What is the It factor?no_redirect=1

Okay take a deep breath. I am going to contradict the popular answer here.

Let's make one thing clear. Conceptually I will replace page age with content age. While it seems synonymous, one is more technically correct.

Is page age a ranking factor?

No. Not at all.

Are there factors that allow an older page to perform? Quite possibly, depending upon many other important factors. Older content relies upon many factors to perform and not age. Age does not enter the equation. However newer content can short circuit this fact.

Google has two rules. One of which is, What does a metric say about content quality, popularity, etc? A pages age says nothing about content. I used in my comments an example of really lousy content. Should it "rank" better because the lousy content is old? Of course not.

So where do people get confused?

The term rank is often confused. Rank is a resulting metric or sets of metrics based upon more than one factor or metric. Page age is a metric that can be collected, and it certainly is by way of the inception date, however, one metric in of itself is not rank nor can it be. It is a metric. This metric can be used as a factor to be considered where it makes sense to. So is it?

Search queries go through several steps. The first is very basic where all content that appears to match the search query is returned. There are actually several queries to the database that are returned into a blended result set. I have mentioned the headline read order before, this is where it lives. A relatively basic algorithm is applied in returning the result set. More detailed applications of the overall algorithm are applied after the result set is returned using filters.

Those who are familiar with SQL will understand "order by". When you do a query to a database, the query matches the intent of the query then optionally can be ordered by metrics or data within the query. The same is done in search queries. For example, the query against a search engine database must match the search query to the content first then followed by "order by" PageRank. While this a simple example, it does illustrate how search matches content first then basic ranking factors second. Keep this in mind.

There are no factors and metrics that get in the way of the search query matching relevant content even when rank is poor. The mechanism is that the content is returned in a result set that is ordered by all the ranking factors that govern content and sites the primary of which is PageRank. It can also include the sites Trust score, the sites authority on the topic, etc. Once the result set is returned, it is passed through filters that narrow down the result set that either removes content or orders the content differently. The exception here is that "limit" is used within the initial query. Since the web is so vast, it makes sense to limit the size of the result set from the search query. The good news is, this is a reasonably large number that allows for a result set that is sure to capture enough results so that once all of the filters are applied, the SERPs are still quite vast.

Older is not considered as much as new.

Logically speaking, "new" is considered over "old". What do I mean by that? We know that the first result set is returned with all content that seems to match the query. It passes through a series of filters that modify the result set to further match the search intent. What can we determine about the search intent? For example, is there anything in the search query that indicates we want older content? No. While it is possible to signal that you want historical information, search queries can not indicate that you want older content. For example, is a historical topic, however, the search query itself does not indicate a desire for older content. Can you think of a search query that says, I want older content? No. But can you think of a search query that says, I want newer content? Yes. I will get to that. I promise.

Search intent could be for trend content such as news, time relevant content such as product specifications, historical content, research content, etc. The search query will be analyzed for each of these intent. Each of the categories will either benefit from newer content or any content. But no consideration is for older content except for what would be normal ranking factors.

I will use Trend searches as my examples.

For example, you are curious about the recent earthquake in Oaxaca, Mexico. This is a news item that happened yesterday. While there have been other earthquakes in Oaxaca, Mexico, the assumption is that you are interested in the most recent earthquake when the search query does not specify specific a clear intent. I used the search which does not indicate a time period whereas does. The first query returns primarily news related results whereas the second only returns a few news related results along with historical content. Remember my promise to address a query for newer content? A search for indicates a clear intent for recent content.

What is happening here? Trend searches are not always clear. The new hip hop artists first release hits the charts and skyrockets to the top. Just a search of the name is enough to indicate a trend search you would think. Here, because the artist has only been out for a few months, any content regarding the artist will be relatively new. But what if his name was Byron Benson King? He goes by B.B. Then what? Getting my drift? Search trend data, trusted news sources, SERP performance data, secondary searches, etc. all contribute to skewing trend searches and not factors of the page itself other than the content and general ranking factors that may be lacking for newer content. All of this data together will distinguish the trend for the new artist versus the older King of blues. None of this is a product of any factor of the page other than the content itself, but factors related to search trends.

Now suppose there is no new hip hop artist. A search for B.B. King will return any page written regardless of content age on the subject assuming that rank, authority, expertise, semantics, etc. indicate that the page is worthwhile. Here, the factors are not filtered by trend data but factors some of which can grow over time. This would include links, SERP performance, etc. where indicators could weigh an older page over a newer page. But not always. Consider older content that sucks and simply does not perform well. Should it "rank" higher simply because it is older? No. In fact, there is no consideration for age at all in this case. Only metrics that come with age. Now consider there is a new book on B.B. King that is getting a lot of attention. The author has a web site with fantastic content that has many social media indicators that has brought attention to the new page. Add to this the articles and reviews of the book that are written. Here again, trends skew the results from all to new.

What am I saying?

Content age is not a factor except where a search query potentially indicates a desire for newer content. Not older content. Factors will allow a newer page to perform better than an older page in trend searches. Short of trend searches, news falls into this category, the search results depend upon factors of which content age is not one of them. Have I been clear on this?

answered Feb 17 '18 at 17:25


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