Google Continues To Tinker With Freshness In Recent Algorithm Adjustments

    October 4, 2012
    Chris Crum
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Is Google getting close to where it wants to be in terms of how it handles freshness of content in search results? This has been one major area of focus for Google for the past year or so. Last November, Google launched the Freshness update, and since then, it has periodically been making various tweaks to how it handles different things related to freshness.

Google has been releasing regular lists of algorithm changes it makes from month to month all year, and some of these lists have been quite heavy on the freshness factor. On Thursday, Google released its lists for changes made in August and September. Somewhat surprisingly, “freshness” is only mentioned twice. Two changes were made (at least changes that Google is disclosing) under the “Freshness” project banner.

We actually already discussed one of them in another article, as it is also related to how Google deals with domains (which Google seems to be focusing on more these days). That would be this list entry:

#83761. [project “Freshness”] This change helped you find the latest content from a given site when two or more documents from the same domain are relevant for a given search query.

That change was made in September. The other one was made in August:

Imadex. [project “Freshness”] This change updated handling of stale content and applies a more granular function based on document age.

Quite frankly, I’m not sure what you can really do with that information other than to consider the freshness of your content, in cases where freshness is relevant to quality.

This is actually a topic Google’s Matt Cutts discussed in a Webmaster Help video released this week. “If you’re not in an area about news – you’re not in sort of a niche or topic area that really deserves a lot of fresh stuff, then that’s probably not something you need to worry about at all,” he said in the video.

I’ve been a fairly vocal critic of how Google has handled freshness, as I’ve found the signal to get in the way of the information I’m actually seeking far too often. Plenty of readers have agreed, but this is clearly an area where Google is still tinkering. Do you think Google is getting better at how it handles freshness? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

  • Robert Blueford

    Well, just using the term TINKERING says it all for me. Imagine, any other world-dominating company affecting world-wide and internal US economical performance and survival ( How’ the US & Europe doing?!!) tryng out receipies and continually TINKERING with ingredients, dosage, baking, etc. while secretively fooling around in their worldwide customer’s livelyhood behind their backs (Website visits = sales = employees), while solumny declarin that Great Phrase “Doing No Evil” is my assessment of Google’s reality & impact…
    All of this while giving away FREE billions of Monthly AdWords dollars to startups and anyone having an ultimately creepy FREE 4 page website to get them to compete for us -their clients, against hard working (legitimate) companies (having employees and paying taxes & keeping the real economy rolling out of the 2008 wars & fiasco) already spending 10,000$ a month in AdWords. No wonder GM got out of Facebook Ad Purchases, and it may do the same when this highly uneaven playing field sees kids having costly Ads given to them to play with (TINKERING AGAIN) in the hope of getting them addicted to maxout their credit cards in hope of making it against real companies. It was the best of times… It was the worst of times… Where’s the FRESHNESS in that?

  • http://www.day1charitydonation.com Harry Fassett

    Freshness is a double edged sword, and Google can’t win either way with that really. But try as they will, they will keep changing things to make it look like they are really making improvements when in reality, they are not sure if they are improvements really or not, but based on their opinion of what is good for them ultimately.

    Also I just read the other day, that 43% of all search through Google is local anyway. I heard it from SearchEngineland, so a seemingly a very reliable source. What is your favorite charity?