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Hot or not? Does Google really use a new ranking algorithm?

Webmasters recently found an anomaly in Google's ranking results. Has Google changed its algorithm to artificially increase the ranking of new pages?

What has happened?

On 1 January, Google celebrated 25 years of TCP/IP (the Internet protocol). A click on the special Google logo that was used on Google's home page sent you to the search result page for the term "January 1, TCP/IP".

The number of searches for that term increased dramatically on that day because the term was linked through Google's logo.

As a result, the term looked like a hot topic and Google decided to list more recent pages in the search results. Remarkably, the highly ranked pages were mostly blog pages. A search for "January 1, TCP/IP" used to return a Wikipedia page as the top result.

Has Google really changed its ranking algorithm?

Google hasn't changed its algorithm. Google shows more recent results if a search query that wasn't popular before suddenly gets many searches.

Google analyzes the search volume and the blog post volume to decide if a special search term or topic is hot or not.

For example, if 100,000 people search for "London" every day then you'll get trusted content from older websites in the search results. If 1,000,000 people search for London on a particular day, something might have happened and Google will list more blog posts and news articles in the search results to give web surfers more relevant results.

This behavior hasn't started on 1 January 2008. The same has happened with other search terms before. For example, the search results for the term "canoeist" included more blog and news pages last December when a canoeist who went missing in 2002 turned up in London.

Google even has a patent that allows them to find out which topics and search terms are hot.

Is your website hot or not?

Google only uses this special algorithm for hot topics, i.e. recent news or events. If your search terms aren't related to recent news, then this has no effect on your rankings.

If you want to benefit from a hot topic, it can help to create a blog post that deals with the hot topic. However, you won't get lasting high results with that method.

This extra feature in Google's ranking algorithm doesn't affect most search terms. It only affects news related search terms and even then, the effect only lasts for a few days.

If you want to see your website in Google's regular top 10 results then you have to optimize your web pages for Google's ranking algorithm. IBP's Top 10 Web Page Optimizer and IBP's Inbound Link Optimizer will help you to do so.

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January 2008 search engine articles