Google Freshness Update – Many winners, few losers

November 6th, 2011 | Analysis 61 comments

Yesterday Amit Singhal (http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2011/11/giving-you-fresher-more-recent-search.html) from Google confirmed a new bigger Google Index update. The impact on all the searches is approximately 35%, which is as measured by the number of searches every day really a lot. As opposed to the Panda update it has an impact of nearly the double amount of searches!

You can imagine how my heart beat was after I heard this news. Before there was no “name” for the update I thought about a cool name like “black widow update” or something similar because I assumed a hugh impact in the Serps.

In the description from Amit and in some articles like on Techcrunch http://techcrunch.com/2011/11/03/googles-new-algorithm-update-impacts-35-of-searches/ you’ll find more details. Google wants to supply the information need as the user want to have fresh content on a specific query or not. If you’re looking for event related content then you expect freshness and no content from old events e.g. if you’re looking for “olympics”. Then you get results for London 2012. On strong news related searches Google invented the QDF feature lots of years ago which also shows fresh articles especially newspaper content. But to analyze to type of the query and giving the user more fresh content is the right way to improve the quality of the Serps.

There is an impact on 1/3rd of all queries

If you think about the 35% again, then it means that one third of every query is related to fresh content. For webmasters with less new/fresh content it could be difficult to rank high because if the most of the queries you ranked in the past where outranked by fresh content (where linkpop should be  nonrelevant) you have to think about creating new content. The optimization of tag pages or static pages will be affected by this new update.

To get a better overview about the impact of the update in the google.com index I analyzed our current results we computed right after the update. Our metric for that is the SEO Visibility. It is a metrics based on the search volume of a keyword, the type (informational, navigational or transactional search) and the rank of a URL. The database is the biggest SEO database in the world and you can also check the results by yourself in our Searchmetrics Essentials software. There is also a free demo account after a 3min registration. ;)

Many winners, a few losers

Usually I post after those big updates at first the losers and then the winners. The reason is that there is mostly a correlation identifiable, like after the several Panda updates. This time I post the winners first. Because after this update I found NO type of losers but a lot winners which have lots of similarities. And this is also the correlation for this update. Google prefers sites like news sites, broadcast sites, video portals and a lot Brand sites. This is also a type of sites which have regularly fresh content and a big brand with higher CTRs.

In the list of winners you see many news, broadcasting and brand sites:

