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Search Engine Ranking Factor – Recency

14 January, 2008 (15:22) | Search Engines | By: Nick Dalton

In previous posts I’ve talked about different types of ranking factors: on-page, URL and off-page (links). There are of course hundreds of variables in the major search engines’ ranking algorithms, but these three big buckets are helpful for categorizing them.

But there is one other major type of ranking factor that doesn’t fit neatly into these three categories: time, or how recently the web page was updated. Google, especially, is obsessed with indexing and returning search results from new web pages. From a user’s perspective this makes sense since you often want read the very latest information on a subject.

However this poses a problem for Google since new web pages do not have any links pointing back to them, and therefore their traditional Page Rank algorithm would never rank new pages very high. So it appears that Google is giving new web pages the benefit of the doubt for a short period of time. Yaro has dubbed this the Google Honeymoon Period. After this period of time, your web page will slide back in ranking to it’s position based on the other ranking factors.

Here are four steps to take advantage of the recency ranking factor:

  1. Get a blog. There is no better way to continuously publish new content and alert the search engines to it.
  2. Publish new blog posts as often as you can manage.
  3. Make sure your blog pings Google Blog Search. Add http://blogsearch.google.com/ping/RPC2 to the list of Update Services in WordPress Options > Writing.
  4. If you’re trying to rank for a specific keyword phrase, then use that often in your blog posts. If each post gets its honeymoon period you will constantly have one page ranking well for that phrase. Over time the search engines will recognize that this is a topic that you frequently write about and therefore you’re probably an authority on it.

I attribute most of my recent page two Google ranking for “internet business” to on-page ranking factors. The home page RaSof score for “internet business” was at the time 1,274 (very high). It has since declined somewhat due to recent posts not mentioning “internet business” as frequently. I’ve currently slipped to page three, so there is more than likely a bit of the recency ranking factor at play too.

Have you enjoyed the Google Honeymoon for your web site? How long did it last?

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