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Google has revealed that its latest algorithm update, the Freshness Update, will impact around 35% of searches.  But which sites are affected and how?

The thinking behind this update is that for many queries, searchers are actually looking for the latest, freshest content about a topic rather than older web pages.

One obvious example is if you type ‘Olympics’ into Google right now, you are more likely to be satisfied if you get results about London 2012 than older results about the games.

To get a better overview of the impact of the update on the google.com (ie Google US) index, I analysed our search analytics data right after the update.

The metric we focus on is SEO Visibility, an estimate for how visible a web page is on Google in a specific country, which is based on analysing search results for millions of keywords.

The findings of the main 'winners' are listed below. As you might expect, the update seems to have favoured news sites, broadcast sites, video portals and a lot of brand sites, sites which you’d expect to regularly load fresh content, as well having high clickthrough rates (CTRs).

  Domain SEO Visibility 11/06/2011 SEO Visibility 10/30/2011 Percent
Brand last.fm 1.386.908 1.232.115 12,56
Brand overstock.com 814.747 774.752 5,16
Brand lonelyplanet.com 412.446 377.565 9,24
Brand rockhall.com 62.610 36.387 72,07
Brand marthastewart.com 170.392 147.258 15,71
Brand wikiquote.org 315.054 292.471 7,72
Brand dominos.com 86.572 65.370 32,43
Brand papajohns.com 101.561 81.411 24,75
Brand squidoo.com 406.930 386.806 5,20
Brand soundcloud.com 229.032 211.331 8,38
Brand playstation.com 176.529 159.381 10,76
Brand comcast.com 187.415 170.841 9,70
Brand hotels.com 210.944 195.153 8,09
Brand vzw.com 54.978 40.428 35,99
Brand guitarcenter.com 103.490 89.295 15,90
Brand cox.com 91.860 80.679 13,86
Brand buy.com 163.761 152.926 7,09
Brand citibank.com 120.652 109.880 9,80
Brand scottrade.com 32.891 22.257 47,78
Brand aim.com 77.448 67.757 14,30
Brand southwestvacations.com 27.985 18.632 50,20
Brand boostmobile.com 39.996 31.092 28,64
Brand hawaiianair.com 35.970 27.076 32,85
Brand nationalcar.com 26.454 17.583 50,45
Brand skype.com 97.380 89.053 9,35
Brand garmin.com 71.229 62.918 13,21
Brand sonypictures.com 154.248 146.029 5,63
Brand opera.com 50.612 42.483 19,13
Brand napster.com 31.720 23.632 34,22
Celebrity news perezhilton.com 643.042 552.660 16,35
Celebrity news thehollywoodgossip.com 166.931 138.466 20,56
Celebrity news hollywoodreporter.com 219.287 201.657 8,74
Celebrity news hellomagazine.com 34.035 22.250 52,97
Celebrity news actressarchives.com 57.257 48.790 17,35
Government ny.gov 144.173 102.536 40,61
Government bls.gov 251.541 223.890 12,35
News huffingtonpost.com 1.895.562 1.782.006 6,37
News dailymail.co.uk 617.552 587.989 5,03
News allthingsd.com 63.558 42.620 49,13
News businessinsider.com 225.582 207.656 8,63
News nj.com 210.528 197.621 6,53
News rr.com 141.118 128.880 9,50
News medicalnewstoday.com 136.022 125.037 8,79
News christianpost.com 49.681 38.864 27,83
News salon.com 107.948 97.666 10,53
Tech news engadget.com 515.212 472.053 9,14
Tech news techcrunch.com 294.944 268.400 9,89
TV tvguide.com 697.920 663.713 5,15
TV aoltv.com 275.456 245.542 12,18
TV zap2it.com 301.686 282.817 6,67
TV buddytv.com 224.144 205.470 9,09
University pitt.edu 96.172 81.635 17,81
Video youtube.com 6.942.619 5.464.798 27,04
Video myspace.com 2.982.113 2.587.181 15,26
Video metacafe.com 367.335 338.992 8,36
Video break.com 211.243 189.391 11,54
Video funnyordie.com 189.309 169.583 11,63
Other familydoctor.org 150.551 122.338 23,06
Other rhapsody.com 128.108 107.650 19,00
Other examiner.com 97.413 80.017 21,74
Other theblackfriday.com 83.978 66.991 25,36
Other allthelyrics.com 48.348 32.342 49,49
Other ratemyprofessors.com 120.409 106.064 13,52
Other cheapoair.com 104.694 93.718 11,71
Other applebees.com 49.469 39.221 26,13
Other heavy.com 38.192 28.776 32,72
Other stars21.com 33.680 24.624 36,78
Other java-gaming.com 27.975 19.152 46,07
Other scribd.com 55.354 46.804 18,27

If you think about the 35%figure again, what it means to me is that Google assumes that around one third of search queries are related to fresh content.

For webmasters with less new/fresh content this could make it difficult to rank highly. If most of the queries you ranked for in the past are outranked by fresh content (where link popularity will be less relevant), you’ll obviously have to think about creating new content more often.

Marcus Tober

Published 10 November, 2011 by Marcus Tober

Marcus Tober is CTO at Searchmetrics GmbH and a contributor to Econsultancy. 

14 more posts from this author

Comments (5)

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Karen Webber

Great post - really interesting to see some real-life examples of the effects of the update. And I'm very pleased to see that it confirms my predictions that the biggest winners will be sites with relevant news updates.

over 4 years ago

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Fluto

I think the freshness update will be a good idea as a means to incentivise people to keep on the ball with their seo and online marketing efforts. Its annoying when you come across a website which has had little emphasis or effort in being up to date with what is going on around themselves.

over 4 years ago

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Steve Wells I Pick Up Diary

On the one hand, focusing on fresh content is a good idea. however, this should always go hand in hand with quality management. that is relevant and useful content, not only recently updated text (that might be completely useless). Also, I'm tired of half-related, stupid videos dominating google results.

over 4 years ago

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Toronto Seo

The main reason behind Google’s “Freshness” update is to provide up-to-the minute information for those searching the Web.

over 4 years ago

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Ebert

This is the only time I've been to your site. Thank you for explaining more information.

over 3 years ago

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