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Giant, great big caveat: Keep in mind that while multiple Google patent filings describe these techniques — often in great detail — we have how Google uses them in its algorithm.

While we can't be 100% certain, evidence suggests that they use at least some, and possibly many, of these techniques to rank search results.

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(More on this later.) Below are ten ways Google may determine the freshness of your content.

Images courtesy of my favorite graphic designer, Dawn Shepard.

Initially, a web page can be given a “freshness” score based on its inception date, which .

This freshness score may boost a piece of content for certain search queries, but degrades as the content becomes older.

[Estimated read time: 11 minutes] How fresh is this article?

Through patent filings over the years, Google has explored many ways that it might use “freshness” as a ranking signal.

Back in 2011, we published a popular Moz Blog post about these “Freshness Factors” for SEO.

Following our own advice, this is a brand new update of that article.

In 2003, Google engineers filed a patent named Information retrieval based on historical data that shook the SEO world.

The patent not only offered insight into the mind of Google engineers at the time, but also seemingly provided a roadmap for Google’s algorithm for years to come.

In his series on the “10 most important search patents of all time,” Bill Slawski’s excellent writeup shows how this patent spawned an entire family of Google child patents–the latest from October 2011.

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