Google’s Freshness Algorithm: Major SEO Change

Google Freshness AlgorithmGoogle’s freshness algorithm is out! This is a major search engine change by Google. In fact, it is more major than the last Panda Update which affected a very high number of search results. This was presented on Google’s official blog today. The announcement says that the freshness update affects up to 35% of the searches. This is huge.

As its name suggests, the freshness algorithm is aimed at bringing in results that are ‘fresh’, i.e. more updated. This is a natural move from Google, when people are so active on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and thus used to getting the latest updates and information. Don’t we all log into Facebook just to see what major is happening across the globe, apart from looking for the cute kitten and the annoying game requests? Well, now Google wants to be that portal.

The feature is pretty neat and should help people a lot. From an SEO perspective, I am not too sure how this will pan out since this is too early in the day. However, I think it is not that major a change for most of the internet marketing type of sites. However, don’t be surprised if one of your ‘pillar articles’ is displaced from the throne (aka first rank in Google) because Google thinks something more recent is more relevant.

This might not cause as much an uproar as Panda did in the SEO world, but it is a very important update that every blogger and internet marketer should be aware of and prepare accordingly. Also, this was important enough to get front page web coverage from New York Times which usually reserves such news to the bottom annals of technology news.

Of course Google will now need to act quickly in collecting data and determining how relevant it is to be shown in the search results on the top. This is of course not easy, but nothing Google does usually is. How this pans out in the end will be interesting to see. I think a lot of smaller sites that were designed around displaying the ‘live scores’ for example will be hurt very badly.

At this point, I would guess that fresh content will become even more important from an SEO point of view. Google doesn’t like stale information. Keeping your blog updated with quality information is one way of telling the Big G that you provide fresh and up to date content to your users. This might become even more important in the long run.

Also, if your blog has been affected by Google’s freshness algorithm, you should consider more ways to promote your blog, especially on social media which has constant updates. So for example if you want to rank high for certain live scores, you should try to provide exactly this rather than just having the keywords in your title. In addition, you might want to have a widget showing the live scores and perhaps publishing some information on to social networking sites too.

As more information becomes available, I’ll write a more detailed strategy of how you can benefit from this algorithm change and how you can protect yourself. In the meantime, I would love to hear your comments.


  1. Darren says:

    Seems like this could be good news for bloggers, who are always updating. Maybe not so good for ‘evergreen’ content website owners. It all depends on the search terms, said Google. Sounds like more fun 🙂

    • Sid says:

      Darren, you are right and I have the same feeling. Google probably is now going beyond the ‘evergreen’ content, which is what I referred to in my article as the ‘pillar articles’ which have traditionally served bloggers very well. It does sound fun and also exciting and challenging. Your blog seems to have a lot of fresh content, I would love to hear from you if your site sees a substantial increase in traffic. It would be an interesting case to study! 🙂

  2. Heather says:

    Should be interesting to see what happens with new adjustment. It would be nice to see fresher results than posts from 2007 coming up as answers. I think a lot of “mechanical” sites are going to lose some of the luster they once had..

    • Sid says:

      You are right, it would definitely be interesting to see how this would affect blogs. Will the blogs will fresher content go up, even by a little amount? It is hard to say. I am looking forward to some analysis in this regard.

  3. Darren says:

    It’s hard to tell if this has been implemented yet. So far I’m not seeing that many “fresh” posts. I still see the ‘evergreen’ posts, but I think those might be in trouble, like you said Sid.

    I plan on churning out plenty of fresh content so we’ll see what happens 🙂

  4. I”m curious to see how this update effects static websites. Let’s say I have 3 year old website that is full of great information. The information within the site doesn’t become out-dated, but new information is not added like a blog. A blog on the same topic will be updated frequently via new posts. So how would my site fare vs. the blog?

    • Sid says:

      Kat, in this case, your website would not lose rankings. However, you need to be absolutely sure that what you have written is information that doesn’t become out-dated because almost all information does ultimately become outdated, unless you are running a Physics or Math blog perhaps. In any case, it always helps to add new content from all perspectives. In addition, if you are static, your competition might easily catch up on you. Consider these factors as well.

      • Sid,

        Gotcha…thanks for clarifying. I guess my biggest worry is the fact my competitors can surpass my rankings with their (frequently updated) blogs. Now I need to figure out how to add fresh content without changing the “feel” of my site.

      • Sid says:

        That in itself can actually be tricky. If you have an established reader base, you don’t want to change the posting habits all too often because your readers come to expect something out of the blog and shouldn’t be over/under-whelmed. If you do intend to change your posting frequency, I would suggest doing it slowly, over a period of time especially if you have a good number of established readers.

  5. This will help bloggers but site like Wikipedia will have a major blow. If freshness is what Google wants what will happen to backlinks, where people spent so much time in order to rank better.

    If this is the case then people should stop building backlinks.

    • Sid says:

      Well that’s not totally true because you need ‘freshness’ only when it is relevant. In addition, Wikipedia is perhaps one of the freshest content creators, so I doubt it will lose much. Building backlinks is always useful for the site and posts.

  6. Wow, I had no idea that google had put out a new update! I’m kinda new at the whole internet marketing thing and I was just getting a feel for the Panda update and now this.

    It seems like ultimately the best way to keep your site relevant with all these updates is to just focus on publishing good quality content on a regular basis and put less focus on just trying to rank with google. I think if you do that everything will work itself out.


    • Sid says:

      I know it is hard to keep in touch with all the Google updates, but they can be useful if you are aiming for specific strategies. Ultimately, as you said, it all boils down to quality content. I had a post about that here – if you are interested. Although things don’t magically work out (unfortunately) in most cases – a knowledge of SEO certainly helps. Thanks for dropping by!

      • Thanks Sid, I did also read that article and found it very helpful. I would have commented, but I didn’t want to seem spammy 🙂

        At the end of the day with any business (online or off-line) It’s all about providing the best experience to the customer.

        Great write up Sid!


      • Sid says:

        Dale, nothing spammy about your comments! You are right – at the end of the day it is all about the best experience/value that you can provide which will ultimately drive success. Thanks for dropping by!

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