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Fresh Content as a Google Ranking Factor: What You Need to Know

Does Google consider content freshness a ranking factor because it compares your content to other content in order to find the best answers for searchers?

Disclaimer: Fresh Content as a Ranking Factor

New or fresh content on your site can help you rank better because…science?

First, let's consider freshness.One dictionary definition defines it as "the state of being recently manufactured or acquired or not decomposed".

Well, then you have to consider how we define "recent" here, as this will vary by topic.or industry.or niche market.or some other factor.

Think about it, how fresh is this article?

Did you read it the day it was published?a week later?one year later?

Is it still "fresh"?

Other questions we can think about and debate about freshness:

  • Can only brand new content be considered fresh?
  • Does freshness only affect trending topics (news/events)?
  • Does updating existing (old article) content make it "fresh"?
  • Does user search behavior determine whether a query is "fresh" or "outdated"?

Well, well, that's a lot.Where should we go from here?

The point is, there are a lot of misconceptions about what fresh content is and whether it can affect your rankings.

Let's look at the evidence.

Fresh Content as a Ranking Factor: Evidence

Let's start with the first and biggest question: is fresh content a ranking factor?

On November 2011, 11, Google announced improvements to its ranking algorithm.It said the algorithm "better determines when to provide you with the most recent relevant results for these varying degrees of freshness.

However, when this topic is discussed in SEO, what is classified as "freshness" is defined differently.

Google uses Query Worth Freshness (QDF) to decide when to provide users with new information and when not to provide users with new information.

Google classified fresh content in three categories in 2011:

  • Recent events or trending topics.
  • regularly recurring events.
  • Frequent updates.

Additionally, Section 2020 of Google's Search Quality Rating Guidelines (version 10 October 14) breaks down the types of queries that require "fresh" information.these are:

  • "Breaking News" query.
  • Repeat event queries (e.g. elections, sporting events, TV shows, conferences, etc.)
  • Current information query.
  • Product lookup.

Some search queries need to connect to new content, while other search queries can be served using older content.

For example, Google's patent related to freshness states:

"For some queries, older documents may be more beneficial than newer ones.Therefore, it may be beneficial to adjust the scores of documents according to the average age difference (age) of the result set.

Can updating your content improve rankings?

Yes!

Our team at Search Engine Journal, led by Executive Editor Danny Goodwin, started the project in 2017 to update older content and doubled page views within a year..

How much old content do you need to update to affect rankings?

The amount of content you change on old pages does play a role in rankings.

For example, simply updating an article title from 2021 to 2022 without making any other changes to the content will not affect your rankings.

Google may ignore these changes entirely.

Google says:

"Furthermore, documents with relatively large amounts of content updated over time may be scored differently than documents with relatively little content updated over time.

Botify conducted a study comparing content changes to crawl frequency.They found that larger content changes can improve crawl frequency and the content's average keyword ranking.

Essentially, content with the most page changes has a higher crawl frequency and more keyword rankings.

Fresh Content as a Ranking Signal: Our Verdict

Yes, freshness of content is a ranking factor.

While fresh content can help boost your rankings, it's a lot more in-depth than keeping up to date with old content or writing about news or events.

Keep in mind that your content may be considered fresh for many reasons.

But even though freshness isn't a Google ranking factor, it's always a best practice to keep your content up-to-date, relevant, and valuable to your audience/client/client.

Also keep in mind that freshness alone will not make your content rank.This is just one element of what Google looks at.

Always focus on quality – because high-quality fresh content (in theory, anyway!) should always beat low-quality fresh content.This is the case as long as Google is doing its job: delivering the best, most up-to-date results.

Extended reading:

Anchor Text as a Google Ranking Factor: Everything You Need to Know

Core Web Vitals as a Google Ranking Factor: What You Need to Know

Anchor Text as a Google Ranking Factor: Everything You Need to Know

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