When Google comes up with a new algorithm change, all the webmasters hold their breath trying to figure out if this is the one that would send their site into the neverland of the search engine rankings.
I bet it wasn’t any different with the last week’s update that focused on pushing the freshest results to the top of the search engine pages.
Google tried to make us feel warm and fuzzy, as they announced their new update:
“Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven or cool refreshing fruit on a hot summer’s day, are best when they’re fresh. Even if you don’t specify it in your search, you probably want search results that are relevant and recent.” Source
“Relevant and recent”.
Not sure what happened to the “relevancy” part (after all, relevancy is supposed to be the cornerstone of how Google works), but we all noticed the “recency” factor.
So how would this latest update affect you and your site?
Should you start posting every day now? Are you expected to compete with websites that have full-time writers constantly churning out fresh content?
The answer is a definite NO.
Although this update will affect about 35% of all searches, its scope is quite narrow, in my opinion.
It zooms in on the following information streams:
1. Current events or hot topics:
It only makes sense that when you search for “occupy Wall Street protest”, you expect to find the latest information on the topic immediately.
2. Topics in need of frequent updates:
A good example of this type of information would be products constantly coming up with new models.
If you are on the market for the latest Volvo XC-90, you are not interested in reviews of 2010 models, right?
3. Regularly occurring events:
Conferences, political elections, sports, etc. – all these events fall under “if I am searching for them, I am looking to find the info on the latest one” category.
“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.”
Reactions Around the Web
Barry Schwartz of SearchEngineLand.com talks about the potential problems this update might create, referring to them as “freshness spam“:
“There are potential downsides. Sometimes you do want to reward fresh content. But what’s fresh? If someone simply makes a small change to a page, does that give it a fresh boost? If someone reposts exactly the same content on a new page a day or two after initially posting it, is that fresh? Is when the page was first found define freshness, or is the first modified date used?
Does this open Google up to an even worse situation than can already happen with Google News now, where publishers file and refile stories in an effort to win the freshness race there, since the latest versions of stories often get top billing.”
Ben Wills of MarketingPilgrim.com doesn’t just talk about it, but offers 7 suggestions to rank higher in Google’s new fresh results:
- Cover Your Bases by Getting into Google News
- Use Proper Time-stamps in Your Content
- Add Forums
- Add Question and Answers Section
- Add Your Own Social Network
- Add Your Own Social News section
If you think your site might be affected by Google Fresh changes, I strongly recommend you check out his post. Even if you don’t, still take a look at it: Bill mentions a good number of tools to help you implement his suggestions above.
Well, that’s it, folks.
As it’s always the case, we’ll talk about Google Fresh for another week or two, then the topic won’t be fresh any longer and we’ll get back to business as usual.
Until then, let’s try to milk the news for all it’s worth; who knows, maybe your site will show up under “Google Fresh” search tomorrow?