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Google ranking secrets revealed - Part 4

Google has recently filed a patent that details many points that Google uses to rank web pages. The title of the patent is "Information retrieval based on historical data" and it reveals details of algorithms that Google uses in addition to its main ranking algorithms.

In this article, we're trying to find out what this means to your web site and what you have to do to optimize your web pages so that you get high rankings on Google. Click here to read part 1, part 2 and part 3.

Part 4: How search results and user data can affect your rankings

The patent specification indicates that Google might track how often users click on a page when it is listed in the search results pages. Google might also track the amount of time that users spend "accessing the document".

It seems that Google might be tracking click-throughs and rewarding those sites with higher click through rates (similar to what Google does with their AdWords program).

The patent specification also indicates that Google might track the behavior of web surfers through bookmarks, cache, favorites, and temporary files (possibly with the Google toolbar and the Google desktop search tool).

The patent specification indicates that Google might track the following information:

  • The volume of searches over time is recorded and monitored for
    increases.
  • The information regarding a web page's rankings are recorded and monitored for changes.
  • The click through rates are monitored for changes in seasonality, fast increases, or other spike traffic.
  • The click through rates are monitored for increase or decrease trends.
  • The click through rates are monitored to find out if stale or fresh web pages are preferred for a search query.
  • The click through rates for web pages for a search term is recorded.
  • The traffic to a web page is recorded and monitored for changes.
  • The user behavior on web pages is monitored and recorded for changes
    (for example the use of the back button etc.).
  • The user behavior might also be monitored through bookmarks, cache, favorites, and temporary files.
  • Bookmarks and favorites are monitored for both additions and deletions.
  • The overall user behavior for documents is monitored for trends changes.
  • The time a user spends on a web page might be used to indicate the quality and freshness of a web page.

What does this mean to your web site?

If Google really tracks the click-throughs to your web site, you should make sure that your web pages have attractive titles so that web surfers click on them in the search results.

Make your web pages interesting enough so that web surfers stay some time on your web site. It might also help if your web site visitors added your web site to their bookmarks.

Make sure that your web page content is optimized for Google. The ranking factors mentioned in the patent specification are only additional factors. If your web page content is not optimized, all other ranking factors won't help you much.

In upcoming newsletter issues, we'll discuss other important factors that can influence your ranking on Google and that are mentioned in the patent specification.

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May 2005 search engine articles