Google gets fresh with an algorithm twist..

Two days ago Google released another twist in their search algorithm.  From now on, the ‘freshness’ of a page will have an impact on the SERP’s for a site. The aim is to improve the likelihood of more recent stories ranking higher according to the latest news, updates or reviews on that topic.Allegedly the new changes will affect only 35% of search results.

The changes are an extension of last year’s integration of Google Caffeine into the average user search, which was designed to bring in more recent results for specific searches. Google Fresh which was announced on Thursday will be added on to this evolving news and event searches to a ‘real-time’ standard.

“Building upon the momentum from Caffeine, today we’re making a significant improvement to our ranking algorithm that impacts roughly 35 percent of searches and better determines when to give you more up-to-date relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness,” said Google rep Amit Singhal in a blog post.

For example, if a user searches for a breaking news story or review of last night’s opening west end musical, the search engine will now favour the most recent coverage or review in its results, not just sites linked to that specific story or show. For regular searches, the Google Fresh will display results on the most recent event rather than just those which have already come to pass.

There is speculation circulating the web at the moment that Google are pushing themselves forward to compete with Microsoft’s Bing search engine, which is now close to providing a third of all internet searches either directly or through partners such as Yahoo. Google may be hoping that these changes will give them the edge over the growing threat of actual competition.

But the new Google Fresh algorithm has been greeted with mixed reviews in the worlds of PPC and SEO marketing.  The issue is that making some sites searchable with this new algorithm is making their jobs harder and harder to do.

One of Anicca’s in house SEO account managers, James Murphy says that:

“Google Fresh highlights the importance we have stressed to our clients of creating regular fresh content on-site. Whilst I think this may not impact a lot of searches in the short term I should imagine that as Google begins to advance on this algorithm the majority of searches will be influenced by Google Fresh. I for one hate sites that look like they haven’t been updated in years and question their validity in my searches so welcome this new change”

On a personal level I think these changes will have a long term effect on search results but it will not hugely affect the current algorithm for optimising a site.  If anything it encourages site owners to start blogging or updating their sites with news articles or fresh content, which they should be doing any way.

By Lucie Crouch


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