by Rick Hendershot, e_Marketing Blog
The Google patent application submitted in March, 2005 has generated a good deal of debate among search engine optimization experts. The patent document contains many general suggestions about direction Google wants to move their search criteria and ranking techniques in near future.
The document points out two areas in particular in which "there remains a need to improve quality of results generated by search engines." (0009) These two areas are
(a) artificially inflated rank due to spamming techniques, and (b) stale documents that rank higher than fresh ones, and therefore "degrade search results".
Google's ingenious proposal is to deal with both of these problems by focusing on history of web documents and web links. Assuming they have technology to record such a massive amount of information, their objective seems to be to keep a detailed record of pattern of changes within web pages.
This should address spam issue by revealing unnatural patterns of change. Too many links too quickly suggests "unnatural" linking activity has been taking place. Significant links that come and go might suggest that expensive links are being purchased on a temporary basis and are not "natural".
And it should address "staleness" issue by looking at way specific pages have been updated. If a page that has ranked high in specific searches has not been updated for a period of time, this will be seen as a reason to downgrade importance of that page. Other pages with more activity, more up to date information, and more linking activity, all other things being equal, will rank higher.
History is more important than ever
This means Google either already gives, or intends to give "history" of documents more significance. And not just date when document is created, or most recently changed. They also propose tracking pattern of changes in content, changes in anchor text of links, changes in numbers and quality of inbound links, changes in quality and number of outbound links, changes in other pages within same associated group of documents, and even changes within pages linking to a document.