Is Fresh Content A Google Ranking Element?

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Just like many updates in Google’s history, search industry reports spread quickly about how to “game” the system.

“Freshness” is a typical theme among Google updates, covering over a decade.

And “fresh content” as a ranking factor has been an ongoing point of interest for SEOs, specifically amongst content marketers.

To much better understand the debate, we will take a look at Google’s “Freshness” updates, particularly what they imply and how (if at all) they impact search rankings.

[Suggested Read:] Google Ranking Elements: Truth or Fiction

The Claim: Fresh Content As A Ranking Factor

The speculation that fresh material may be a ranking factor started in response to a few major Google updates and has actually grown out of control into rather the claim.

The idea behind “fresh content” began a few years before Google’s Caffeine update.

In 2007, a New York Times reporter was permitted to invest a day with Amit Singhal (Elder VP of Browse at the time).

During this time, Singhal spoke on the record about the option he had actually established to resolve the “freshness issue.”

It was a new algorithm that attempted to identify when users wanted new information and when they didn’t.

And like all Google initiatives, it had an appealing name: QDF for “query deserves freshness.”

Caffeine (2009 Google Update)

If you think Google core updates are a huge deal now, wait until you hear about the Google Caffeine upgrade of 2009.

It was such an enormous modification that Google in fact supplied designers with a preview a couple of months before rolling it out.

Caffeine permitted Google to crawl much faster, therefore delivering fresher arise from a much larger index.

The indexing upgrade was finished in June 2010, beginning the fresh material misconception due to the fact that Google stated, “Caffeine supplies 50 percent fresher outcomes.”

Freshness (2011 Google Update)

Google revealed a “Freshness update” in November 2011, four years after the New York Times story broke.

In the statement titled, “Offering you fresher, more recent search engine result,” Google explained that this was a considerable improvement to the ranking algorithm and visibly effects six to 10% of searches.

Featured Snippets Freshness (2019 Google Update)

Freshness updates did not stop there. Significance continues to be top of mind for Google as they seek to satisfy user questions.

Pandu Nayak, Google’s existing Vice President of Browse, announced in 2019 that the business updated its search algorithms to keep snippets existing, fresh, and pertinent.

Danny Sullivan verified that the Featured Snippets Freshness update went live in late February 2019.

Reports on how to enhance for Google updates spread quickly, and this was unquestionably true for fresh material.

Speculations flowed claiming that by upgrading content regularly, you might protect an SEO advantage or that upgrading the publication date of a short article can make it look fresh.

Let’s take a look at the evidence behind these claims and whether fresh content remains in any way a ranking aspect.

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The Evidence: Fresh Material As A Ranking Factor

To choose if “fresh content” could be a ranking factor, we need to understand 2 things: what the “Freshness” algorithm updates indicate and how they impact search rankings.


Inquiry should have freshness (QDF) is extremely literal.

Google’s option focused on identifying whether a search question is “hot,” indicating whether the user desires the most current details on the topic.

The mathematical design looked at news websites, blog posts, and Google’s own stream of billions of search queries to see how much worldwide interest there remains in a particular topic.

For example, Singhal shared what takes place when cities suffer power blackouts.

“When there is a blackout in New york city, the very first posts appear in 15 minutes; we get queries in two seconds,” Singhal told the New York Times.

Such an abrupt spike in interest can represent that individuals are trying to find new info.


Regrettably, many people got the Caffeine update wrong.

Caffeine wasn’t a ranking update. The objective behind it wasn’t even to effect rankings. It was a total restore of Google’s indexing system.

Indexing and ranking are 2 very different things.

Indexing is when Google initially looks at your material and adds it to its index. That indicates it has the potential to be ranked.

Ranking, nevertheless, is a totally various story, with much more intricate algorithms behind it.

And while Caffeine concentrated on indexing, it was the Freshness update that affected Google’s ranking algorithm.


The Freshness update was an effort to understand when a user is trying to find more current information.

But “freshness” doesn’t use across the board to all search queries.

Google shares details on exactly which queries deserve freshness on its How Browse Functions page.

Screenshot from Google”How Browse Works,”June 2022

Google’s Freshness algorithm seeks to supply the latest info for trending keywords that fall under classifications such as:

  • Current events or hot subjects: star news or natural catastrophes.
  • Regularly recurring occasions: the Olympics or Sports Ratings.
  • Material that regularly updates: best/reviews or innovation industry.

Freshness is a complex subject in its own right, so it’s a great idea to find out about it if you’re targeting time-focused queries.

Google Representatives On Freshness: Give Users The Regard They Deserve

Do we have an official response? Yep.

In 2018, John Mueller responded to a concern asking, does Google favor fresh content?

Screenshot from Buy Twitter Verified thread, June 2022 Mueller’s”no”reply needs to be taken into context with the whole Buy Twitter Verified discussion. User @anilthakur2u had actually made a joke about title tags updating on December 31 to end up being relevant for the approaching year.

Mueller responded, “SEO hacks don’t make a site fantastic. Provide your content and users the regard they should have.”

Here, here!

Simply upgrading your publication date is a bad SEO technique and won’t help you rank better.

Wish to find out more? Get the complete Google Ranking Aspects guide.

Our Verdict: Fresh Material Is A Confirmed Ranking Element For Some Queries

When the question demands it, fresh material

is a Google ranking element. Does that suggest you should continuously change the release date? No. Does it suggest a post could outrank other pages because of the date they were published? Possibly, if Google believes freshness is important to the user’s inquiry.

Please bear in mind there are a great deal of ranking factors, not simply “freshness.”

You might have the ability to win a ranking boost by riding the wave of popular trends, upcoming events, or breaking news, but it is not an evergreen material method.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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