Site Ranking Secrets Revealed in Google's Patent Filings

Intellectual property law is really screwy sometimes. In order to legally protect your IP, you have to make it public (eventually). Google, who has guarded their ranking algorithms so closely for years, has now had to open some of it up to the public. U.S. Patent Application 20050071741, filed September 30, 2003, became public on March 31, 2005, exposing a few ranking secrets that were new even to many industry experts. Some of the surprise things that may affect rankings include:

  • Length of domain registration (longer is better)
  • Number, quality and anchor text of inbound links (more is better, higher quality is better, but re: anchor text, there is such a thing as both too little and too much – you need a balance)
  • Age of links (older is better)
  • Speed with which links are acquired (slower is better)
  • Click-through rates (higher is better, but other issues, such as seasonality, could be considered)
  • Frequency and amount of updates (again, neither extreme is good)

There’s a lot more here to be considered, and the jury’s still out as to how much of this is actually in use, and if so, how much weight each item carries.Read more…

Thanks to Darren Yates for the analysis and Chris Pirillo for the tip.

CORRECTION: The original version of this post stated that the patent was filed on March 31, 2005, when in fact it was filed 18 months earlier and just became public as of that date. Thanks to attorney Douglas Sorocco for the correction. Check out his intellectual property weblog, PHOSITA.