Timeliness Of Search Results

I’ve been doing a lot of work lately with ReadPath and some other sites making sure that things were SEO’d properly and have stumbled across something that I hadn’t completely understood before. Google has a nice interface in their webmaster tools to allow you to see the top queries for your site over time as well as their rank in the results at that time. What’s interesting is that the results ranking shift rather dramatically over time.
One example is that my wife Jaimie, wrote a post on the play Jersey Boys after we went to see it one weekend. What was amazing is that someone very familiar with the staff of the play wrote a comment to correct a small portion of her post within minutes of Jaimie posting the story. What I’m noticing now though is that Google is reporting that at the time, Jaimie’s story had a top 10 result for the search “Jersey Boys”. Now though, searching for this post doesn’t find it anywhere within the top 100 results.
It would appear that there is a time decay in the results that takes into account your rank with certain terms. With my personal blog where I write mostly about software type things, searches for older stories on these topics stick around much longer while off topic stories get a small bump and then disappear. This is definitely something that you’re going to want to take into account when deciding what to post.
What’s also amazing to notice is that even though several of these sites are small and very niche, for certain topics they can show up in the first page of search results. There is also very real traffic being sent from these search pages. Making sure you’re on top of SEO is definitely a priority with the way that traffic is shaped these days.
I’ve also got to say that the Google tools for webmasters just blow Yahoo and Microsoft out of the water. Being able to see what is going on with your sites and make corrections and adjustments is incredibly useful while the others don’t give you any visibility into these settings.