Late last week, Pandu Nayak, the Vice President of Search at Google revealed that the company has introduced an update to its algorithms that would keep featured Snippets up-to-date, fresh and relevant in queries that require it.
The update has the aim of making sure that any answers the company gives to questions searched for are not only accurate, but also timely. The company hopes that this latest algorithm update will give the search engine a better understanding of useful and well-timed information.
Google made its announcement via its company blog on August 1st, which states the algorithm gives the company’s systems a better understanding of what kinds of information remains relevant over time and what type of data becomes obsolete more quickly. It also states that the update is particularly useful for Snippets, as the system will now look for the most up-to-date and useful information it can find for queries.
Google gives three examples of search queries that require the content to remain updated and fresh: regularly updated information, current events and information that changes in time. Google’s goal is to remove any information in its Snippets that no longer meet the criteria of being up-to-date, as outdated information is no longer useful.
For regularly updated information, the company gave the example of school holidays in the UK. This example uses calendar-based information. This kind of information focuses on expected changes. Google showed what the Snippets showed before and after the update was implemented. The ‘before’ shot showed dates for the 2018-19 academic year, while the ‘after’ shot showed the upcoming school year.
For information that changes over time, Google gave the example of a television series premiere. This kind of information will need a change over time as it is time-based and will change from a future event into an event that has already taken place.
The final example was for current affairs. This information is time sensitive and is more useful when it is fresh and up-to-date. The example Google uses is news of a listeria recall.
Google also notes that not all information needs a frequent update. Evergreen content, such as fact-based search queries, do not need to be updated often, if at all. While Google appreciates sites that have fresh, relevant information, it also acknowledges that some pages are non-time-sensitive material. In these cases, Google will use the content it believes to answer the query the best.
This update will give content publishers the opportunity to review what content is actually evergreen and the content that may need to be updated. This algorithm change will better reward those that provide the most relevant, useful and up-to-date information.