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Thursday 24 April 2003

Are Google results affected by "freshness"?

So, Saturday night I make a post about a site that has a library of the monthly centrefold from a well known girlie mag. By Wednesday morning, I'm Google's search result number 3 for the phrase "p l a y m a t e o f t h e m o n t h" and for "p l a y m a t e a p r i l 2 0 0 3". (Spaced to avoid further hits from search engines). Beaten only by the mag itself and some private site full of scanned in pictures from someone's collection.

The hits I received from these search terms increased my traffic by over 400%.

This morning, just 24 hours later, I'm nowhere to be seen in the results for either of the 2 search terms.

This would suggest several possible scenarios:
1) Google rewards fresh content by promoting it up the results.
2) Google is in the middle of the Google Dance.
3) Google is just particularly effed up at the moment.

Of these, option 2 is the most likely, except that the last Google Dance finished a week ago and another is not due for weeks.

So that really only leaves option 1. A move like this would be a strange one for Google. It would be likely to have the effect of filling the first pages of any search results with weblogs as these are the most frequently updated website. Many non-bloggers are already complaining about search results being choked with hits from blogs.

If you understand weblogs this could improve your chances of finding what you're looking for. You'd go not straight from Google itself but via the weblog entry it refers you to. The Google results are likely to point you to a blog by someone who found what you were looking for and mentioned it in a weblog entry, which may have a link to the site you want.

If you don't understand weblogs then it could be frustrating. Page upon page of search results that aren't the site you're looking for. If this is you then you'd be looking for Google to penalise frequently updated content. Static content must be good content.

Personally, I do tend to think that weblogs dilute (or worse, pollute) search results. Most of the important stuff I look for on the web is static content and it's getting harder to find it amongst the thousands of personal sites which, whilst of value to their owners and friends, are of no use to me.

April 24, 2003 9:32 AM | Weblogging

2 Comments

Hi Aardvark

I agree that freshness might have something to do with Google ranking. When I see a search term that might take off in numbers I try to write a second, even third piece on that subject every 2-3 days.

As for successful search terms. From my own blogging experience I find that a memorable even quirky 3 word combination is worth writing about to attract higher search rankings. For example: "Golden Bonio Award" attracted quite a few search engine requests to my blog.

Other individual words: sex, nude, ...etc attract a lot of people but you're unlikely to get on Page 1 og Google or even stay there.

I must admit that I've never really tried to include searchable phrases in my weblog (although the old blogspot site did and still does get a large number of hits from search terms referring to goldfish).

I've always mentally discounted hits from Google as I don't believe that many visitors will read much of the site content once they realise that this doesn't contain the information they're looking for.

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