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How Does Google Blog Search Determine Blog Rank?

Monday, May 21st, 2007...12:05 pm

How Does Google Blog Search Determine Blog Rank?


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On a whim I went and checked out how my blog ranked in Google Blog Search and was surprised to find I didn’t rank nearly as well for the terms I normally rank for. I don’t use Google Blog Search so I wasn’t aware that its ranking mechanism was different from Google Web Search.

After a little digging I found a summary of the factors Google takes into consideration when ranking blogs. The following information came about after an analysis was done on patent documents filed by Google, which relate to blog ranking.

Positive factors affecting blog rank:

  • How many RSS subscriptions there are to the blog.
  • How often people click on a link to the post in search results.
  • How many blogrolls the blog is in.
  • How many “high qualityâ€? blogrolls the blog is in.
  • If the blog offers visitors the chance to tag posts, whether people are tagging them.
  • References to the blog by sources other than blogs.
  • PageRank.

Negative factors affecting blog rank:

  • If new posts appear in short bursts or at predictable intervals.
  • If the content of the posts doesn’t match the content of feeds from the posts.
  • If the content includes a lot of spam related keywords.
  • If a lot of content is duplicated in multiple posts from a blog.
  • Whether posts are the same size, or roughly the same size.
  • Link distribution of the blog.
  • If posts primarily link to one page or site.

As you can see, instead of simply filtering out pages that don’t belong to blogs and using their default ranking algorithm, Google uses additional criteria to rank blog posts. They seem to be going the extra mile to make sure the most relevant and authoritative posts make it to the top of the search pile.

Andy Beard has an excellent in-depth analysis of Google’s blog ranking criteria if you want to do some further reading on the subject.

16 Comments

  • Thanks for the post. I caught one thing I was doing that might cause me some trouble: regularly timed posts. I post on the same four days (most of the time) and it looks like I need to mix that up a bit.

  • One more: how often the link is distributed and clicked in Gmail and Gtalk ;)

  • Interesting stuff. That first point on the negatives worries me though. I have a reminder to update my blog everyday at 2:00 in the afternoon. That’s a bad thing in Google’s eyes?

  • Thanks for the post, it was informational

  • Interesting research. Now I know why I rank high for certain terms in Blogsearch. ;)

  • Great post Dan,
    Now I just wish you could elaborate on some of your points. For example, visitors to my blog can not tagg the posts I have written. I imagine there is a WordPress plugin to do just that?

    You have listed the link distribution under negative factors? What is “good link” distribution in your opinion?

    I am looking forward to your answers.

  • Vlad the reference to tagging is a curious one. I think they are using it to describe two separate things. I’m unaware of any feature which allows readers to tag posts within an actual blog, so one must assume they are referring to third party bookmarking services. It would make sense if they took into account a posts popularity on a service like del.icio.us as well as the tags people are using when they create the bookmark. Also how you tag and categorize content within your blog seems to be something they look at as well.

    Link distribution is only vaguely mentioned in the patent document. I can only venture an educated guess but I imagine the factors they consider are - how many outbound links you have, the quality and relevance of the sites they are pointing to, and how many of your outbound links point to a single site. Because no crawling is going on I think its safe to assume interal linking doesn’t play as much of a role as in Web Search.

    Much of the patent document is open to interpretation. I was more surprised see the lengths they were taking to rank blogs. It seems like alot of effort for a service that isn’t particularly popular, and from my experience sends very little traffic.

  • “Whether posts are the same size, or roughly the same size.”

    All sounds a little vague and arbitrary to me.

    Not sure this is a good indicator of anything, especially if there’s already a means of scanning for content scraping, which is far more of a problem than article size…

  • I have been meaning to respond here for a few days but I think the site was killed by a Kevin Rose comment.

    Tagging is purely the tagging of the content, such as you can do with UTW.

    Christine the author of UTW was even contemplating allowing reader tagging, but that wouldn’t really affect blogsearch, because from what I have seen it is hard (as in I have never seen it happen) to get Google to reindex a blog document for Blogsearch.

    I have linked through to my response to a guest article Alister wrote on Problogger which also inferred that tagging meant bookmarking sites.

  • [...] How Does Google Blog Search Determine Blog Rank? A summary of the positive and negative factors which Google take into consideration when ranking blogs. [...]

  • [...] - Sevn does a little research to come up with the answers for the question How Does Google Blog Search Determine Blog Rank? [...]

  • excellent article.Thanks

  • Great summary, Thanks.

    I think I’ll go get myself a cup of tea before tackling Andy Beard’s more daunting analysis.

  • Question on a related topic… how do I determine the ranking of a blog? My goal is to submit products to popular blogs that relate but I don’t know which blogs have a large “fan base.” Top 100 blogs don’t help me because I am serving the niche market (art, writing, design, crafts, etc). I appreciate your information for when I create a blog (which should be soon!) but I need help reaching out to other blogs now. Thank you!!!

  • Can we still use the tips that are posted here? Cuz i heard it has changed… Not so sure about that though :)

    Thank you for the great tip!

  • Hi! I am trying to regain my lost PR3 recently by reading helpful tips from my c0-bloggers such as yours. Thanks!!!

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