Google’s Freshness Algorithm in Action

Filed in Google, SEO by Matt McGee on May 11, 2012 3 Comments

google-logo-100Real quick post here (I hope) about fresh content in Google’s search results.


Google has been emphasizing fresh content in its search results for some time now. That link goes back to November 2011, and when I write on Search Engine Land about Google’s monthly search quality changes, they often include something about fresh content.

Today’s Article & Google Freshness

About four hours ago, I published a post on this blog with this headline: The Fallacy of Timing Blog Posts & Social Media Updates.

Note, too, that I wrote a different title tag for that article: There’s No Best Time to Publish Blog Posts & Social Updates. I was specifically targeting the search phrase, “best time to publish blog posts.”

The article has received a fair amount of visibility on Twitter with a variety of tweets and retweets, as well as on facebook and Google+.

Fresh Results in Action

Have a look at Google’s current search results for that phrase: (click for larger version)


As you can see, my post already ranks No. 3 on that phrase — this is despite only having one inbound link that I know of (from But it does have social sharing and freshness in its favor.

Right below my post is a Google+ post from AJ Kohn, which probably has zero inbound links (outside of to go along with a few +1s and comments. But it’s fresh (and it comes from a trusted Google+ user).

Now … I would assume that these search results will eventually look different. When? Could be a couple hours, could be a couple days … who knows. With all of the more established content on the web about “best time to publish blog posts,” this fresh content will eventually settle further down in the search results.

But for now, with Google’s emphasis on fresh content (plus social/author popularity), it’s interesting to see how quickly a piece of content can get page one visibility, isn’t it?

Comments (3)

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  1. @Matt — I see that you are logged into Google, as such I suspect that you are likely seeing personalized results. What do the results look like for you when not logged in?

  2. Phil Rozek says:

    Great stuff, Matt – thanks for posting. I don’t recall the last time I got such a good up-close-and-personal look at what “fresh” actually means these days.

    I can certainly some of the possibilities for legit writers of great content, and I know trust signals (like # of people in Circles) must play a huge role, but I can’t help but think that this kind of freshness might breathe new life into the old SEO over-promise of “Page-one results in X days!” Not that quick crawling on Google’s part or a lot of weight given to social signals is a BAD thing; it just seems as though there’s probably another shoe to fall. (I know you weren’t saying this is a good thing or a bad thing, but rather just that it exists.)

    I actually just typed “best time to publish blog posts” into Google while NOT signed into my Google account, and I saw the exact same thing Matt saw (his post is at #3). So it appears not to have anything to do with personalized results: just a fast organic ranking.

  3. mark says:

    Thanks for all of the great local search information for small business! Your articles are very informative. Some Google Place search results have 5 gold stars, others do not. Is there a way to add the 5 Gold Stars to the Google Place listing? Does that require a snippet of html code to be added to the company website? Thank you!

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