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What Causes Freshness? (And How to Get It to Work for You)

When it appears in the SERPs, make sure your material is appropriate for the audience. Learn more about the different kinds of inquiries that Google treats as “fresh.” Will upgrading previous blog content or constantly releasing fresh ones help you rank higher? Perhaps, but not only by altering the day or frequency. Google has accounted for such “hacks.” We will talk about how your rank is impacted by the freshness aspects in this post.

What Is Freshness?

Marketers point to a 2017 algorithm tweak when they discuss the “freshness” of content. With the introduction of time as a relevance signal in Google’s Freshness Update, the search results are now more sensitive to user intent. Google was able to provide regularly updated, trending material as a result of the change. The Freshness update is frequently misunderstood, leading people to believe that it favors recent publication dates when ranking results. Sadly, this oversimplification has given rise to several viral “hacks” like mass-producing content or changing publishing dates as effective SEO tactics. I’ll thus explain why freshness isn’t what you think it is before describing how to make freshness work for you.

Freshness vs. Frequency

Frequency and freshness are frequently mistaken. The pace at which you post information is known as frequency, whereas the date that a page was first published is known as freshness. To keep your site fresh, you need to publish material often. The 2017 Google Caffeine upgrade makes this (freshness) all feasible. Ranking, however, is not indexing. Frequency is not the same as freshness and is not a ranking criterion, however, it may boost how frequently Google analyses your page. Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller tweeted to confirm this. He denied that posting frequency is taken into account by Google’s algorithms in response to the question. Consider the Backlinko website as an illustration. Brian Dean posted about six times in 2021, and as of this writing in 2022, he has only produced one piece. The website nonetheless has a top three position for 3,850 unbranded keywords.

How Does Google Determine Publication Date?

When establishing the publishing date of a webpage, Google considers a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, the dates you supply or dates provided through structured markup. Google, however, does not rely on a single component because anything may go wrong. What happens if a publisher doesn’t give a certain date? What if the page’s structured data is incomplete or inaccurate? To identify when a page was published or significantly changed, Google takes into account more than simply the dates that are supplied. Updated significantly is a crucial distinction. The Google webmaster standards for news are shown below (because it is most impacted). This illustration demonstrates how Google expressly forbids intentionally updating a story’s date and time in the absence of meaningful new facts or a convincing argument.

Does The Publication Date Matter?

Take SEO as an example. With numerous moving pieces, regular algorithm upgrades, and a lot of specialists releasing their research online, it is an industry that may be somewhat unstable. You could assume that inquiries relating to SEO would need to be current. Search for [SEO audit]. Nothing too extraordinary. Articles from 2020, 2021, and 2022 are available. A Wordstream article with a 2018 date then appears in the SERP (search engine results page). As you can see, Google determines a page’s publishing date based on several characteristics. You see, Wordstream published an artificially modified publication date in an attempt to make this page look more current. Nevertheless, it continues to appear on page one. Perhaps Google doesn’t believe that the query [SEO audit] merits freshness. Search for [SEO trends]. Notice a distinction? Articles are absent till the end of 2021 and 2022. On the first page, one story doesn’t even provide the date. It just indicates how recently the content was published. Why is this taking place? For the search term “SEO trends,” a 2018 post would produce terrible search results. To match the results to the user’s purpose, Google recognizes that consumers want to learn about the newest trends, not those that have already passed.

What Types Of Queries Does Freshness Apply To?

Google lists three categories of searches that freshness algorithms apply to in its official article about the update: current events (such as natural catastrophes), recurring events (such as sports scores), and often updated subjects (e.g., product reviews). Let’s take the question “how to make a standing desk” as an example.

Google recognizes this as an instructional (how-to) search and gives 2018 video search results along with links to websites that date back as far as 2012. However, if I look for the [best standing desk]. The user is trying to purchase a standing desk, and Google recognizes this as a transactional inquiry. The SERP shows product purchase advertisements and standing desk reviews that are as recent as “9 hours ago.” On page, there are no links to websites that are older than two months. Freshness becomes crucial to the user experience when someone searches for [best standing desk] since they probably want to read a product review.

Final Thoughts

Google doesn’t mind if you upload frequently or continually change the date. Do you think you should cease updating older posts as a result? No! By upgrading the content, quality, and relevance of your articles to reflect user intent and business advancements, you can keep them current. Has anything changed since you published the story initially? For readers to understand the historical perspective of events, update it and make the revisions obvious. Update how you’re presenting the information if you discover that Google starts showing photos, videos, or rich results in the SERP for your target keyword.