Google Makes More Freshness Tweaks To Algorithm

    May 4, 2012
    Chris Crum

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)