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Is freshness an important signal for all sites?


>>Cutts: Hey everybody. We’re back for another
round of Webmaster Videos. The very first question, the most popular
one, with 86 votes, comes from Ivan in Canada. Who asks: “Google has expressed in the past
that frequently updated pages get a boost in rankings (QDF), that seems to favor blogs
and news sites over company sites, which have less reason to be updated often. How important
of a signal is ‘freshness’?” So there’s a little bit of an interesting
twist in this question. Where, it’s not just the case that just because something is frequently
updated in terms of the pages on your blog or on your site that you automatically, sort
of, should be ranking higher. So I wouldn’t have that interpretation of
freshness. Go back to what Andrei Broder wrote a long time ago in terms of thinking about
the types of searches that people do. He wrote that searches could be navigational. They
could be informational. Or they could be transactional. And that expresses a lot of what people are
looking for. You know, navigational they might search for HP or IBM, looking for the home
page. Informational, they’re looking for how to actually do something, you know. Whether
it’s diagnosing the toilet or setting the default printer in Firefox, whatever. Transactional,
they might be shopping, they might be looking for products. But that’s just a very broad hierarchy. If
you really drill down more, you’ll see that sometimes people are looking for something
that’s fresh-seeking. So if you’re searching for an earthquake, you know. Or some event
that just happened. That would be QDF. That would be a query that deserves freshness. That’s what QDF stands for whenever Amit Singhal
talked about it. But not every query deserves freshness. So if it’s a navigational thing.
If it’s evergreen content. Sometimes people are looking for long form content and doing
more research. Then freshness wouldn’t be counted as that much. So we have over 200 signals that we use. And
the thing that I would not do, the pitfall, the trap that I would not fall into, is saying
“OK, I have to have fresh content. Therefore I’m going to randomly change a few words on
my pages every day. And I’ll change the byline date so that it looks like I have fresh content.” That’s not the sort of thing that’s more likely
to actually lead to higher rankings. And if you’re not in an area about news, if you’re
not in a sort of niche or topic area that really deserves a lot of fresh stuff, then
that’s probably not something you need to worry about at all. It might be better to, like an SEO, it’s not
like, there will always be some SEO events. But there’s some content that’s evergreen,
that lasts and stands the test of time. And it might be better to work on those sort of
articles than just trying to jump onto whatever’s on the top of Techmeme or whatever the story
du jour is. So that’s a little bit of a way to think about
it. I wouldn’t spend so much time thinking about freshness. Just because it’s one of
the over 200 signals. That you sort of miss out on all the other signals. Now, if you’re in a hot breaking, you know,
area where you’re competing with in Gadget, The Verge, you know. If you write about video
games, there’s a lot of like, topical breaking news, then it is good to try to be fresh and
make sure that you have content that’s especially relevant. But it’s not the sort of thing where you need
to worry about, OK, making sure that you’re re-writing your pages or changing words on
your page just so you look fresh. So Google is relatively good about trying to suss out
when it’s more helpful to be fresh, and when it’s just, you know, the sort of regular search
where the web pages that were good yesterday were also good today. Hope that helps.

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