Is Fresh Content A Google Ranking Factor?


As with most updates in Google’s historical past, search business rumors unfold shortly about the best way to “recreation” the system.

“Freshness” is a typical theme amongst Google updates, spanning over a decade.

And “recent content material” as a rating issue has been an ongoing focal point for SEOs, particularly amongst content material entrepreneurs.

To raised perceive the controversy, we are going to have a look at Google’s “Freshness” updates, particularly what they imply and the way (if in any respect) they have an effect on search rankings.

[Recommended Read:] Google Rating Elements: Reality or Fiction

The Declare: Recent Content material As A Rating Issue

The hypothesis that recent content material could also be a rating issue started in response to a couple main Google updates and has snowballed into fairly the declare.

The concept behind “recent content material” began just a few years earlier than Google’s Caffeine replace.

In 2007, a New York Instances reporter was allowed to spend a day with Amit Singhal (Senior VP of Search on the time).

Throughout this time, Singhal spoke on the document in regards to the answer he had developed to unravel the “freshness drawback.”

It was a brand new algorithm that attempted to find out when customers wished new data and once they didn’t.

And like all Google initiatives, it had a catchy moniker: QDF for “question deserves freshness.”

Caffeine (2009 Google Replace)

When you assume Google core updates are a giant deal now, wait till you hear in regards to the Google Caffeine replace of 2009.

It was such a large change that Google truly offered builders with a preview just a few months earlier than rolling it out.

Caffeine allowed Google to crawl quicker, thus delivering brisker outcomes from a a lot bigger index.

The indexing replace was accomplished in June 2010, kicking off the recent content material fable as a result of Google stated, “Caffeine gives 50 p.c brisker outcomes.”

Freshness (2011 Google Replace)

Google introduced a “Freshness replace” in November 2011, 4 years after the New York Instances story broke.

Within the announcement titled, “Providing you with brisker, newer search outcomes,” Google defined that this was a major enchancment to the rating algorithm and noticeably impacts six to 10% of searches.

Featured Snippets Freshness (2019 Google Replace)

Freshness updates didn’t cease there. Relevancy continues to be prime of thoughts for Google as they search to fulfill consumer queries.

Pandu Nayak, Google’s present Vice President of Search, introduced in 2019 that the corporate up to date its search algorithms to maintain snippets present, recent, and related.

Danny Sullivan confirmed that the Featured Snippets Freshness replace went dwell in late February 2019.

Rumors on the best way to optimize for Google updates unfold shortly, and this was undoubtedly true for recent content material.

Speculations circulated claiming that by updating content material regularly, you would safe an web optimization benefit or that updating the publication date of an article could make it look recent.

Let’s check out the proof behind these claims and whether or not recent content material is in any manner a rating issue.

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The Proof: Recent Content material As A Rating Issue

To resolve if “recent content material” may very well be a rating issue, we have to perceive two issues: what the “Freshness” algorithm updates imply and the way they have an effect on search rankings.


Question deserves freshness (QDF) may be very literal.

Google’s answer revolved round figuring out whether or not a search question is “sizzling,” that means whether or not or not the consumer desires essentially the most up-to-date data on the subject.

The mathematical mannequin checked out information websites, weblog posts, and Google’s personal stream of billions of search queries to see how a lot international curiosity there’s in a specific topic.

For instance, Singhal shared what occurs when cities endure energy outages.

“When there’s a blackout in New York, the primary articles seem in quarter-hour; we get queries in two seconds,” Singhal advised the New York Instances.

Such a sudden spike in curiosity can signify that persons are searching for new data.


Sadly, many individuals received the Caffeine replace fallacious.

Caffeine wasn’t a rating replace. The intention behind it wasn’t even to affect rankings. It was a whole rebuild of Google’s indexing system.

Indexing and rating are two very various things.

Indexing is when Google first seems at your content material and provides it to its index. Meaning it has the potential to be ranked.

Rating, nevertheless, is a completely completely different story, with far more advanced algorithms behind it.

And whereas Caffeine centered on indexing, it was the Freshness replace that affected Google’s rating algorithm.


The Freshness replace was an effort to know when a consumer is searching for newer data.

However “freshness” doesn’t apply throughout the board to all search queries.

Google shares data on exactly which queries deserve freshness on its How Search Works web page.

key factors in search resultsScreenshot from Google “How Search Works,” June 2022

Google’s Freshness algorithm seeks to supply the newest data for trending key phrases that fall underneath classes similar to:

  • Latest occasions or sizzling matters: superstar information or pure disasters.
  • Recurrently recurring occasions: the Olympics or Sports activities Scores.
  • Content material that regularly updates: finest/critiques or know-how business.

Freshness is a posh matter in its personal proper, so it’s a good suggestion to find out about it when you’re focusing on time-focused queries.

Google Representatives On Freshness: Give Customers The Respect They Deserve

Do we have now an official reply? Yep.

In 2018, John Mueller replied to a query asking, does Google favor recent content material?

John Mueller on freshnessScreenshot from Twitter thread, June 2022

Mueller’s “no” reply must be taken into context with the entire Twitter dialog.

Consumer @anilthakur2u had made a joke about title tags updating on December 31 to develop into related for the upcoming 12 months.

Mueller replied, “web optimization hacks don’t make a website nice. Give your content material and customers the respect they deserve.”

Right here, right here!

Simply updating your publication date is a poor web optimization technique and received’t assist you to rank higher.

Need to study extra? Get the entire Google Rating Elements information.

Our Verdict: Recent Content material Is A Confirmed Rating Issue For Some Queries

Ranking factors: confirmed

When the question calls for it, recent content material is a Google rating issue.

Does that imply it’s best to consistently change the publish date? No.

Does it imply an article might outrank different pages due to the date they have been printed? Doubtlessly, if Google thinks freshness is important to the consumer’s question.

Please remember there are a number of rating components, not simply “freshness.”

You might be able to win a rating increase by using the wave of in style traits, upcoming occasions, or breaking information, however it’s not an evergreen content material technique.

Featured Picture: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal

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