Domain SEO Visibility 11/06/2011 SEO Visibility 10/30/2011 Percent
Brand last.fm 1.386.908 1.232.115 12,56
Brand overstock.com 814.747 774.752 5,16
Brand lonelyplanet.com 412.446 377.565 9,24
Brand rockhall.com 62.610 36.387 72,07
Brand marthastewart.com 170.392 147.258 15,71
Brand wikiquote.org 315.054 292.471 7,72
Brand dominos.com 86.572 65.370 32,43
Brand papajohns.com 101.561 81.411 24,75
Brand squidoo.com 406.930 386.806 5,20
Brand soundcloud.com 229.032 211.331 8,38
Brand playstation.com 176.529 159.381 10,76
Brand comcast.com 187.415 170.841 9,70
Brand hotels.com 210.944 195.153 8,09
Brand vzw.com 54.978 40.428 35,99
Brand guitarcenter.com 103.490 89.295 15,90
Brand cox.com 91.860 80.679 13,86
Brand buy.com 163.761 152.926 7,09
Brand citibank.com 120.652 109.880 9,80
Brand scottrade.com 32.891 22.257 47,78
Brand aim.com 77.448 67.757 14,30
Brand southwestvacations.com 27.985 18.632 50,20
Brand boostmobile.com 39.996 31.092 28,64
Brand hawaiianair.com 35.970 27.076 32,85
Brand nationalcar.com 26.454 17.583 50,45
Brand skype.com 97.380 89.053 9,35
Brand garmin.com 71.229 62.918 13,21
Brand sonypictures.com 154.248 146.029 5,63
Brand opera.com 50.612 42.483 19,13
Brand napster.com 31.720 23.632 34,22
Celebrity news perezhilton.com 643.042 552.660 16,35
Celebrity news thehollywoodgossip.com 166.931 138.466 20,56
Celebrity news hollywoodreporter.com 219.287 201.657 8,74
Celebrity news hellomagazine.com 34.035 22.250 52,97
Celebrity news actressarchives.com 57.257 48.790 17,35
Government ny.gov 144.173 102.536 40,61
Government bls.gov 251.541 223.890 12,35
News huffingtonpost.com 1.895.562 1.782.006 6,37
News dailymail.co.uk 617.552 587.989 5,03
News allthingsd.com 63.558 42.620 49,13
News businessinsider.com 225.582 207.656 8,63
News nj.com 210.528 197.621 6,53
News rr.com 141.118 128.880 9,50
News medicalnewstoday.com 136.022 125.037 8,79
News christianpost.com 49.681 38.864 27,83
News salon.com 107.948 97.666 10,53
Tech news engadget.com 515.212 472.053 9,14
Tech news techcrunch.com 294.944 268.400 9,89
TV tvguide.com 697.920 663.713 5,15
TV aoltv.com 275.456 245.542 12,18
TV zap2it.com 301.686 282.817 6,67
TV buddytv.com 224.144 205.470 9,09
University pitt.edu 96.172 81.635 17,81
Video youtube.com 6.942.619 5.464.798 27,04
Video myspace.com 2.982.113 2.587.181 15,26
Video metacafe.com 367.335 338.992 8,36
Video break.com 211.243 189.391 11,54
Video funnyordie.com 189.309 169.583 11,63
Other familydoctor.org 150.551 122.338 23,06
Other rhapsody.com 128.108 107.650 19,00
Other examiner.com 97.413 80.017 21,74
Other theblackfriday.com 83.978 66.991 25,36
Other allthelyrics.com 48.348 32.342 49,49
Other ratemyprofessors.com 120.409 106.064 13,52
Other cheapoair.com 104.694 93.718 11,71
Other applebees.com 49.469 39.221 26,13
Other heavy.com 38.192 28.776 32,72
Other stars21.com 33.680 24.624 36,78
Other java-gaming.com 27.975 19.152 46,07
Other scribd.com 55.354 46.804 18,27

And here the list of loser. There is no one special group of losers like after all the Panda update.

Domain SEO Visibility 11/06/2011 SEO Visibility 10/30/2011 Percent
comcast.net 283.036 367.672 -23,02
state.ny.us 151.322 204.599 -26,04
univision.com 65.720 117.392 -44,02
usmagazine.com 210.329 254.976 -17,51
newseum.org 58.367 95.132 -38,65
the570.com 23.214 50.775 -54,28
americanexpress.com 109.808 132.096 -16,87
lyricspick.com 29.360 49.287 -40,43
capitalone.com 95.609 112.678 -15,15
peoplestylewatch.com 48.143 63.439 -24,11
realtor.org 30.849 44.230 -30,25
jezebel.com 63.698 76.736 -16,99
plentyoffish.com 30.987 43.898 -29,41
radioshack.com 41.279 54.039 -23,61
gizmag.com 41.630 54.231 -23,24
anandtech.com 37.963 50.435 -24,73
independent.co.uk 55.691 67.858 -17,93
cpsc.gov 62.175 73.974 -15,95
nj.gov 66.367 78.117 -15,042
stylelist.com 15.038 26.766 -43,817
justinbieberzone.com 23.903 35.292 -32,271
shoplocal.com 42.522 53.484 -20,496
hamstersoft.com 17.740 28.616 -38,007
bncollege.com 42.925 53.543 -19,831
mbnanetaccess.com 52.320 62.795 -16,681
blogger.com 40.172 50.426 -20,335
netscape.com 42.035 52.276 -19,59

So in the end, the update affected really a lot keywords. But it’s different to Panda and the right step for Google to satisfy the need of the user for the best search results.

