Rand Fishkin over at SEOmoz (OMG, that’s two post in a row about the guy) had his whiteboard Friday today (as he does every Friday). Whiteboard Friday is an “event” during which Rand uses a whiteboard to illustrate complex SEO theories, technologies, etc. in layman’s terms. He does a damn good job at it too.
This weeks whiteboard was about how the engines can “sniff out” the origin of a story through links and rank the first source of a story even if a stronger source posts about it later and even if other sources have better anchor text. It’s a great post that right now discusses only the news and blog searches but which Rand asks, “could this be expanded to include regular search?”
Now, in my opinion I don’t believe that this type of analysis and ranking really works in the regular search arena. If I write a 500 word summary of a new Google patent and I’m the first to cover it and, after reading my post, Bill Slawski over at SEO By The Sea writes up on the patent (like he wouldn’t have found it already) and writes a 10,000 word summary of it’s ins-and-outs and an analysis of it’s application in the real world and links to the Beanstalk blog post as the first source he found out about the patent on (thanks for the imaginary link Bill 😉 which of our two pages should rank when people look up information on that patent? Heck, I love traffic but even I’d have to say that if Google wants to provide good results they’re going to display Bill’s 10,000 word analysis above my 500 word summary in every search regardless of where it first appeared.
Of course, Rand is covering the technology in simple terms to illustrate an idea and of course the algorithms are more complex than simply a link mapping system to determine first source with the source ranking regardless of content. Just wanted to make sure that was understood before you watched the video however.
So without further ado, here’s Rand Fishkin explaining how engines recognize first source for blogs and news: