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All other factors remaining constant, a more relevant document to the search topic will rank (in the Google search results) more favorably as compared to a less relevant one.

Relevance here mostly describes the rate at which a document (web page) is updated with recent developments in its targeted topic, and how sites linking to the document take cognizance of that update. The rationale being that a document with static information will sooner or later result in its information become irrelevant and will thereby become less useful.

Relevance, as outlined in the patent, is a function of the following attributes:

  • Frequency at which the content of the document changes over time. This could also include the rate of change in a current time period as compared to the rate of change at a previous time. The amount of change of the document is also factored in, which could mean that only substantial amount of change is considered a REAL change. Naturally, a REAL change signifies that the web page will remain relevant over time.

  • Ratio of the number of new pages added to the document versus the total number of pages in the document. This indicates that change could manifest itself also as additional pages linked to the web page.

  • Change in the document could itself be described as a weighted sum of the changes in different sections of the document. The weights being assigned based upon the perceived importance of the section.

  • The staleness of the document. However, the staleness can also give a positive thrust to the rankings in case the document is selected more often in a search result listing. This seems to be a check in place for documents which are considered to be authoritative works on the topics, even though they could be very old and rarely updated.(An example could be the book Knuth's Art of Programming, quite old but still very relevant.)

  • Anchor text on the links associated with the document, and whether they positively correlate to a change in the document itself. Anchor text are valued highly by Google as they describe the content of the document, sometimes even better than that what Google is able to decipher from the document itself.

Most of these techniques reflect that Google takes relevancy very seriously, when determining search rankings. The checks have been put into place to make sure that a perceived change in the document is a REAL change, as opposed to a change in the layout of the document or a change simulated by manipulating the anchor text.

Consequently, SEO attempts should be more driven towards making more dynamic and frequently updated pages.

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