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Who’s writing this stuff? My name is Marcus Tober and I’m the founder of Searchmetrics. Because we really love to analyze every kind of online data, we can give you more insights than any other company in SEO, SEM and Social Media. It’s not a job, it’s passion. You can find me also on Google+ .
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Comments (10)

Comments (61)

  1. 2011/11/06

    Interesting news, I think it is a good update, but we will se

    Many regards from Denmark

  2. joe
    2011/11/07

    it would be interesting to see this data matched to the panda data and see if any panda hit sites saw a benefit here (squidoo jumps out a bit).

  3. 2011/11/08

    Marcus,

    I tend to analyze search as a zero sum game which is why I was surprised that you can’t seem to find a proportional amount of losers to explain the gains by winners. Do you think that smaller, less frequently updated sites are going to bear the brunt of losses from the new update?

    Will

  4. 2011/11/08

    Hi Will,
    there are losers, but no losers like after Panda. Looks like that Google pushed some news and brand sites and some sites with more static content lost. This is a really interesting update because this is what the users wants. I keep you updated if there are more updates and more losers.

    Cheers
    Marcus

  5. 2011/11/10

    Good Day Marcus – I am delighted to find such a thought-provoking post and to learn about Searchmetrics. However, I take issue with the focus on keywords with regard to Google’s most recent update. From the beginning, I have seen Google’s Panda update as a shift from keyword focus to one of user experience that relies more on content combined with behavioral factors. I believe that you cannot optimize for keywords any longer. So, sites that have fallen in position for certain queries were likely not that relevant to the query in the first place. Interesting in my client engagements is that the keywords they “optimized for” are rarely the ones that are bringing a significant number of visitors from search engine referrals.

    Google is finalizing the “new world order” of relevance and our methods must change also.

  6. 2012/06/25

    Hi Marcus

    It would be interesting to see how things have evolved since you wrote this article. Have you made another update? Sometimes the loosers in time actually will get a net positive effect.

    Many regards
    Helle

  7. Bo
    2012/06/26

    Wow nice work! Thank you for sharing it with us – it must have taken you hours to gather all the information.
    As the post above says – it could be interesting to see if there have been any further news now.

    Regards
    Bo

  8. 2012/07/15

    Hallo Marcus

    Interesting, Google has to much power, but interesting artikel, good work :-)

    Many regards

  9. 2012/08/01

    excellent site, very good information. Greetings.

  10. 2012/08/25

    Very good and usefull information, thank you Marcus and have a nice day

Trackbacks (51)

Comments (61)

  1. 2011/11/07

    […] full list is also available on the Searchmetrics blog, where you can click through on the individual URLs to see the changes in more detail. […]

  2. 2011/11/07

    […] full list is also available on the Searchmetrics blog, where you can click through on the individual URLs to see the changes in more detail. […]

  3. 2011/11/07

    […] full list is also available on the Searchmetrics blog, where you can click through on the individual URLs to see the changes in more detail. […]

  4. 2011/11/07

    […] And now, some four days after the announcement, we’re beginning to see some winners and losers. Searchmetrics used its in-house SEO database to determine the early findings. “Our metric for that is the SEO […]

  5. 2011/11/07

    […] full list is also available on the Searchmetrics blog, where you can click through on the individual URLs to see the changes in more detail. […]

  6. 2011/11/07

    […] full list is also available on the Searchmetrics blog, where you can click through on the individual URLs to see the changes in more detail. […]

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    […] full list is also available on the Searchmetrics blog, where you can click through on the individual URLs to see the changes in more detail. […]

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    […] Searchmetrics divulgou uma lista com os sites que foram beneficiados com a atualização, e outra com os sites analisados […]

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    […] According to SearchMetrics, Realtor.org was negatively impacted by the recent change. The SEO visibility ranking shows that Realtor.org was down 32.5% since the Google update. No […]

  10. 2011/11/07

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  11. 2011/11/07

    […] full list is also available on the Searchmetrics blog, where you can click through on the individual URLs to see the changes in more detail. […]

  12. 2011/11/08

    […] This big search algorithm change happened just last week. Since then, according to Google, 35% of all searches. That’s a lot! 1 in 3! Ultimately, when the algorithmic dust had cleared, the outcome proved to have three clear winners: news, broadcasting, and brand sites. […]

