Over the last couple of years, around the same time that Twitter was launched, most of the major search engines have started to introduce the idea of ‘real-time’ results and include a ‘freshness’ factor to the results returned for some of the queries that are performed on their search engines.

This new criteria has had dramatic implications for website owners, as it means that they need to constantly update their content in order to appear for some searches, but it also means a great opportunity for those webmasters that do keep their content updated regularly.

In the past Google and the other major search engines always concentrated their results on well respected sites that were old enough and well established enough to have attracted a lot of links. The search engines have, and probably always will, favour the older content in order to keep the quality of the results as high as possible but recent changes mean that more and more newly created content is appearing high up on the SERP’s for particular searches.

Back in 2007 it was reported that Google and the other major search engines were tweaking their algorithms to become more relevant and ‘fresh’ and also to determine when a user wants to see new information and when they don’t. Google called this initiative ‘Query Deserves Freshness’ or QDF.

This solution works by determining whether or not a topic is ‘hot’ and this is distinguished by looking to see who is writing about the subject online ad also how many people are searching for it. If blogger’s and news sites are all covering a particular story then Google sees that as a new and ‘hot’ topic that searchers would want to see fresh and up to date content on.

To reiterate this concept of ‘freshness’, Google has recently introduced it’s ‘Search Options’, which gives users the option to filter out certain results and only see content that is only a particular number of days old, ie. 1 day, 1 week, 1 year.

This new feature could have a dramatic affect on retailers and other merchants, as they will need to reconsider the way in which they optimise their web pages and ensure that they categorize their content correctly in order to not lose out on traffic for the filtered searches.

The best way to optimise pages is to update content on a daily basis or if this is not a feasible option then to keep a blog that is linked to the ecommerce site updated regularly and hope that the content will be indexed quickly and that it will appear on the SERPs that have been filtered to the recent time periods.

Other websites can also take advantage of this new technology by constantly updating their content and writing articles and blog posts about current topics that lots of people are talking about and want to read about and this could easily increase traffic to a site.