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      Search Engine Optimization

      An Introduction to QDF: Query deserves freshness

      Aug 30, 2011

      3 minute read

      The Query Deserves Freshness algorithm is not new. It was first discussed by Google Fellow Amit Singhal in June 2007 in a New York Times Article written by Saul Hansell.

      By now it is estimated that other search engines also use it in their search methodology, or similar versions of it.

      What we mean by QDF is that the algorithm is able to decide which fresh content should be displayed high up in the search rankings in addition to the content with highest page rank, given the fact that there is a huge rising interest in a particular event or news.

      When there is peaking query traffic for a particular search phrase, news, and blogposts about a topic on the internet, then Google (speaking of Google only) is aware that this particular news item is hot.

      Eg. If a query is typed in as Libya, the user most likely is interested in the latest volatile situation in Libya.  So optimized results for the fresh content posted on the Libya situation would be displayed above the traditional pages on Libya.

      Or say Michael Jackson’s death. Or the Japanese Tsunami and its nuclear disaster challenge.

      That is, when there is news about celebrities, events, epidemics or any other news generating huge interest on the net, Google will push fresh content for that topic to the top versus pages that have stood the test of time and are likely to be of better content and higher quality.

      QDF takes into account Search Volume, News Coverage, Blog Coverage and possibly Toolbar data. As expected, Google has a patent on its methods for the above data sampling and usage.

      This was the explanation part of QDF.

      Let us now see how QDF functionality allows us to exploit its functionality, to increase our visibility on the search engines.

      First, we shall explore how we can drive traffic to your website and make it possibly rank high. Once it ranks high it becomes a self-reinforcing authority and is referenced by other people looking for the topic.

      The idea in this case is, to create and post highly relevant content to your website for a particular topic that is generating huge interest in the internet.

      The sooner a post is out, the sooner you can hope that Google will Index your story, and hopefully traffic will come to you.

      However there is a catch in this. One, you’re recommended that the post needs to be out for a trend in a matter of hours, not days. Second, if it gets listed, promote your post. Link to it from your existing website pages. Keep adding new stuff to the article. Otherwise the ranking could be temporary.

      Further, in writing for QDF, aim for the long tail. Although QDF is great for short, really competitive ‘head’ terms, QDF excels for long tail search phrases. These might not get higher traffic, but can get higher rankings and selected visitors.

      Further still, do your site optimization ahead of time. If your site is does not show up in search engines, neither will your article.

      The second case where we can use QDF functionality and derive mileage from it is, e.g. in a situation like a product launch.

      Let’s assume a corporate is launching a new product. We take the specific example of what Dell did when it launched its ‘Adamo’ range of notebooks in March 2009. Consider the following:

      • It generated news around the new product launch. News articles and press releases being one method. So that these would come up in the Google search.
      • It bought a new highly relevant domain name, which it knew would give a boost to SEO, since it had the word Adamo inside it.
      • It linked all of its blogs and press releases to this new domain.
      • Dell connected with tech bloggers on the web, and leaked information about the product early. This kind of jump started the blog mechanism and also created a feel good feeling in the bloggers contacted exclusively, much to the likely benefit of Dell, by getting positive reviews.
      • Further, all this blogger community was linking back to the site, since Dell made sure that all the photos and interactive elements were hosted there. Today this domain redirects to
      • Moreover, Dell leveraged its other web properties e.g. by publicising and linking to this new site for Adamo.

      By doing activities like these Dell was able to ensure the QDF algorithm captured its activity spike and ranked its new site at search rank one for its relevant targeted keywords on the very first day of the product range Adamo launch.

      That then, was a brief introduction to QDF, and its possible utilization.

      Hope you enjoyed reading this post, as much I did, writing it. My acknowledgments in particular to Rand Fishkin, CEO of from whom the above Dell example has been borrowed.

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