How Google's freshness update impacts businesses

Google's recently released freshness update claimed to impact between 6 percent and 35 percent of web searches in order to deliver more up-to-date and current web results, Search Engine Watch reports. 

While the company's blog recently posted an addendum that stated the change will noticeably impact just 6 percent to 10 percent of searches, it's still become evident that news and broadcast sites, video portals and brand pages have benefited from the algorithm change.

SearchMetrics recently released a list of sites, ranking their SEO visibility changes from the week prior to Google's announcement on October 30, through November 6 following the update.

Websites with the highest positive percentage change included the site for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Rockhall.com, and other brand sites such as Southwestvacations.com, Scottrade.com and Dominos.com. News sites such as AllthingsD.com and ChristianPost.com saw significant bumps, as did sites with video such as YouTube and MySpace.

The list of losers is less precise, with random entries ranging from CapitalOne.com and AmericanExpress.com to a website about pop sensation Justin Bieber (JustinBieberZone.com) and online dating site Plentyoffish.com.

It's hard to tell whether the "losing" sites were actually affected by the algorithm change, or if outside sources such as negative press impacted their popularity.

However, because Google clearly favors updated news, Search Engine Watch suggests that companies make use of their online newsrooms - or that they create one if they haven't already. It can be used to constantly feed Google fresh content with the frequency that the search engine is now rewarding. The news source suggests posting news through press releases, blog posts, videos, images, white papers and industry news portals to remain relevant on Google's search engine results page.

SEO expert Bruce Clay weighed in on the algorithm change, stating that the quality-over-quantity mantra that many SEO professionals preach may have taken a hit.

"In the freshness race (quality content) seems to be forgotten," he told the news source. "The freshness race appears to give credibility to the site with the most writers."

He added that one-person companies or startups with low staff and no online newsroom may find it difficult to compete with businesses that house a team of writers. The lesser-staffed company may be writing great content, but it may be overshadowed if that content is released too late.  

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