Is Fresh Content A Google Ranking Factor?

As with most updates in Google’s history, rumors spread quickly in the search industry about how the system had been “rigged”.

“Freshness” is a popular theme among Google updates, and it spans over a decade.

And “new content” as a ranking factor has been an ongoing point of interest for SEO, especially among content marketers.

To better understand the debate, we’ll look at Google’s “refreshness” updates, specifically what they mean and how (if any) they affect search rankings.

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

Claim: Fresh content as a ranking factor

Speculation that new content might be a ranking factor began in response to a few major Google updates and has grown exponentially in the claim.

The idea of ​​Fresh Content started a few years before the Google Caffeine update.

In 2007, a New York Times reporter was allowed to spend a day with Amit Singhal (then Senior Vice President for Research).

During this time, Senegal officially spoke about the solution he had developed to solve the “freshness problem”.

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

And like all Google initiatives, it had a catchy moniker: QDF for “Query Worth Renewing.”

Caffeine (2009 Google update)

If you think Google’s core updates are a big deal right now, wait until you hear about the 2009 Google Caffeine update.

It was such a huge change that Google actually gave developers a preview a few months before it was released.

Caffeine allowed Google to crawl faster, thus providing more recent results from a much larger index.

Indexing update completed June 2010 triggering new content legend due to Google He said“Caffeine provides 50 percent fresher results.”

Freshness (2011 Google update)

Google announced a “new update” in November 2011, four years after the New York Times story was published.

In the ad titled “Giving you newer, fresher search results,” Google explained that this was a huge improvement in the ranking algorithm and significantly affects six to 10% of searches.

Featured snippets freshness (2019 Google update)

The novelty of the updates didn’t stop there. Relevance remains a top priority for Google as it strives to satisfy users’ queries.

Pandu Nayak, Google’s current Vice President of Search, announce In 2019, the company updated its search algorithms to keep snippets up-to-date, current, and relevant.

Danny Sullivan has been confirmed The Featured Snippets Update was published in late February 2019.

Rumors about how Google’s updates are improving spread quickly, and that was undoubtedly true of the new content.

Speculation has been circulated claiming that by updating content frequently you can secure an SEO advantage or that updating the publication date of an article can make it look fresh.

Let’s take a look at the evidence behind these claims and whether the new content is in any way a ranking factor.

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Evidence: New content as a ranking factor

To determine if “fresh content” can be a ranking factor, we need to understand two things: what “freshness” algorithm updates mean and how they affect search rankings.


Query Worth Freshness (QDF) is very literal.

Google’s solution centered around determining if a search query was “hot,” meaning whether or not the user wanted the latest information on the topic.

The mathematical model looked at news websites, blog posts, and Google’s own stream of billions of search queries to see how much global interest there was in a given topic.

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

“When there’s a blackout in New York, the first articles come out in 15 minutes; we get inquiries in two seconds,” Singhal told The New York Times.

This sudden surge of interest can indicate that people are looking for new information.


Unfortunately, many people made the mistake of updating Caffeine.

Caffeine was not a ranking update. It wasn’t even intended to affect the ranking. It was a complete rebuild of the Google indexing system.

Indexing and ranking are two very different things.

Indexing is when Google first looks at your content and adds it to its index. This means that it has the ability to arrange.

However, ranking is a completely different story, with much more complex algorithms behind it.

And while Caffeine focused on indexing, it was the freshness update that affected Google’s ranking algorithm.


The Recency update was an attempt to understand when a user is looking for more recent information.

But “freshness” does not apply to all search queries.

Google shares information about which queries are specifically worth an update How does the search work? page.

Screenshot from Google “How Search Works”, June 2022

Google’s freshness algorithm seeks to provide the latest information for popular keywords that fall under categories such as:

  • Recent events or hot topics: celebrity gossip or natural disasters.
  • Regularly recurring events: Olympiads or sports results.
  • Frequently updated content: best / reviews or tech industry.

Recentness is a complex topic in and of itself, so it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with it if you’re targeting time-focused queries.

Google reps in the update: Give your users the respect they deserve

Do we have an official answer? yes.

In 2018, John Mueller answered the question, does Google like new content?

John Mueller talks about freshnessScreenshot from the Twitter thread, June 2022

Mueller’s “no” response should be taken in the context of the entire Twitter conversation.

User @anilthakur2u made a joke about updating the December 31st title tags to be relevant for the coming year.

Mueller responded, “A SEO hack doesn’t make a site great. Give your content and users the respect they deserve.”

here here!

Simply updating your post date is a bad SEO strategy and won’t help you rank better.

Want to know more? Get full Google ranking factors Instructs.

Our verdict: Fresh content is a sure ranking factor for some queries

Ranking factors: confirmed

When the query requires it, the new content is a ranking factor in Google.

Does this mean you have to constantly change the post date? number.

Does this mean that an article can outperform other pages because of its publication date? Possibly, if Google thinks freshness is critical to a user’s query.

Please keep in mind that there are a lot of ranking factors, not just ‘freshness’.

You may be able to win a ranking boost by riding the wave of popular trends, upcoming events, or breaking news, but it’s not an evergreen content strategy.

Featured Image: Paolo Bobetta/Search Engine Magazine

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