Google recently released their “Freshness” updates, and it has marketers in an uproar. Why is that? Well, because Google released a statement saying that they believed the Freshness update would effect approximately 35% of searches. That’s a pretty large number, especially when compared to their previous estimate of PANDA’s effect on search result queries (approximately 11-12%), and we’ve all seen the aftermath of that release. The good news is, this may not effect your business’s marketing strategy. It appears to be largely dependent on the type of content that you are providing. For example, areas that would be hit hard by the freshness update would be any news website, financial inquiries, celebrity gossip, etc. These are areas where new content is continually being spun out every second of the day. The same cannot be said of industries like waste disposal or furniture manufacturers. Don’t get offended if you’re in these industries! We’re just guessing you don’t have breaking news, but more power to you if you do! Before we get into the specifics, let’s backtrack a little and describe just exactly what Google’s Freshness update was intended to do.
Google released the Freshness update with the idea that fresh news is more relevant to your query rather than old content that’s been around since the early 2000’s. More times than not, they are correct. Think about it…how many times have you Google’d something like “iPhone battery not keeping its charge” only to be presented with forum responses pertaining to the iPhone 2G on the first page of Google. That certainly doesn’t help you, and now you have to dig through numerous pages before you find more up-to-date content. Now, Google will immediately assume you want the latest news. No longer will you need to type a year or date into your query. Rather than querying “Upcoming DVD Releases 2011”, you should be able to type in “Upcoming DVD Releases” and get the most current information available on the first page.
Obviously SEO’s are scrambling to see what this means for their business. First, let’s clarify a very important piece of Google’s statement regarding Freshness’ impact on searches. Note, Google said that Freshness could effect approximately 35% of queries. This does not mean 35% of your keywords. So if 15% of Google’s queries are regarding the new Twilight movie (ridiculous, huh?), that leaves an additional 20% of queries that can be effected. Make sense? If that other 20% is regarding Kim Kardashian’s divorce, your keywords aren’t even touched. Now, obviously that’s probably not the case, and a small percentage of your keywords can certainly be victimized, especially if they’re targeting a niche that has new content being continually generated.
So far, SEO’s have discovered that there are potentially several items you can monitor and update to help your search results with the new Freshness release. First, and obviously, continue to generate new content as much as possible. Blogs and RSS feeds will probably be a huge piece of the Freshness algorithm. Make sure both are optimized properly and that they continue to receive fresh injections of new content. As far as website homepages go, most of us can’t, or won’t, give our homepage a content makeover every single day. However, most of us do have news feeds on our site, Twitter feeds, Facebook feeds, blog feeds, and more, but usually these take up smaller portions of the home page. Instead, try to make your homepage more fluid, where a large portion of the layout is updated on a continual basis. For example, rather than have a small column in the bottom right-hand corner contain the only “feed” on your home page, try making at least 1/3, if not more, a space where new content is continually being presented.
There may be a few factors that you cannot entirely control, but you can contribute to. For example, backlinks may play a huge role in the Freshness formula. If one piece of older content is so relative and dead-on that it’s being linked to by other sites on a massive level, it may outrank the fresher content that has less links. There may be query “hot topics” that trigger the freshness formula. In the example above we use Kim Kardashian’s divorce (don’t shoot the messenger). This topic became “hot” the day the news was released. If you happen to have older content that is relevant to the keywords “kim kardashian” and “divorce”, your content may start getting pulled harder. Lastly, don’t be fooled by thinking that social networks, particular Google’s own Google+, doesn’t play a huge role in the formula. The amount that a piece of content is shared on a social network may be relevant to how fresh the news is, thus making it appear higher in the SERP’s.
The truth of the matter is, we as SEO experts in Atlanta, cannot make factual statements regarding Google’s Freshness algorithm. We can only speculate based on testing and conversing with other SEO experts in our niche. The information provided above is merely a conjecture that is meant to give you some insight into how Freshness may effect your results and what you may be able to do to help your search results. If you have any questions about the Freshness release, and you’d like our opinion, feel free to email us, give us a call, or leave a comment below.
E.B.B. Interactive is an Atlanta SEO Company and Atlanta Web Design Firm serving clients nationwide.
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