How Google Determining URL Freshness

Existing information search systems utilize search queries to search aggregated data for specific information. Such systems can search local or distributed data.

Search engines return hyperlinks to relevant web pages. Search engines rely on user interest in search phrases (called a search query). The search engine’s purpose is to produce relevant, high-quality results based on the query. Search engines do this by matching search phrases to pre-stored online documents. 

According to this documentation, “freshness” is one of the ranking signals that determine ranking in Google News.

The freshness score (F) is defined in the patent US8515952B2 as:

When a document is found through a document search, its freshness may be based on the freshness properties of the related documents or the times when each link that leads to the document existed.

Freshness indicators include:

  • HTTP last-modified-since.
  • Proportion of “fresh” documents linking to the document.
  • Creation and removal time of links pointing to the document.
How does Google know if a document is fresh?

Understanding Google’s Approach to URL Freshness

Google uses various techniques to determine the freshness of a document. One way is by looking at the publication date of the document, if it is available.

Google may also use other signals, such as the frequency with which a document is updated, and the recency and frequency of changes to the document, to determine its freshness.

Additionally, Google may use feedback from its users, such as clicks on search results and user behavior on the resulting web pages, to infer the freshness of a document. 

If a search result for a particular document receives many clicks, it may indicate that the document is relevant and up-to-date.

On the other hand, if a search result for a document receives few or no clicks, it may indicate that the document is not as relevant or up-to-date as other documents on the same topic.

This information can be used by Google to rank search results and ensure that the most relevant and up-to-date documents are shown at the top of the search results.

If the number of links that currently point to a document is smaller than the number of links that pointed to it at some time in the past, it may indicate that the document is no longer as relevant or useful as it once was.

This could be because the information in the document is outdated, or because other documents on the same topic have superseded it. In either case, a decrease in the number of links pointing to a document may be a sign that the document’s freshness score was reduced.

This allows Google to provide the most relevant and up-to-date information to its users.

By John Morris

Researcher and blog writer. #ML, #AI

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