Is Fresh Material A Google Ranking Element?

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Similar to many updates in Google’s history, search market reports spread rapidly about how to “video game” the system.

“Freshness” is a typical theme among Google updates, spanning over a decade.

And “fresh content” as a ranking factor has been a continuous sight for SEOs, particularly amongst content marketers.

To better comprehend the argument, we will look at Google’s “Freshness” updates, particularly what they suggest and how (if at all) they impact search rankings.

[Recommended Read:] Google Ranking Factors: Truth or Fiction

The Claim: Fresh Content As A Ranking Factor

The speculation that fresh content may be a ranking aspect began in action to a few major Google updates and has snowballed into quite the claim.

The concept behind “fresh material” started a couple of years before Google’s Caffeine upgrade.

In 2007, a New york city Times press reporter was allowed to spend a day with Amit Singhal (Senior VP of Search at the time).

Throughout this time, Singhal spoke on the record about the solution he had actually established to fix the “freshness problem.”

It was a brand-new algorithm that tried to determine when users wanted brand-new info and when they didn’t.

And like all Google initiatives, it had a memorable moniker: QDF for “query deserves freshness.”

Caffeine (2009 Google Update)

If you think Google core updates are a big deal now, wait till you find out about the Google Caffeine upgrade of 2009.

It was such a huge modification that Google in fact supplied designers with a preview a few months prior to rolling it out.

Caffeine enabled Google to crawl faster, thus providing fresher results from a much larger index.

The indexing upgrade was finished in June 2010, kicking off the fresh content myth due to the fact that Google stated, “Caffeine supplies 50 percent fresher outcomes.”

Freshness (2011 Google Update)

Google announced a “Freshness upgrade” in November 2011, four years after the New york city Times story broke.

In the statement titled, “Offering you fresher, more current search results,” Google discussed that this was a significant improvement to the ranking algorithm and noticeably impacts six to 10% of searches.

Included Snippets Freshness (2019 Google Update)

Freshness updates did not stop there. Relevance continues to be leading of mind for Google as they seek to satisfy user queries.

Pandu Nayak, Google’s existing Vice President of Search, announced in 2019 that the company updated its search algorithms to keep snippets present, fresh, and pertinent.

Danny Sullivan validated that the Featured Snippets Freshness update went reside in late February 2019.

Rumors on how to enhance for Google updates spread quickly, and this was unquestionably real for fresh content.

Speculations flowed claiming that by upgrading content frequently, you could secure an SEO advantage or that updating the publication date of a post can make it look fresh.

Let’s take a look at the proof behind these claims and whether fresh material remains in any method a ranking factor.

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The Proof: Fresh Material As A Ranking Aspect

To choose if “fresh material” might be a ranking element, we require to comprehend two things: what the “Freshness” algorithm updates suggest and how they affect search rankings.


Query should have freshness (QDF) is very literal.

Google’s solution revolved around figuring out whether a search query is “hot,” meaning whether or not the user wants the most current info on the subject.

The mathematical design took a look at news sites, blog posts, and Google’s own stream of billions of search inquiries to see just how much international interest there remains in a specific topic.

For instance, Singhal shared what happens when cities suffer power outages.

“When there is a blackout in New York, the very first articles appear in 15 minutes; we get inquiries in 2 seconds,” Singhal informed the New York Times.

Such an unexpected spike in interest can represent that individuals are looking for brand-new details.


Regrettably, many individuals got the Caffeine upgrade wrong.

Caffeine wasn’t a ranking upgrade. The intent behind it wasn’t even to impact rankings. It was a total rebuild of Google’s indexing system.

Indexing and ranking are two extremely different things.

Indexing is when Google initially takes a look at your content and adds it to its index. That means it has the potential to be ranked.

Ranking, nevertheless, is a totally various story, with far more complex algorithms behind it.

And while Caffeine concentrated on indexing, it was the Freshness upgrade that impacted Google’s ranking algorithm.


The Freshness update was an effort to comprehend when a user is searching for more recent details.

However “freshness” doesn’t use across the board to all search queries.

Google shares information on precisely which questions should have freshness on its How Search Works page.

Screenshot from Google”How Browse Functions,”June 2022

Google’s Freshness algorithm looks for to provide the latest information for trending keywords that fall under categories such as:

  • Current events or hot topics: star news or natural catastrophes.
  • Regularly recurring occasions: the Olympics or Sports Ratings.
  • Content that regularly updates: best/reviews or innovation industry.

Freshness is a complex topic in its own right, so it’s an excellent concept to find out about it if you’re targeting time-focused questions.

Google Representatives On Freshness: Give Users The Respect They Should have

Do we have a main answer? Yep.

In 2018, John Mueller replied to a concern asking, does Google favor fresh content?

Screenshot from Buy Twitter Verification thread, June 2022 Mueller’s”no”reply needs to be taken into context with the entire Buy Twitter Verification conversation. User @anilthakur2u had made a joke about title tags updating on December 31 to end up being relevant for the upcoming year.

Mueller replied, “SEO hacks do not make a website fantastic. Give your content and users the regard they should have.”

Here, here!

Just upgrading your publication date is a poor SEO technique and won’t help you rank much better.

Want to discover more? Get the complete Google Ranking Elements guide.

Our Verdict: Fresh Material Is A Confirmed Ranking Factor For Some Queries

When the query demands it, fresh material

is a Google ranking element. Does that suggest you should constantly change the publish date? No. Does it mean an article could outrank other pages because of the date they were published? Potentially, if Google believes freshness is critical to the user’s query.

Please remember there are a lot of ranking elements, not simply “freshness.”

You might be able to win a ranking boost by riding the wave of popular patterns, upcoming occasions, or breaking news, however it is not an evergreen material method.

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Best SMM Panel

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