Google favours fresh content

Granted, it’s all a bit geeky, but New Year’s Day gave an interesting insight into the workings of Google’s search ranking algorithm.

As the Google Operating System blog explains, when Google started indexing new pages ultra-rapidly (ie within minutes) last year, it created a rod for its own back. A key component in their calculation is ‘how many people link to this page?’ – but how can anyone be expected to link to a page that’s just been created? Their conclusion, derived from observing activity around Google’s special logo marking 25 years of TCP-IP, is that newly created pages get an ‘artificial’ boost.

I’ve always felt news was the natural territory for the web, and on occasions I’ve been criticised (probably with justification) for seeing it as the be-all and end-all – but this further reinforces my view. It’s also a bit depressing to see the extent to which people are prepared to ‘game’ Google’s results, in pursuit of a few PPC advertising dollars. I’d love to be able to say that I always prefer fresh content, and generally I do – but if it’s in the spammers’ interests to artificially generate fresh content, we could be facing problems down the line.