mean it is that much better...perhaps sports/software news being the exception. Things like history/science/etc...don't really need that fresh of content (with some minor exceptions). In fact, in many cases freshness just equates with being more chit-chatty/spammy and values quantity over quality. (eg facebook content which is very fresh but is typically poor quality)

    Since these rankings are zero-sum, the question is who is going to lose with this '35%' change?

    What will be interesting is if this freshness tweak helps determine page rank as this is far more significant. Given the '35%' figure I think it will... If fresh sites/pages get to pass more page rank this will create a huge cascade effect as child links of fresh pages benefit from this increase in PR...then the grand children links...and so forth...until a massive change takes place in the SERP's. If I'm right that having your backlinks serve fresh content will be much more important than having fresh content on your website itself...and having grandparent links serve fresh content is even more important and so forth...


     6:31 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    This update will be huge for certain niche's, but not that important in others. I think there is definitely going to be a huge impact on news, blogs, social results, and even (i think) the sites that are related to judging an experience with a company.

    The traditional Consumer website, sites dedicated to geting services sold, etc, i think will suffer less.

    This is a huge change, and is caffeine v2, and not 1.2. 35%, we have to see how that falls out. I also think fresher content would have a lesser PR, so that is being even further depreciated in the algos (thanks spammers)

    I also submit we call the update the "Milk Update" - because everyone wants fresh milk.


     6:36 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    How, pray tell, will the freshness date be determined? All the obvious possibilities are fraught with spamming opportunities.

    The current freshness algo has long been a spammers playground. I'm pretty sure this tweak will try to close some of those loopholes.


     7:06 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    I dont think the current freshness algo has been a spammers playground at all. The only aspect I have ever observed with regards to freshness in the natural non-news serps is an increased frequency of google bot visits.

    Ranking wise - it certainly has not played a major factor in any of my areas.


     7:22 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    So you think the pro staffed sites have been at an advantage before? How about now? On the surface, this looks like the dagger for a lot of folks. Hope I'm wrong. A small enterprise of a few cannot compete with freshness of hundreds of staffers. I haven't dug into this, but certainly this adds to the already pile of BS that a lot of us have been dealing with and now it's another heaping truck full on my door step.

    With all the changes, Google results must really have sucked. Guess it was a fluke to gain that market share on a system that so broke that it needs to be gutted. In real terms, there is something fundamentally wrong with ADD characteristics of a company that has 97% of mobile search and what 80%+ or regular search.


     7:27 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    If I stop to think about my own searches - I probably use that date qualifier over on the left more often than not. It's practically the first thing I do when I'm searching for almost anything. Be interesting to see if (or how much) I am going to need it going forward.

    One thing I use Google a lot for is error messages. (I make a lot of errors, and so do my clients. Don't judge me.) I almost always want a result that refers to the current version of whatever is messing up, rather than one from 2007. Even if it turns out to be the same solution. If this fixes that, I'm for it.


     8:07 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)


    I agree but then disagree. Yes, I agree with the whole "same solution" SERP but if we already have the option to use date as a filter, why press it on me when I don't want it.
    Just like SERP's with location based results.
    It's one of those things too that if I wanted to know about "widgets" in Nashville, TN I would have specifically said so. Otherwise, give me the most relevant data... in it's totality, not locality.

    It would be nice if Google would say,
    "You know, after giving it careful consideration we've decided to only serve GEO effected SERP's on mobile devices.
    Everything else, we're just going to presume that you want the most relevant first".


     8:13 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    "A Tale of Two Cities" is just as fresh today as it was in 1859 when it was first published.

    "Let us not try and put a square peg in a round hole, lest the corners be shaved first."


     8:14 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Hope I'm wrong. A small enterprise of a few cannot compete with freshness of hundreds of staffers.

    That's what panda fixed right? A small enterprise can absolutely write better, more expert text than an entity of hundreds of staffers who are almost certainly churning out regurgitated internet content. Advantage small enterprise, not large enterprise.

    Thankfully I'm in an industry where 'fresh' is anything in the last 20 years. No news is good news here :). I'm definetly in the 65% of non-fresh searches.


     8:15 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    I'm confused. When is this update rolling out exactly?

    Maybe Gooble should work on fixing Panda instead of messing up the serps more with another super algo update.


     8:24 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Has anyone verified this has rolled out already?

    @wheel, where I look, it's site vs site not article vs article. I would be hopeful if a well written article on technology could rank along with CNET. That is not what I see at all.

    Something strange happened on one of my Pandalized sites today. Baffled now whether this is this new tweak or if this is because of all the efforts put in lately to fix Panda issues.

    I want to enjoy a coffee, work on a site and not worry about another Google algo tweak. What is it now? 12% with Panda and 35% with this one. So that's almost 50% of searches affect this past year? I've had enough already.


     8:43 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Also, tweeted from Danny Sullivan:

    Update: Google says when page is first crawled is one of signals to determine freshness

    Not sure how THAT is gonna play out. Whoosh. Well, nobody said this internet stuff would be easy. At least, not recently.


     8:51 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Propools...good point regarding 'Tale of Two Cities'. Can you imagine google going into a library with their new algorithm and ranking all the library books for readers? Forget the classics...forget the books written by PHD's and experts written 5-10 years ago...google would go straight to the magazines to get its results from brainless celebrity and teeny-bopper magazines because they are 'current' and so popular.


     8:53 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    MrSavage wrote:
    A small enterprise of a few cannot compete with freshness of hundreds of staffers.

    And why should it? Should some guy in his garage be expected to produce as much, or be given as much business, as the 500-employee factory down the street?



     9:06 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Update: Google says when page is first crawled is one of signals to determine freshness
    hope not - scrapers paradise, choose events/news item scrape pages from different sites put it together in a new page. add an updated/created date to the page .... Shame if you have pages on Roman History !

    or .. Google scrapes events/concerts etc pages adds little box to top of SERPS giving times/dates/box office numbers/address. does deal with event promoters

    having a paranoid day - aka black sabbath


     9:31 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    Do think freshness is overrated

    I have to agree, freshness is overrated, especially for some things. A lot of things get better with age. For example, I like my wine aged, not "fresh".

    What this really means is that sites that are typically static will benefit more when they update the content on their site. So, for sites that I haven't updated in months or even years, updating "something" on the home page will give it a boost.


     9:34 pm on Nov 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

    @rlange, the guy in the garage is an expert in his field. Sure he doesn't work on cars A-Z, but he knows cars B better than anyone. When Google says A-Z guy gets organic traffic over the B guy because A-Z has a bigger factory, sorry, searcher is missing out on quality content. The index would consist of about 20 tech websites for every search query related in the range of "technology". That's a boring internet and you might as well use yellow pages at that point.

    On this thread however, dare I say I'm having a good day traffic wise? I am, but I need to pinch myself, and then pinch myself again to believe it.

    Can anyone confirm with this freshness tweak, does that mean we won't lose out to those "news" snippets? That might be good news for some of us if it removes or at least reduces those. Or is this update just making the entire page news? I'm so confused now.

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