Fresh Google Algorithm Update Planned

Google announced today that they’ve started testing their latest algorithm change, designed to provide the freshest results for searches.

According to their official blog, the new update will impact around 35% of searches, and is intended to help the search engine determine when you need the latest results for a search, and what degree of “freshness” is appropriate.

According to Amit Singhal, “Different searches have different freshness needs. This algorithmic improvement is designed to better understand how to differentiate between these kinds of searches and the level of freshness you need, and make sure you get the most up to the minute answers.

Why The Algorithm Update?

Google says that the update will affect the following search situations when it is implemented:

Recent Events

When people search for recent events or trending topics, they need the latest information. The algorithm change helps Google understand when you’re looking for something that’s ongoing, and provides the newest possible results, sometimes only minutes old, thanks to the way that Caffeine allowed Google to increase their indexing speed.

Regular Events

If you search for an event that happens on a regular basis, a show or an exhibition, or a conference, Google will assume that you’re looking for the most recent event, and give you relevant results.

Frequent Updates

Some searches, Google explains, are for information that changes often, even though it isn’t ongoing or recurrent. When you do a search for something that’s fluid, like the best computer, Google will deliver the most recent results, so your information is as up to date as possible.

Algorithm Change Implications

Freshness isn’t a new ranking factor by any means. Google has been using it for several years already. The faster Google can get content, the better for its users. And if sites are providing fresh content, they tended to do better in rankings. We’ve been preaching regular updates as an SEO factor for quite some time ourselves in fact.

One important question though is what exactly qualifies a page as fresh? Changing a title every day? Reposting content over and over? There could be some potential for abuse here, but Google has said that a page is counted the first time it’s crawled, which should limit people’s ability to “create” fresh content simply by reposting it. We hope. What if they post it to a different page?

We’ll see (over time) what this means to our results, but we don’t know yet if it’ll be an improvement, or just a change. As always, time and experimentation will tell.