13 Oct 2005

Google’s Top 10 Choices for Search Results.

A really late night post (was thinking about this on drive home from work…now it’s 2:20 am)….

When you run a search at Google, and are fed the top 10 results, you are commonly given these types of sites listed back.  

Overall, the average age of the sites in the top will be 6 years old, and a site newer than 2 years old is very rare. Your chances of seeing a site less than 1 year old in the top 10 of any phrase (that’s searched even a little) will be 1 in 1000. 

  1. The College Paper top 10 Listing (.edu’s). That .edu link that might not have much to do with the topic, but Google will serve you the best it can find from a college site. 
  2. The Government Paper top 10 listing (.gov’s). Again, might not have too much to do with the keyword phrase, but is best they can find from the government.
  3. The site that has lots of edu’s and some .gov’s linking to it. Googles best guess as to who has the highest "trust rank".
  4. A huge site’s subpage on your topic. It’s that sub page PR 0 or PR 2 page of a site that has 1,000,000+ pages, and the homepage is a PR8 –  examples are Amazon, Yahoo directory page, shopping.com, etc.
  5. The old page which hasn’t changed in 5 years. With a backlink history of slow and steady link growth.
  6. Pages from sites that have historically held top positions, and change their content on the pages on a regular basis (Fresh newsy stuff).
  7. New pages from old established sites (looks fresh) – they fade in and out of rankings.
  8. Sub pages of old established sites that just got a bunch of backlinks which co incided with new content on that page. (looks like hot news).
  9. The old sites that keeps updating and keep getting new links (the authority)
  10. The spam site that won’t be around next month.

I think that for most searches, the top 10 will consist mostly of these types of pages. I think Google does this on purpose to show a variety of Types of pages to the user.

If you’re targeting a phrase, you should start by figuring what type of result your site will be, and what it’s role is in the top 10, and who you’re "real" and "direct" competitor is and what it will take to replace them.


  1. Emad Fanous » Top 10 search results whenever you search in Google October 15, 2005 at 1:55 AM

    […] Jim Boykin hypothesizes on Google’s Top 10 Choices for Search Results. […]

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    Top 10 Google’s Favorite in Search Results

    Jim Boykin has an excellent post about what he thinks Google’s top 10 choices for search results. Overall, the average age of the sites in the top will be 6 years old, and a site newer than 2 years old is very rare.
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  4. Jim Boykin’s SEO Thoughts » Blog Archive » October 18, 2005 at 11:35 AM

    […] I’d look at what Google might be trying to achieve in the top 10 results, and that will give you some clues as to what Google might be looking for, and just how little tweeks in their algorthym can cause such havoc in rankings. I’d also follow it by looking at link networks, the way Google might strive towards. […]

  5. (EMP) E-Marketing Performance » : » How Hard is it to Get Into the Top 10? October 18, 2005 at 11:38 AM

    […] Jim Boykin provides rather interesting insight as to what type of sites we are likely to find on the first page of Google. I don’t buy it hook, line, and sinker… only because we’ve gotten sites ranked into top 3 positions that don’t fit any of that criteria, but it does give some food for thought. […]

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    […] Google top 10 choices for Search Results – Oct 10 […]

  7. Cigar Fumar November 18, 2005 at 10:32 AM

    Yeah, I think about Gooogle and what most people use it for, too.
    (Sometimes I think it’s just a bunch of bullshit.)
    But, you know, whatever.

    Thanks, you’ve been great.

  8. » Interview Jim Boykin - SEO BUZZBOX December 1, 2005 at 4:08 PM

    […] I’m aware that things are constantly changing, and I’m aware of what Google likes today. I think the SERPS aren’t a mess at all. As engines get smarter and are better able to analyze things, SEO’s must get smarter as well. Overall Jagger was pretty good for most of our clients – probably due to our whiter hat methods. I believe that the engines are “rewarding” sites that appear to look like “natural resources” and so as an SEO, I’m trying to emulate this look on our sites as best we can. (via it being telling our clients to create better resources, and via trying to link more “natural”) […]

  9. Internetagentur Frankfurt April 13, 2006 at 5:11 PM

    If the trust factor becomes more and more important, how can non-english sites get trusted links from edu and gov sites?

  10. Nick June 13, 2007 at 7:22 AM

    I’m just thinking, how in the world do you get a link from a trusted site, i.e. edu or gov?

  11. Jeffrey L. Smith October 21, 2007 at 1:16 PM

    If you clearly identify all of the possible word combinations, acronyms, semantic word stems and mix up the chronology when building links, you can essentially dominate thousands of searches from gaining traction from the long tail of search.

    Add specific exact match link building to get a specific leg up in the SERPs and presto, achieving top 10 rankings become as common as sending an email. Take for example our website, it is only 1 year old, and we have over 4000 unique search compatible keywords. While most struggle to get out of the sandbox, we were ranking in multiple top 10 results, all as a result of authority and content development and using a diverse base of Class C-IP’s to get the juice.

    Once you got it, everything you publish goes straight to the top.

  12. Vertical Measures October 29, 2007 at 4:47 PM

    I just followed today’s post back to this 2-year old post. You really think this is still true? I am not sure I believe the college paper one any more. And thankfully, it seems spam sites are turning up less and less.

  13. David Brown November 3, 2007 at 7:26 AM

    I didn’t realize that age was such a factor. This is also helpful because I wasn’t sure if they liked .edu’s or .gov’s better. Is a page that is frequently updated better than one that is stagnant. I know that sites that are updated regularly are better than ones that aren’t but does that also apply to individual pages?

  14. SEO Expert November 9, 2007 at 11:25 AM

    Think about it. If it were up to you to write the algorithm that weeded out junk, would it not be logical to look at domain age, who is info, .edu , .gov links and other similar characteristics at least in part for determining rank. Over time, cheap little tactical approaches will be stifled… and quality links will hold more and more weight.

    For thoughts on how to get links from .edu – try your college alumni site, they often post profiles of alumni and would be glad to give you a link. How about designing a few free websites for some local schools and government agencies and asking for a link in return – very altruistic and “not evil”, which should be supported long term by the mother ship.

  15. SearchTroop February 2, 2008 at 3:01 PM

    Agreed… .edu and .gov links don’t necessary imply that a site should be considered more important. Good analysis though.

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