I have long preached that Content is King. Now, we see that Google recently updated its algorithm in a manner that could affect 35 percent of searches. This will have a huge impact – compare it to the recent Panda update that impacted searches to an extent of only 12 percent. The change is meant to bestow a higher ranking on websites that regularly feature fresh content. I guess Google is serious about returning the most timely, relevant search results.
In order to provide faster indexing, crawling and results, Google last year introduced a new infrastructure it dubbed “Caffeine”. Note that Google-bot logic was not changed by Caffeine – only implementation was affected. Now, this new update will skew search engine results to favor websites with fresh content.
Google specified three types of searches that will be impacted by the freshness update:
1) Latest news: You will access to breaking news on interesting topics that show a hot trend, sometimes receiving information that is only seconds old.
2) Scheduled events: The Google algorithm will assume you want the latest information about a recurring event. For instance, if you type in “World Series”, it assumes you are asking about the 2011 event, not the one from 1957.
3) New data: If you want to look at car safety ratings, the newest ratings would be displayed ahead of older, staler reviews.
Google has provided some supplementary information on the freshness update. Whereas before, freshness accounted for 17.5 percent of a page’s ranking, that percentage has doubled under the new algorithm. At the same time, Google is attempting to guard against gaming the new algorithm with meaningless updates, repostings and all other manner of spam. To that end, freshness will be judged on the initial crawl of a web page. Additions to existing pages won’t earn you any freshness points.
Google says that, for ranking purposes, fresh content will be contextualized by topicality and quality. The bottom line is that your blog or website will get a stronger boost from fresh, good content. For this reason, you should follow the white-hat technique to frequently add content to your site. As always, you should balance your on-page techniques with a well-conceived backlink profile to strengthen your search engine results. I’ll discuss this more in the next blog.