The State of Search: Age Vs. Freshness

One challenge inherent in the search engine game – even for Google itself – is the question of how to properly weigh age versus freshness when it comes to content. We often rail against the stickiness of results that are years old and, in many cases, no longer fully accurate. This exact question strikes at the heart of Google’s algorithm, and its own difficulties in measuring accuracy as a stand-alone component. In a recent Webmaster Hangout, Google’s John Mueller admitted as much when referring to older, outdated webpages: “Maybe people are still referring to them, still linking to them. And maybe they’re kind of misled in linking to them because they don’t realize that actually the web has moved on.”

What does this mean for you?

Mueller’s statement is an explicit admission that as advanced as Google’s algorithm may be, it can still struggle to parse the importance of existing inbound links as an indicator of trust versus the actual accuracy of older content. For us, this is both a frustrating and an encouraging sign; it seems that Google’s search team knows there is work to do when properly valuing older content with legacy links. Our continued work on our clients' behalf is geared towards illuminating the shortcomings of anything negative or irrelevant by strengthening the SEO characteristics of more current content, thus tipping the scales in the desired direction.