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Matt Cutts on freshness as ranking factor

  1. aa lite profile image92
    aa liteposted 4 years ago

    Just saw this new youtube video from Matt Cutts, answering a question about how important freshness is in getting ranked.  Bottom line he says (but then he would) that Google is good at figuring out which queries need fresh content, and for those it takes the age of the page into consideration, and evergreen content, where the age doesn't matter.  He specifically discourages people from changing a few words on a page to make it 'fresher'.

    You can see the video here:


  2. Shanna11 profile image92
    Shanna11posted 4 years ago

    That's really good to know-- I tend to go through old articles and do very minor touch-up's and edits, thinking it'll make it fresher. Guess I should stop doing that.

    Thanks for the info!

    1. aa lite profile image92
      aa liteposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Shanna11, I guess if your tweaks do improve your hubs then it is fine, I keep thinking I should go over mine, I'm sure there are typos which should be corrected.

      However the way Squidoo and now HubPages is now treating older hubs, they seriously imply that updating older hubs can boost your rankings.  It seems to me that the video says that it won't, unless you write very specific types of content.  I agree that most of the time a hub can be improved. The question is whether the slight improvements will actually matter to Google and whether time isn't better spent writing new hubs, rather than tweaking good old ones.

      1. rebekahELLE profile image92
        rebekahELLEposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        I don't know how HP determines idling older, evergreen hubs.  None of my evergreen, older hubs have been put to sleep, but they receive traffic, some of them are my best performers.  But if they are being put to sleep because of a 'freshness' factor, this video does state that updates are not necessary.  I think of the many hubbers who have unpublished perfectly fine hubs and moved them elsewhere.

    2. thisisoli profile image72
      thisisoliposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      Minor edits have not had an effect in years, if you want freshness factor on a page there needs to be significant changes.

  3. rebekahELLE profile image92
    rebekahELLEposted 4 years ago

    I think this thread needs a bump.  After listening to the video, it's pretty clear that there is a lot of confusion about the definition of 'fresh' content and frequent 'freshness' updates.  He clearly says that updates are not necessary on evergreen content, that it's counterproductive to go in and change a few words or update the byline for the sake of a 'fresh' content update.

    1. Hollie Thomas profile image61
      Hollie Thomasposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      I also posted that video last night, but I don't think many people got to see it. I think it's more concerning that he describes adding a few words or a new byline as "one of the pitfalls" or maybe I'm just reading too much into it.

      1. aa lite profile image92
        aa liteposted 4 years ago in reply to this

        I can't really imagine minor tweaks hurting a hub.  I guess it can be considered a "pitfall" in that it doesn't do any good and it wastes time that could be better spent writing new content.  At least that's how I read it.

        But definitely seems to contradict the idea that you have to keep tweaking content to get it to rank.  Which makes sense.

  4. WriteAngled profile image92
    WriteAngledposted 4 years ago

    That makes for a nice vicious circle!

    A perfectly good hub is idled by HP for having few views and is thus removed from search engine listings.

    The hapless author makes a few tweaks to remove the idle status.

    The hub is picked up once more by Google and slapped for having pointless tweaks.

    As a result the hub gets no views.

    A perfectly good hub is idled by HP for having few views and is thus removed from search engine listings.

    And it all starts again. Heigh ho.

    1. wilderness profile image96
      wildernessposted 4 years ago in reply to this

      WA, I don't see it that way.  I've only had a couple of hubs idled (although I expect more) and they were both getting 0-5 views per month.

      Now, go huge and say you have a CPM of $10.00.  Idling 1 hub will cost you a nickel per month.  If you have 50 hubs idled you lose a couple of dollars, but I would hope in that case you have another 500 hubs to make up the difference.

      If HP is right and idling non-productive hubs help the rest then that lost nickel will be returned 10 fold.  If not, you've lost a nickel.

      The answer, then, is not to make a few little tweaks; it is to make a major change in an idled hub.  Change title, keywords.  Add a capsule or two.  Do what you can to make it productive rather than simply returning it to the index to once more get 5 views per month.

      Do that 2 or three times to a particular hub and if it doesn't work, get rid of it!  Or leave it idled for hubbers, family or whatever to read - it is still accessible by direct URL.  Either way you have removed something that may be hurting you and it has cost virtually nothing.

  5. Nesbyte profile image86
    Nesbyteposted 4 years ago

    @WriteAngled I think the idea isn't so much that pointless tweaking is penalised, so much as it's just that: pointless. I understand were you're coming from though regarding Hubpages. They'd have us constantly tweaking old content yet that has no effect on search rankings. There really isn't much to be said for the idle hubs feature is there?

  6. livewithrichard profile image85
    livewithrichardposted 4 years ago

    This video points out in good detail what Google considers Freshness... events, breaking news, etc..

    However, HP has already put the wheels in motion on our idled hubs... we know that there are a few days between each crawl from Google so if you catch the idle before the crawl and tweak, then any tweak you make will bring it out of idle and Google will count these slight changes as they do all dynamic pages... remember that if your hub gets comments then a change is being added to it.

    I would think that if you let the hub go idle then wait until it looses it's index from Google before making any changes (about a week.)  Then you have the time to make decent changes that can benefit you.  Low traffic hubs should be an indicator that serious changes need to be made in order for searchers outside of Hubpages to find it.

    Now, many of us have seasonal types of hubs that are sent into idle and this video makes it clear that we are definitely loosing value by allowing this.  These cannot become evergreen if they loose index when the holiday or season passes.

  7. 2uesday profile image87
    2uesdayposted 4 years ago

    I think basically what he is saying is only worry about freshness if it is relevant to your type of content. That updating is only necessary for certain types of content.

    He lists four types of search and not all types require freshness updates.