Search Engine Land reports that Google has updated its search algorithm in a way that may impact 35 percent of searches. If so, this is a huge impact – the recent Panda update impacted only 12 percent of searches. The change benefits fresh content with a higher ranking. This is an effort by Google to return the most relevant and timely search results.
If you recall, last year Google instituted its Caffeine infrastructure that provided faster indexing, crawling and results. That change did not affect the underlying search algorithm, only its implementation. Now, this freshness update will juggle results in favor of new content.
Google delineated three categories of searches that will feel the impact of the freshness update:
1) Breaking news: You will receive the latest information on hot topics that show trending interest, sometimes only minutes old.
2) Recurring events: When you search on a topic like “presidential debates”, the algorithm will assume you want information on the latest debates first.
3) Periodic updates: Searches like “car safety ratings” will provide the latest updated information.
In the article, Danny Sullivan was able to elicit some supplementary information from Google. Apparently, the importance of freshness has been doubled by the new algorithm. Google will attempt to differentiate “fresh and good” from just “fresh” in order to counteract spam attempts such as meaningless updates and repostings. Freshness will be judged on the initial web crawl of a page; subsequent updates won’t make a page fresher. Google insists that freshness will be balanced by topicality and quality for ranking purposes.
The bottom line is that your website will benefit even more from fresh content, and you should be encouraged to frequently add content to your site, which is, of course, a standard white-hat SEO technique.