Dudes: Are you ready to give off some fresh new surfer vibes?

Search engines are constantly looking for new signals they can use to improve the quality of the results they provide to Internet surfers, says Eric Enge in a recent post at Search Engine Watch. "Search engines continue to evaluate new potential signals that can improve search quality, while making life harder for spammers," he writes. And their criteria keep changing.

According to Enge, "Back in the days of AltaVista, search engines were keyword-centric." Then Google drove the next generation with its link-centric algorithm.

Now there are a host of new signals that could hold weight in today's search results, he reports. Among them:

  • Page-load time. "Google could start using page-load time as a ranking factor this year," Enge says. As we all know, pages that load quickly improve the user experience—and increase your likelihood of creating good search vibes.
  • Click rate. Click data is used as a ranking signal in Google News, Enge reports, based on a recent interview he conducted with Josh Cohen there. And if using click data works in the Google News environment, "it isn't a stretch to imagine that it would be helpful in Web search as well," he notes.
  • Web references. "It's well known that Google's Local Search results factor in Web references"—mentions of a business that aren't implemented as links—as a ranking factor, he notes. "Web references count as votes in a manner similar to the way links are used. As with click data, it isn't a stretch that these could start to have some weight in search results."

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