How Google Got Fresh: The Latest Algorithm Update
Google’s blog post by Amit Singhal on November 3, 2011 announced their latest algorithm update, Google Fresh, devoted to ‘giving you fresher, more recent search results’. Like their metaphor of warm oven-baked cookies, they conveyed ‘search results are better relevant and recent’. Singhal also described why the algorithm was updated:
“Given the incredibly fast pace at which information moves in today’s world, the most recent information can be from the last week, day or even minute, and depending on the search terms, the algorithm needs to be able to figure out if a result from a week ago about a TV show is recent, or if a result from a week ago about breaking news is too old.”
Google projects approximately 35% of searches will be given ‘fresher’ results that will include recent, up-to-date content.
The following are the primary content types receiving the 'Freshness' treatment:
- Recent events or hot topics
- Regularly recurring events
- Frequent updates
The post goes on to point out that “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.”
Clemson University, my alma mater, lost our first game to Georgia Tech last month. In the midst of disappointment, the final score slipped my mind. I did a quick Google search this morning and was presented with the latest, most up-to-date pages (see image). Thanks to Google Fresh, I was able to relive the results of this game as brief and painless as possible.
The Good, Bad and Ugly
Google Fresh is promoted in the media as a positive, innovative update, but there are at least two vantage points to every change. Luckily, we have a great SEO team that helps me bring topics on Google full circle.
Google Fresh is search innovation. For users, it can enhance speed and precision of search by organizing queries into freshness levels. For clients, those in PR-heavy industries can see more traffic to social and media efforts. Algorithm shifts can mean a shift in search market share. Agencies and corporations can use this data to support a need to create or enhance your digital PR strategy.
With SERP changes, search engines take on the risk of creating a poor user experience. For example, what if user did not intend to get data sorted by recency? What if they are seeking historical, archived data instead?
Another point that should not be overlooked is integrating hot topics into SERPs. With the volatility of media, negativity around industry keywords may require advertisers to heighten their control on trending terms. And finally, clients with a lack of resources might struggle to maintain visibility for ‘fresh’ keywords.
Google is in the business to make money, too. They “succeed when tools drive users, customers and partners to its products and services.” Updates like Google Fresh drive SEOs and digital marketers to shift priorities, goals and resource allocation, which don’t always align with our personal agendas and plans.
Clients in a low-pulsing industry may struggle to benefit from Google Fresh. But if relevant content was not previously buzzing in your industry and your competitors are not capitalizing from this algorithm update, you may not need to be as concerned.
Since the update rolled out, we have all learned that Fresh is Google’s answer to organizing and increasing the visibility of fresh content on the web. Ben Wills from Marketing Pilgrim said it well in his post to fellow SEOs, “not only must we create great content, we’ll also need new content to continue ranking well.”
What was your initial reaction to the Google Fresh algorithm update?
How do you see this affecting you the most? Is it good, bad or ugly?