What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 134 Stack Exchange communities.

I was wondering if, when I say search using Google, the results I see that point to StackOverflow trilogy sites are influenced in any way by the votes we make. I don't know much about these sorts of things so it may well be a completely obvious answer to everyone else. I understand that back links to questions and answers is used to rank results but it would be great if the efforts we've made to vote on items is also taken into account.

Does anyone know if votes have such an influence on search result rankings? And if not, is there any way that this could be achieved?

share|improve this question
    
I think a better question is whether it even influences SO search results -- I think not, but don't really know. An even better question is, should it? –  tvanfosson Mar 18 '10 at 16:34
1  
Isn't it an accepted wisdom that SO search is inferior to Google's? (the only area of SO I personally found technically wanting) –  DVK Mar 21 '10 at 22:40

4 Answers 4

It can influence in indirect ways. More votes means more visibility, which probably means more people will link to the question from other sites/blogs, which in turn boosts search ranking. Upvotes also keep the questions on the front page longer, which may (I have no idea) influence search ranking somehow.

share|improve this answer

The search results are very likely influenced by votes.

The answers with more votes get promoted to the top of the page. Search engines usually put more weight on what they find closer to the beginning of a page rather then at the end of it.

For instance, if you asked a question about jobs and career, somebody made a funny answer about ponies and it somehow got upvoted to the top, the question will be indexed and categorized as related to jobs with ponies. Especially, if there are follow-up comments mentioning ponies as well.

P.S. Did you notice there is a trend lately with all those ponies. People mention ponies everywhere, create nick names with ponies in it, joke about ponies, ponies this and ponies that. I mean, what's up? Is this a year of the pony or is somebody crazy about ponies or what?

UPDATE: Now, only 6 hours later, this question rates high for ponies in Google:

alt text

share|improve this answer
1  
    
Thanks, wasn't aware of all that happening around. –  user136634 Mar 18 '10 at 21:56
    
This is a good answer for "answers": Better answers get better SEO b/c they are pushed up on the page, but I think the OP is talking more about "questions". –  Jess Mar 29 '13 at 16:10

No, the number of votes does not influence the search results.

And I can't think of a way to achieve this, except for contracts/agreements with google.

share|improve this answer

I don't think the site's owners have any possibility to "prioritize" the way their pages are indexed - except for building artificial obstacles to the indexing of low-vote questions which no sane site owner will do.

As long as there is no all-encompassing Google toolbar-like programm counting people's actual visits to specific pages, and sending those results back to the search engine (and I hope this doesn't come true on a large scale), the only way I can see would be the search engine taking voting into considerations. Maybe they will do this one day (I think it's highly likely), or maybe they're already at it. I doubt, though, that we will be informed in detail if they are.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .