Fresh from Google: The Freshness Update

“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.” – Amit Singhal, Google Fellow

hot out the oven

The folks over at Google make around five hundred changes to their algorithm every year. A lot of those changes go unnoticed by most, as they’re intended to just keep search as simple and quick as possible. However, every now and then Google makes a major change, and two of the past major updates are coming together in the most recent Google algorithm development: the Freshness Update.

Last year, Google’s Caffeine update allowed them to index new content on the Web with unfathomable speed. Then this past February, the Panda update sophisticated the way Google served up and ranked quality written content. The Freshness Update builds off both of those, and will apparently affect 35% of all queries. Like Rand Fishkin and Mike King over at SEOmoz pointed out in their Whiteboard Friday episode for today, it’s important to remember that 35% does not mean the update will affect 35% of keywords. A hefty percentage of queries are for really popular, news-worthy people, events, and entertainment-related topics, likeRand’s tragic example: Kim Kardashian’s wedding.

Google explained in their blog yesterday that the Freshness Update will serve the latest results for queries that are time-sensitive—recent events or trending topics, regularly recurring events (like elections and major sporting events), and frequent updates (information that often changes, but isn’t necessarily a “hot topic” like reviews on new technology).

Example of new results


So with this update, an article from an authoritative website posted only 28 minutes ago can appear integrated the search results, instead of exclusively in Google’s News Onebox. This doesn’t necessarily mean that any and all blog posts will show up at the top of the first page if they are the newest (remember Panda’s influence), but it definitely switches things up a bit.

Too see this new freshness for yourself, try out a few terms like “football,” “Dancing with the Stars,” or “Olympics,” (which is showing a result only 10 minutes old from at the moment).

For more information on what this update could mean for you, check out Whiteboard Friday below.


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