SEO Monday – Google "Freshness" Algorithmic Update to Impact 35% of Searches

By Joe


On November 3rd, Google announced “We completed our Caffeine web indexing system last year, which allows us to crawl and index the web for fresh content quickly on an enormous scale. Building upon the momentum from Caffeine, today we’re making a significant improvement to our ranking algorithm that impacts roughly 35 percent of searches and better determines when to give you more up-to-date relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness.”

The aim of this update is to understand the different levels of freshness certain queries need and to deliver the most up-to-date results for queries needing them.

On this screen, we can see two examples of this algorithmic change at work. The first example, which is particularly painful to most of us here at Exclusive Concepts, shows the results when I search for “patriots score”. You can see that the first result shows a scoring recap of yesterday’s game and the second results lists various news articles recapping the game as well. This shows that Google’s algorithm now determines that anyone looking for a particular team’s score is most likely looking for the most recent one.

The second example shows a search for “best e-readers” where you’ll notice the first organic result is a review article actually written a few weeks ago on October 19th. Again, Google has determined that someone using a modifier like “best” is most likely looking for an up-to-date review on the latest e-readers.

So what does this mean for you as an online retailer? First, it will be important to consider what kind of products you carry and the importance of “freshness” in your industry. For example, if you are a fashion site offering the latest styles to men and women, it will be important to make sure your copy is updated to include any new styles and also updated for the particular season (i.e. Spring 2012 versus having content talking about Summer 2010).

The example of “best e-readers” is one in particular that can be carried over to ecommerce stores that contain any review articles for products they carry. Based on this update, it will be important to regularly update review articles to include the latest models people are searching for in order to stay fresh and relevant. You wouldn’t want to have a cell phone review article comparing the first generation iPhone to a Blackberry Pearl.

As a retailer, you should also encourage your customers to write reviews for the products they purchase, as it can help keep content fresh on a particular product page and save you some time and effort of always updating the content on the site yourself.