Google Makes More Freshness Tweaks To Algorithm

By: Chris Crum - May 4, 2012

Google has clearly placed a lot of focus on freshness in recent months, and that continues with the company’s big list of algorithm changes for the month of April. It will be interesting to see if there is a noticeable improvement in results following these changes.

Have you notices freshness-related improvements yet? Let us know in the comments.

Here are the changes Google listed today for the month of April, related to freshness:

  • Smoother ranking changes for fresh results. [launch codename “sep”, project codename “Freshness”] We want to help you find the freshest results, particularly for searches with important new web content, such as breaking news topics. We try to promote content that appears to be fresh. This change applies a more granular classifier, leading to more nuanced changes in ranking based on freshness.
  • Improvement in a freshness signal. [launch codename “citron”, project codename “Freshness”] This change is a minor improvement to one of the freshness signals which helps to better identify fresh documents.
  • No freshness boost for low-quality content. [launch codename “NoRot”, project codename “Freshness”] We have modified a classifier we use to promote fresh content to exclude fresh content identified as particularly low-quality.
  • UI improvements for breaking news topics. [launch codename “Smoothie”, project codename “Smoothie”] We’ve improved the user interface for news results when you’re searching for a breaking news topic. You’ll often see a large image thumbnail alongside two fresh news results.
  • No freshness boost for low quality sites. [launch codename “NoRot”, project codename “Freshness”] We’ve modified a classifier we use to promote fresh content to exclude sites identified as particularly low-quality.

Notice that two of those are pretty much identical. Not sure if that is a mistake or if there is a subtle difference. That is the two about no freshness boosts for low quality. One of them says “content” and the other says “sites”, but the descriptions are the same.

Either way, it’s a noteworthy change, and it will be interesting to see if there is a clear impact.

As I’ve written about recently, I have found freshness to be outweighing relevancy in results sometimes, but I don’t necessarily think it’s been in relation to actual poor quality content – just when an older result makes more sense than a newer result, even if the newer one is high quality too.

Image: Parents Just Don’t Understand (via Fade Theory)

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

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  • Lisa

    Many sites which are not optimized are seeing traffic increase. Which means if we don’t do more SEO then also its ok. Freshness is important for google which means if a site has quality content then it can rank better but that will be only for blogs.

    Local results would definitely play an important role here.
    Relevancy would play an important role ex: relevant link, relevant keyword and relevant content. But the pages must be quality based.

    What i feel is that now SEO will be hard when it comes to competition, where it will be good for google as webmasters would be rather busy in creating quality content.

  • Gin

    People will have their own definitions of low quality. I would think content, old next to new, would provide a interesting contrast like history vs modern. One could glean lessons and insights to create a whole new perspective or conclusion.

  • Dano

    Excuse my language but this is truely fucking hilarious! I have a few sites. Some of which I make my living on. My best one is a fresh as hell PR5 with over a 100 thousand quality links and although it ranks 1 and 2 and on the first page in hundreds of searches on Yahoo and Bing AND was ranked even better than that on Google before March, it’s almost exactly nowhere now on Google. My other site, which I’ve done absolutely nothing to for almost two years is ranking crazy high on searches it has no business even being on the first page.

    Google is Broken! Period!