  13. 2011/11/08

    […] visibility resulting from various iterations of Google’s Panda update, has released a list of top winners and losers from this “freshness” update. Interestingly, both lists include plenty of big […]

  14. 2011/11/08

    […] In pratica Singhal ci dice che il 65% dei contenuti non verrà influenzato dal Freshness Update. Ma chi lavora nell’ambito del restante 35%, qualche sudore freddo lo ha di sicuro. […]

  15. 2011/11/08

    […] SearchMetrics, which has provided data about glee winners and losers of search visibility resulting from various iterations of Google’s Panda update, has released a list of top winners and losers from this “freshness” update. […]

  16. 2011/11/08

    […] findings come from SearchMetrics, the same company that has fairly accurately estimated Panda-related winners and losers several […]

  17. 2011/11/08

    […] full list is also available on the Searchmetrics blog, where you can click through on the individual URLs to see the changes in more detail. […]

  18. 2011/11/08

    […] SearchMetrics,  which includes  supplied  information  concerning the  those who win  as well as  nonwinners  associated with search  awareness  caused by  numerous iterations of Googles Panda  up-date,  offers  introduced  a summary of  best  winning trades  and also  nonwinners  using this freshness  replace. […]

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    […] Journal – November 2011 News Roundup Phil Wolff 1 November 2011 8:29 am A November  2011 “freshness update” to Google search result ranking favors Skype.com, improving its SEO visibility 9.35% from […]

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  24. 2011/11/08

    […] findings come from SearchMetrics, the same company that has fairly accurately estimated Panda-related winners and losers several […]

  25. 2011/11/08

    […] Unlike the Google Panda updates whose results showed a decided commonality among losing sites, the freshness algorithm’s noteworthy commonality occurs among the winners. While Google shows a clear preference for news and video sites, there are many brand sites like MarthaStewart.com and Dominos.com that have benefited from the change. What may be most interesting is the presence of Google’s own Blogger.com on the list of losers. Searchmetrics compiled a list of winners and losers using their extensive in-house SEO software; the entire list can be found here. […]

  26. 2011/11/08

    […] Para ver la lista completa de los sitios que fueron afectados, visita el post en Searchmetrics. […]

  27. 2011/11/08

    […] timely search results — which Google figured would impact about 35% of all searches – Searchmetrics has analyzed the big winners and losers (in terms of visibility) since the changeover. Winners, […]

  28. 2011/11/09

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    […] published some research yesterday showing the winners and losers of the Google Freshness update but in my opinion the issue is a bit more complicated than […]

  34. 2011/11/11

    […] published a Google Freshness Update Top Winners and Losers chart, and as a result I have been asked my many UK agencies this week on […]

  35. 2011/11/14

    […] O Searchmetrics divulgou uma lista com os sites que foram beneficiados com a atualização, e outra com os sites analisados que perderam tráfego. O que surpreendeu foi que, a lista dos sites que perderam tráfego apresentou domínios de várias categorias como blogs, sites de marcas, e contou até mesmo com o site da Google, o Blogger, que perdeu cerca de 20% do tráfego. […]

  36. 2011/11/15

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  37. 2011/11/15

    […] got out some kerosene and threw it on the update with its “winners and losers” data. The most interesting thing in that list for regular folks like us is the Blogger.com drop in […]

  38. 2011/11/16

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  43. 2011/11/29

    […] to analysis by Marcus Tober of Searchmetrics, the key “winners” resulting from Google Freshness (i.e. those with a significantly […]

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  46. 2011/12/13

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  47. 2011/12/15

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    […] can read more about the update through the awesome analysis over at SearchMetrics. Image Credit: erwlas over on […]

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  50. 2013/01/23

    […] you to determine the percentage of similarity between two pages; Speedtester This tool …Google Freshness Update – Searchmetrics SEO Blog – Our metric for that is the SEO Visibility. It is a metrics based on the search volume of a […]

  51. 2014/01/22

    […] more on the “freshness” of content rather than on past updates. And based on an analysis from Searchmetrics, which has accurately projected the effects of past Google algorithm updates, the focus on […]

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