Google Fresh Update – What This Means to You

Yet another update by Google, this one titled ‘Fresh’, comes on the tail of 'Panda'. Discover out all you need to know here to minimise the impact on your rankings.

Find out why you should freshen up your site now the Google Fresh update has been launched.

We all love a freshly brewed coffee in the morning and Google answered our call with Google Caffeine promising 50 percent fresher results for web searches than their last index update. Now they have released another update called Google Fresh giving you search results that are recent and relevant. Google understands that no one likes stale coffee or search results – find out more about the index refresh.

What is Google Fresh?

With the new Google Fresh update, the Search Engine giant is aiming to serve up the newest, timely and most relevant results from the last week, day or even minute for a particular search term. All it is in essence is a date and time stamp on the results being served up on the Search Engine results pages (SERPS). This is a change to Google’s ranking algorithm that will affect roughly 35%* of searches. This includes:

  • recent events or hot topics
  • regularly recurring events
  • frequent updates

So using Google’s example if you simply type in the search term ‘Olympics’, you will be served up results on next upcoming 2012 Olympics in London. To give another example, you could type in the name of a TV show like ‘Ellen DeGeneres Show’ and it would bring up the most recent results for the show. Building on the momentum from Caffeine, you will start to see more high-quality pages that might only be a few minutes old.

How will Google Fresh affect your Google SEO?

As aforementioned, Google has stated that this update will only impact 35%* of the searches so not everyone will be impacted by this algorithm change. If your industry is not affected by recency, then this change is less important. If your website sells concert tickets or publishes latest products’ reviews, then it is more relevant to you. Here are some ways you can leverage the Google Fresh algorithm change:

Use Proper Time-stamps in Your Content

Add a clear publication date to your articles ideally at the top of the article or within the content. As the ‘Google Fresh results’ start to be served up on the SERPS, you will notice that they are time-stamped. This is not only important for Google so they can identify the content for recency but it’s also extremely useful for readers who can see when the article was written and if it is still timely and up-to-date.

Adding new and original content to your site

It has always been important for websites to add new and original content but with the Google Fresh update this has increased in significance. The important things to remember is to date stamp your content, ensure it is optimized for Search Engines and frequently publish content but aim for quality over quantity. By adding an RSS feed (see below), this will broadcast your content quickly and immediately. Content ideas include the following:

  • developing a company blog
  • uploading media releases and company newsletters
  • creating a news updates section to your site including industry news such as white papers and so forth
  • uploading videos and images of company events
  • adding a forum to your site.

Getting published in Google News

This will not apply to every site but if you are producing newsworthy content, it’s a good idea to submit this to be published in Google News which has strict news quality and technical guidelines. If you think your site has fulfilled the Google News format, you can submit your site for inclusion. Google News will not accept how-to articles, job postings, advice columns, or strictly informational content such as weather forecasts and stock data.

Creating a News Sitemap

Before creating a news sitemap, ensure that your site is included in Google News, if it’s not, you can contact Google to request inclusion. Your News Sitemap should contain only URLs for your articles published in the last two days. You’re encouraged to update your News Sitemap continually with fresh articles as soon as they are published. Google News crawls News Sitemaps as often as it crawls the rest of your site.

Adding an RSS feed

An RSS (Really Simple Syndication) document – sometimes called a feed, web feed, or channel includes full or summarized text, plus metadata such as publishing dates (timestamp) and authorship. If you haven’t incorporated an RSS feed on your blog, in light of the algorithm update, it’s a good idea to do it now and optimize your site. An RSS feed can be submitted to Google and/or automatically downloaded.

The underlying premise of algorithm changes is to increase the integrity of search for users and now relevancy and recency is important. These changes you make to your site will not only improve your Search Engine rankings but will also lead to increased usability for your visitors – a win-win. Contact SEO Works if you would like any more information about the Google Fresh update and how we can improve the optimization of your website.

* To clarify, when Google say this algorithm impacted 35% of searches, they mean at least one result on the page was affected, as opposed to when they have said noticeably impacted in the past, which means changes that are significant enough that an average user would notice. Using that same scale, this change noticeably impacts 6 – 10% of searches, depending on the language and domain you’re searching on.