You may have noticed that information in the Google search index can seem stale in regards to the content you are searching for. For example, say you search for San Diego Aztecs Football. In this case, you may be looking for recent information, not a webpage from 10 years ago that talks about one of the glory days. Google has noticed this lack of freshness in their algorithm results. In accordance, they are bringing more recent content to the index. This is going to have a BIG impact on search traffic for specific queries, which in turn means that some businesses are going to suffer.
“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.”
35% of searches is a significant number. Keep in mind the Google Panda update only affected 12% of searches, and that had a substantial impact on online businesses. So let’s take a moment to review the types of searches this is going play a role in.
Recent Events or Hot Topics
Google has stated that recent events and hot topic-based searches will now surface newer information. They specify the example of [nba lockout]. Because this is an event that people want more recent news on, Google will now display newer updates, simple enough, right?
Here is what you will see if you search NBA lockout now (this is post-Google Freshness Update). As you can see, the top results are now only hours old.
Regularly Recurring Events
Google has recognized that some events occur regularly. Some examples of this would be the NBA playoffs, the Worlds Series of Baseball, the ASP World Tour, etc. When you search for these events you don’t want to know what happened in 1992, you want to know information regarding this year. Because of this, searches relating to regularly recurring events will be fresher and not old stale posts stuck at the top of the rankings due to lots of external links.
The Frequent Update queries are not as precise as the other categories of content, but basically, it relates to information that changes often but isn’t a recurring event or hot topic. Google gives the example of review based terms such as Subaru Impreza review. When you search for this, you will now see more recent information. Let’s take a look.
As we can see, the second listing is from 6 days ago, while the other listings are from just a few months ago. For those of you who have been in search engine optimization for a while, you know this is a pretty significant change.
When Google Crawls the Page is Factor
According to Search Engine Land, “Google now tells us that one of the freshness factors — the way they determine if the content is fresh or not — is the time when they first crawled a page. So if you publish a page, and then change that page, it doesn’t suddenly become ‘fresh.'”
This is a critical point. If the timing of the page crawl makes an impact in rankings, many websites will be trying to release information during peak hours. If they can do this strategically, it may result in a number one ranking during a time that can drive significant traffic to their site.
Thoughts on Google Freshness Update
Watch out Publishers
This is a significant update that will have an impact on the search engine optimization industry. However, this change will mostly affect publishers if you are a publisher or random site that has enjoyed traffic from a time-sensitive keyword; there is a good chance you will lose that traffic, or that traffic will at least decline.
Spammers will Try to Take Advantage.
Now that is has become precise specific keywords will trigger fresher results t is almost certain people will try to take advantage. We can expect that sites will attempt to write on these time-sensitive topics to gain traffic and possibly backlinks. It should be noted here that it will be harder for sites off-theme to get rankings though due to the panda update. Furthermore, we do not know enough about this Google Fresher update yet to know how successful they will be.
Social Media Marketing Just Became More Important.
When you think about it, this update just made corporate blogging more critical to SEO. We can now write optimized posts for an event we are affiliated with. Then right when the search traffic is the highest, publish the post and push it out through social. Remember, Google wants to see fresh content, and nothing is fresher than a shiny new blog post.