Google recently celebrated the New Year and 25 years of TCP/IP internet with a new logo which linked to the search query “January 1 TCP/IP”. This unintentionally exposed a feature of the search algorithm which artificially boosts the ranking of new web pages.
The changes were first reported on the “Google Operating System” blog, which claims the artificially high rankings are a result of Google’s ability to rapidly index new web pages. The post explains that new pages can’t rank because they obviously have no backlinks etc, so Google artificially inflates the rankings of the recently-created pages based on historical data and the small amount of information collected.
Ryan Durk recently exploited this feature by creating a blog which was highly optimized for the query “January 1 TCP/IP”. As featured on Aaron Wall’s blog, Ryan first registered the blog january-1-tcp-ip.blogspot.com and optimized the title to “January 1 TCP/IP”. He then created some keyword targeted content and monetized the blog with Google Adsense.
After social bookmarking and promoting the website on Digg.com, Ryan grabbed the top spots for “January 1 TCP/IP” on Google.com:
“My site grabbed rankings at 1, 2, 3 and 4 within 2 hours and maintained spots 1, 3 and 4 until sometime Wednesday. As of right now, it has received over 2000 Diggs and 300,000 page impressions”
Because this search query was linked straight from Google’s homepage, Ryan received a huge amount of traffic for an otherwise obscure search term.
The Results? The site received over 300,000 unique hits of traffic converting at below half of a percent. That’s roughly 1500 conversions. Not bad for a couple of hours work I’d say.