Does Your Query Deserve Freshness?


For those like me who were unaware of Google’s QDF algorithm, here’s the gist: Google ranks history and trust very well in its normal search. The problem is that with breaking news (or situations that change every few seconds), they have to employ an algorithm that weighs freshness instead of history.  This bodes well for the searcher because when she sees that Google’s results are so up-to-date, it must be the best search engine for her purposes. Yahoo and Bing both employ similar algorithms for freshness. Hence, QDF – the algorithm that kicks in when crazy amounts of searches start to come in, and information starts changing rapidly.

I am ashamed to say that I hadn’t heard of Google’s QDF by name until last week. I began to do research on Friday to find out how it works, and the light bulb turned on. I knew Google had to use a different algorithm to get news and current events out so fast! Now I have a name to put with it.

After learning about it, I began looking for an opportunity to explore it in real time. That exact day, the opportunity arrived – I saw something that Conan O’Brien did on Twitter that was going to spread like wildfire, and immediately jumped on tracking the situation and writing a case study.

Just an hour after Conan’s original tweet, I had published the case study tracking the influence of Conan O’Brien on an unknown twitter user. Within 5 minutes of publishing (I have to assume that OrangeSoda’s blog doesn’t get crawled more than a few times per day), my case study ranked #16 on Google for the name ‘Sarah Killen’.  Wait! Within 5 minutes?!  Either I got really lucky timing the entry with the spider’s arrival, or there was something else at play here.

RPC Ping

The RPC ping service is one that comes default with WordPress blog/site installations, along with Drupal, and other platforms. The goal of the software is to send a ping, or notification to search engines that new content has been added. Why would the search engines want this? The simple answer is that it saves the search engines the bandwidth and server time of crawling your Aunt Cindy’s blog that hasn’t been updated since her first post in 2006.

Now Google can crawl sites only when it will get the most bang for its buck. That doesn’t mean they won’t crawl regularly looking for links, I would assume, but it’s a resource savings thing nonetheless.

5 Minutes Later

Wtihin 5 minutes of publishing the blog post, I searched and found it ranked  #16 on Google. We had RPC ping installed in our WordPress blog, so that leads me to believe that Google indexed the content extremely quickly. My hypothesis is that Google received the RPC ping, saw the post contained the name Sarah Killen, and immediately ranked it in the QDF portion of the algorithm. Anyone else have experience getting ranked with QDF?



We have noticed that that after sending the rpc ping to google our site get crawled almost immediately. It is great that they respond so quickly to it, making your newest content rank quickly.

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