Google Gets Fresh with Algorithm Update Affecting 35% of Searches

A new Google algorithm update designed to pick and choose which queries demand fresher results impacts about 35 percent of searches. Where their Caffeine architecture allows Google to quickly crawl the mass and complex contents of the Web, this latest update is meant to select which queries require the most recent results.

In a post on the Official Google Blog, Amit Singhal lists recent events, hot topics, recurring events, or topics with frequently updated information as the types of searches that will benefit from the freshness update. Queries on sports teams, for example, should bring back results on the latest scores, whereas recipes understandably have a longer shelf life in search.

Here’s what a search for [groupon ipo] returned as of the time of this writing. Note that the oldest item is a day old:


Users looking for older information on topics Google may mark as requiring fresher results, like the Olympic games or annual conferences, can still set a custom date range to bring back results from previous years.

“Different searches have different freshness needs,” Singhal wrote. “This algorithmic improvement is designed to better understand how to differentiate between these kinds of searches and the level of freshness you need, and make sure you get the most up to the minute answers.”

This may initially add a bit of fuel to the fire in the debate surrounding how often websites should be updated and whether Google penalizes those that don’t update on a regular basis. Many webmasters/publishers struggle to create new, engaging contenton a regular basis. Remember, though, that quality, evergreen content can hold its value for years; keep the topic and immediacy of searches in mind when creating new content.

A brewing equipment manufacturer, for example, probably doesn’t need to run out and generate new content as often as a camera retailer. The industry is slower to evolve; people searching for information on cameras most likely want to learn about the latest models in a rapidly changing niche.

Bing has also been working on Tiger, their improved back-end infrastructure, expected to be completed by the end of the year. Their plans include a cloud storage and computational engine called Cosmos that uses a high-level language called SCOPE. A job posting from October explained a bit about Bing’s mission with Tiger:

“We are chartered with complicated problems such as finding, crawling, processing and serving any interesting and emerging web page in a matter of seconds; It doesn’t matter if it’s a new New-York times article, an posting to Facebook or an update to someone’s personal blog, we want that page in the index the moment it’s available.”

It sounds like Google’s plan to differentiate between searches requiring immediacy and those with less urgency may keep them one step ahead of Bing once again. What do you think of Google’s latest update?

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