Is Fresh Content A Google Ranking Factor?

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As with most updates in Google’s history, search market rumors spread out rapidly about how to “video game” the system.

“Freshness” is a common style amongst Google updates, spanning over a years.

And “fresh material” as a ranking factor has actually been a continuous point of interest for SEOs, specifically among content marketers.

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

[Advised Read:] Google Ranking Factors: Fact or Fiction

The Claim: Fresh Content As A Ranking Element

The speculation that fresh content may be a ranking element started in reaction to a couple of significant Google updates and has snowballed into quite the claim.

The idea behind “fresh content” started a couple of years before Google’s Caffeine upgrade.

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

Throughout this time, Singhal spoke on the record about the option he had established to solve the “freshness issue.”

It was a brand-new algorithm that tried to determine when users desired new info and when they didn’t.

And like all Google initiatives, it had a memorable name: QDF for “question should have freshness.”

Caffeine (2009 Google Update)

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

It was such an enormous change that Google in fact offered developers with a preview a few months prior to rolling it out.

Caffeine allowed Google to crawl quicker, hence delivering fresher results from a much larger index.

The indexing upgrade was completed in June 2010, kicking off the fresh material myth due to the fact that Google said, “Caffeine offers 50 percent fresher results.”

Freshness (2011 Google Update)

Google revealed a “Freshness upgrade” in November 2011, four years after the New york city Times story broke.

In the statement titled, “Providing you fresher, more current search results page,” Google discussed that this was a significant improvement to the ranking algorithm and significantly effects 6 to 10% of searches.

Included Snippets Freshness (2019 Google Update)

Freshness updates did not stop there. Relevance continues to be leading of mind for Google as they look for to satisfy user queries.

Pandu Nayak, Google’s existing Vice President of Search, revealed in 2019 that the business upgraded its search algorithms to keep snippets present, fresh, and appropriate.

Danny Sullivan confirmed that the Featured Bits Freshness update went live in late February 2019.

Rumors on how to optimize for Google updates spread out rapidly, and this was unquestionably real for fresh material.

Speculations flowed claiming that by upgrading content frequently, you could protect an SEO benefit or that updating the publication date of a short article can make it look fresh.

Let’s have a look at the proof behind these claims and whether fresh material remains in any method a ranking factor.

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The Evidence: Fresh Content As A Ranking Element

To decide if “fresh material” might be a ranking aspect, we require to understand 2 things: what the “Freshness” algorithm updates imply and how they impact search rankings.


Question deserves freshness (QDF) is extremely actual.

Google’s option revolved around figuring out whether a search question is “hot,” implying whether or not the user wants the most current information on the subject.

The mathematical model looked at news websites, post, and Google’s own stream of billions of search queries to see how much international interest there remains in a specific subject.

For instance, Singhal shared what happens when cities suffer power outages.

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

Such a sudden spike in interest can represent that people are trying to find brand-new information.


Unfortunately, lots of people got the Caffeine upgrade wrong.

Caffeine wasn’t a ranking upgrade. The intention behind it wasn’t even to effect rankings. It was a complete restore of Google’s indexing system.

Indexing and ranking are 2 extremely different things.

Indexing is when Google first looks at your material and adds it to its index. That suggests it has the prospective to be ranked.

Ranking, nevertheless, is a totally different story, with far more complicated algorithms behind it.

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


The Freshness upgrade was an effort to comprehend when a user is searching for more recent information.

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

Google shares information on exactly which inquiries deserve freshness on its How Search Works page.

Screenshot from Google”How Search Works,”June 2022

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

  • Recent events or hot topics: celeb news or natural disasters.
  • Regularly repeating events: the Olympics or Sports Ratings.
  • Content that frequently updates: best/reviews or innovation industry.

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

Google Representatives On Freshness: Provide Users The Regard They Deserve

Do we have an official response? Yep.

In 2018, John Mueller responded to a question asking, does Google prefer fresh content?

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

Mueller replied, “SEO hacks do not make a website terrific. Give your content and users the regard they should have.”

Here, here!

Simply updating your publication date is a bad SEO strategy and won’t help you rank much better.

Wish to learn more? Get the complete Google Ranking Elements guide.

Our Verdict: Fresh Content Is A Validated Ranking Aspect For Some Queries

When the question demands it, fresh content

is a Google ranking element. Does that indicate you should continuously change the publish date? No. Does it mean a short article could outrank other pages because of the date they were published? Possibly, if Google thinks freshness is important to the user’s query.

Please remember there are a great deal of ranking aspects, not simply “freshness.”

You may be able to win a ranking boost by riding the wave of popular patterns, upcoming events, or breaking news, however it is not an evergreen material method.

Included Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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