Query Deserves Freshness – QDF

Thu, Apr 2, 2009

Google, Yahoo! & MSN

Just when you thought you were safe from the world of SEO acronyms comes another one – QDF, or Query Deserves Freshness. This one is brought to us by Google and it is a part of the Google search algorithm to help it determine which queries (not all!) should be updated to include new content because the subject matter of the search is changing rapidly. In other words, the searches want to deliver the freshest material first instead of older material which may not contain relevant information. You can think about the election of Barack Obama as an example of this – queries for Obama today will return news articles and information about the White House and his presidency, versus queries from a year ago that would have returned totally different results for the most part.

Google determines which queries qualify for QDF by observing search trends and which subjects are spiking over a period of time. Think of it this way – current event topics traditionally happen in spikes, and so queries about them (the election, a natural disaster, etc.) are not steady searches, but rather are concentrated around the time of the event.

So, what does this have to do with SEO? A lot! Because the thing about QDF queries is that sites that contain no link backs at all could potentially hit the top of the search queries at all could hit the top of the search engines because of their authority. For example, a search on Barack Obama may return today’s news from the New York Times as the #1 result not because of the link building, but because of the authority of the New York Times as a reputable site, and because of the QDF of the search term “Barack Obama”.

In other words, fresh content gets the “boost” – the article from the NYT rates at the top because it is fresh and relevant.

QDF for SEO is best achieved by focusing on the freshness boost aspect of it. You are in essence trying to ride the spike by being there at the front with fresh, relevant content.

How to do this? Web content optimization is the key here. Getting bloggers involved in talking about this subject before it hits the mainstream is a great way to get Google noticing that something is going on. You can also register domain names that contain the “buzz” topic that highlights the topic. Over time, you might 301 this back to your main domain – but for spikes, it can really help.

PPC also comes into play here for these spikes. Though pay per click advertising is not normally a tool that we use a lot in SEO, it plays an important role for QDF and topics that are buzzed up for a short period of time. Here you want to make sure that you “own” the top clicks, and PPC is one of the easiest way to do this in the short run.

To summarize, QDF is all about the “buzz”. What’s happening what now – and who has the freshest information about it? Used correctly, it can be a powerful advantage that a SEO company can use to drive sales and visits to its sites – and a great way to use SEO to build brand awareness through buzz campaigns.

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This post was written by:

Cassiano Travareli - who has written 90 posts on SEO Blog | SEO Marketing World.

SEO Specialist! Loves everything about Search Engine Marketing.

2 Responses to “Query Deserves Freshness – QDF”

  1. Brandon Says:

    QDF is quite the new concept and term. Having already practiced this on several websites, I can definitely say it has a positive effect and if used correctly can drive some decent traffic.

  2. w Says:

    I’d be curious to see if you could lay out an example of how you would tie a current event like a political event or a natural disaster to drive SEO traffic for a client – where is the relevance with something like that and a hotel you’re doing SEO for, or a coffee seller or anything else for that matter?


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