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22 January 2006
You’ve probably heard about the new SEO contest revolving about ranking for the keyphrase v7ndotcom elursrebmem. Let me ask you a question: what is the most interesting thing about this new SEO contest? No, it is not the $4000 1st place prize.

The target keyphrease v7ndotcom elursrebmem is pretty darn interesting. Why? Because it is a topical query (hot topic). Topical queries are queries that suddently start to get searched for way more than before. I bet there are more than enough people who regularly check the top rankings of the contest query, which in the eyes of Google is a sudden increase (from zero searches). That IS a topical query – hot topic. Also when the number of documents containing a query suddenly increase (as in our case) – this indicates a topical query.

So what? Google’s patent Information Retrieval Based On Historical Data has some interesting information about topical queries influencing the ranking of documents. The 2 major points are:
1. Google may score documents (sites, pages) associated with topical query higher!
2. Google’s anti-link spam detection is less sensitive to topical queries!

How many people SEO for topical queries? Very few. Webmasters are fighting mostly for non-topical queries. In my opinion, all the post-seo-contest-analysis articles that are going to pop are going to be worthless and won’t apply to the real world (mostly non-topical queries).

But that is not the end of the story. Based on the above information from Google’s paper, we can actually take advantage of topical queries - simply by regularly including content rich in topical queries! Consider this blog entry of mine. I used the topical keywords in the title. Also, all my blog and article pages list the latest blog entries (they list the title which includes the topical query). According to the patent, some or all of my pages can get higher rankings. This in turn according to the patent can further push the rankings up by getting my site ranked in the top 30 for more queries.

According to the patent, it is a very good idea to regularly include content about current hot topics. How to do it?
- write about current hot topics in your industry in articles / blogs
- include a list of the latest articles / blog entries on as many pages as you can
- include topical keywords in the titles
- at times when your site is associated with a hot topic, you can be slightly more aggressive with link building

Here are a few more examples of SEO specific topics that were hot no so long time ago – Google’s Florida Update, Google Analytics, Yahoo Publisher Network etc.

Posted under tags: google, seo, seo contests
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