Originally at http://tracking.feedpress.it/link/9375/3736221

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

[Estimated read time: 11 minutes]

How fresh is this article?

Through patent filings over the years, Google has explored many ways that it might use “freshness” as a ranking signal. Back in 2011, we published a popular Moz Blog post about these “Freshness Factors” for SEO. Following our own advice, this is a brand new update of that article.

In 2003, Google engineers filed a patent named Information retrieval based on historical data that shook the SEO world. The patent not only offered insight into the mind of Google engineers at the time, but also seemingly provided a roadmap for Google’s algorithm for years to come.

In his series on the “10 most important search patents of all time,” Bill Slawski’s excellent writeup shows how this patent spawned an entire family of Google child patents–the latest from October 2011.

This post doesn’t attempt to describe all the ways that Google may determine freshness to rank web pages, but instead focuses on areas we may most likely influence through SEO.

Giant, great big caveat: Keep in mind that while multiple Google patent filings describe these techniques — often in great detail — we have no guarantee how Google uses them in its algorithm. While we can’t be 100% certain, evidence suggests that they use at least some, and possibly many, of these techniques to rank search results.

For another take on these factors, I highly recommend reading Justin Briggs’ excellent article Methods for Evaluating Freshness.

When “Queries Deserve Freshness”

Former Google Fellow Amit Singhal once explained how “Different searches have different freshness needs.”

The implication is that Google measures all of your documents for freshness, then scores each page according to the type of search query.

Singhal describes the types of keyword searches most likely to require fresh content:

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