Google Continues To Tinker With Freshness In Recent Algorithm Adjustments

    October 4, 2012
    Chris Crum

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.