November 10, 2011
As a lot of you will know the big Buzz (pun intended) in the Google world is about this Google Freshness update or the “mint” update. Now this won’t affect all of you, but a lot of Webmasters in the sports, coupon and tech industries must be having kittens right about now, that highly authoritative page they had could be rendered useless simply by its age which may have previously been of benefit.
Whilst a lot of this article is subject to testing and is currently purely speculative, we have come up with some ideas as to what Google will be looking at to evaluate a page’s freshness and the worrying fact is that a lot of these things seem very easily cheatable.
1. When was your page indexed – this could be the first time that the page was crawled or when it first appeared in the SERPs, this would stand to reason as it would be the most difficult to game.
2. Link Boom – You know how it is actually natural for a new piece of content to get a lot of links coming in when it’s new and this to peter off as it gets older and less relevant.
3. The Site Itself – Do you have a news site which is regularly updated? Well then Google could give your new posts some extra clout, even more so than it had been already.
4. Social Noise – Generally speaking massive amounts of social noise should come from something new, you could even use sites like topsy.com to monitor and see if you are moving in the right direction. Whilst this might not be wholly effective, it could give you some indication.
5. In content data – This seems to be the thing that a lot of SEOs haven’t been talking about and yet it seems like an obvious algorithmic step. See if you’re talking about a football match (soccer to Americans) and you have the date in content as being next week surely that would be a much easier way for Google to tell if it is next week’s preview or last week’s review that you’re talking about than trawling through the wording. It has to be aware that it might not catch a page the day it goes live and that by the time it has done this the page could be irrelevant.
Obviously I’m not going to sit here and tell you how to abuse this, currently that is in testing, but you can easily see how you could update your site around this. When it comes to which of the above factors I think will have the most impact in Google fresh, I would like to think it will be a mixture of everything. If you’re doing SEO right in the first place you should be updating your site regularly with new information, creating social noise and getting your link building right so this shouldn’t be much of an issue. However if you’ve been coasting on that high authority gold mine for too long you could be in for a nasty surprise.
As to which of these potential methods work we’ll get back to you on which work the best after some further study.
But for some ideas on how to make yours more “mint” friendly then you should look into the following:
• Add a customer reviews section
• Properly moderate comments
• Add a forum (it’s a lot of work to moderate, but it self-managing once you have a strong community and self-updating)
• Add a Q&A section
• Keep an eye on the news and get the drop with relevant topics
• Work on your social media accounts