How Google ranks new Digg pages highly

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  • December 17, 2007
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

Have you ever wondered why a page from Digg that is only a couple of days old can feature in some competitive search results? Why, when a company has been on Digg hundreds of times before does the newest story come up first?

The answer lies in the way Google uses PageRank and the complicated Query Deserves Freshness algorithm.

A story on Digg starts off with a link from the submitters profile page and then gathers links from the profiles of everybody that Diggs it. Once it gets popular it has links from thousands of profile pages as well as category pages and the Digg homepage. This influx of links and PageRank as well as the fact the story is usually very topical gives the page an instant boost in the search engine rankings.

Over time the number of links decreases as other stories take over and the rankings decrease again.

You can see this algorithm in action by searching Digg pages using Google for terms such as “apple” and “google“. Notice how all the top 10 results contain stories less than 10 days old?

In fact, a site:digg.com “google” search almost exactly mirrors these results using the Digg search engine.

Webmasters can learn a lot from these observations for example if I wanted to make a particular blog post rank highly I could link to it in my sitewide navigation. Or, if I released a new topical story I could add it to my navigation for a few days to give it an initial boost.

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