This is an old post that I found in the depth of my documents, while the test is old I certainly think the point of the article remains
Ages ago Aaron Wall made a short post promoting a friends online web tool. In the post Aaron suggested, given Page Rank’s infrequent updates and old data that the date Google last cached your site was a better indication of how much Google “trusted” your site than the green strip in the Google Toolbar.
It got me thinking, quarterly updates of Page Rank with data from who knows when, while quite useful isn’t the most reliable indication of how respected you are in the halls of the Googleplex. With the rise of blogs, RSS, social media & user generated content how long ago the search engine spiders visited your site probably is pretty good indication of how important your site is.
So time dust of Excel and see if there is any evidence to prove Aaron’s hunch. The test was simple, three simple generic key phrases, take the first page of the Google.com search engine results page and see if the more recently cached pages appeared higher up the results.
Test One – “Movie Trailers”
First up “Movie Trailers” Apple’s trailer site was in top position and the cache theory seemed to hold water through the first 6 results. However after this it all got a bit messier. In seventh place joeblo.com was the most recently indexed site. To complicate matters further it was followed by movie-trailers.com which was indexed ages ago and seems to be an expired domain. Bellow these sites, at the bottom of the first page; movies.monstersandcritics.com/trailers/ was indexed more recently than the 5th and 6th place results. Hardly conclusive but the results seemed to follow the general trend.
Test Two – “Global Warming”
The key phrase “Movie Trailers” features regularly updated pages from some of the biggest online players, so for my second phrase I felt something a phrase likely to turn up more static authority pages with lower search volumes would be good test. Partially inspired by the SEO World Championship from back in the day. I opted for “global warming”. Surprise, Surprise, Wikipedia in top place. Here we have the opposite of “Movie Trailers” the lower order is arranged nicely in order of cache date but the top results aren’t following the pattern I was hoping for.
Test Three – “Brighton Function Rooms”
For the third query I thought I’d go nice and niche with “Brighton Function Rooms” A lot less traffic than the previous queries and fewer indexed pages. The results were a bit spammy with plenty of Adsense reliant directories. Unfortunately the results deviated from the “Most Recent Cache Date = Most Trusted” formula more than any of my three queries. The dates were all over the place some really recently indexed others up to six weeks old.
Has Cache Killed Page Rank?
Aaron’s prediction wasn’t quite as simple to prove as I’d hoped. The sites most recently cached weren’t the highest in the rankings. However I don’t think this entirely discounts the theory. My test only checked how recently the pages had been cached, not how frequently. Some of the sites in my test might have been spidered recently but been waiting weeks for their visit from the bots. I haven’t given up on the idea, I’m going to try and test the cache frequency see if Page Rank really is dead.