Query Deserves Freshness, or QDF, is not a new concept but is one that has been often misused or misinterpreted in planning SEO campaigns, especially when it comes down to content.
The name itself is fairly self-explanatory and in a literal interpretation, fresher content will take priority over older content within search results. To game this tactic we do things like adding a blog module to our pages and planning time-sensitive content that we believe will be of interest to our users.
It’s also important to note that QDF doesn’t apply to all queries or query types.
“Google Likes Fresh Content”
This is a phrase banded about a lot in SEO, so it’s important that we look and analyze exactly what Google has had to say about QDF and freshness in general over the years.
The first noted mention of QDF comes from a 2007 New York Times article, and includes an interview (of sorts) with Amit Singhal, a former head of Google’s search team, and former company Senior Vice President.
Key takeaways and quotes from the article, in understanding the intention of QDF include:
THE QDF solution revolves around determining whether a topic is “hot.” If news sites or blog posts are actively writing about a topic, the model figures that it is one for which users are more likely to want current information.
Although Google already has a different system for including headlines on some search pages, QDF offered more sophisticated results, putting the headlines at the top of the page for some queries, and putting them in the middle or at the bottom for others.
The next record we have of Google talking about QDF in a meaningful and purposeful manner comes from the Webmaster Videos series that Matt Cutts presented way back when:
The Role Of Fresh Content In SEO
As Matt explains in the video, QDF doesn’t apply to all query types an only tries to serve the wider mission of returning relevant content and results to satisfy the user intent.
Typically for transactional content and queries, this isn’t always a concern – however, it is always worth noting that the primary intent behind queries can change in line with real-world events. A prime example of this in action is the search phrases [ddos] and [ddos protection].
When the Dyn cyberattack happened in 2016 and a large portion of the internet went down, even the Whitehouse was making public statements about what a DDoS attack was and how it was affecting services, DDoS became a phrase being searched for by everyone and not just infosec or “tech” people. As a result, Google had to revise page one of the search results and to rank prominently for that phrase – which lost its commercial intent – you had to create and become an authority on the topic that even a layman could understand.