How is it that questions posted to the Stack Overflow show up as #1 in Google search results just minutes after being submitted? What SEO practices are being used to generate this sort of up-to-the-minute accuracy?

6 Answers 6


Sites with high PR and are frequently updated will have their sites crawled more quickly then normal. So it's not a technique, per sé, so much as it is a result of the site being popular and constantly changing.

  • That's true, but Google won't crawl a site each 30 seconds. You can test it. You can post a question in SO, and it almost immediately would appear in your Google SERP. So, there should be a technique. Some kind of publisher/subscriber pattern. For example, SO may have this right to directly call a Google Bot, for newly created questions. Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 8:59
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    Google will crawl a site every 30 seconds if it is popular enough and has lots of fresh content.
    – John Conde
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 11:40

First of all pigeons think very highly of the Stack Overflow. But according to Jeff's post it's not all rose pedals for them.This is an example of some thing they did to do better at Google.

But seriously go lookup pageranking, site indexing and be more specific about what's wrong, or where you would like to improve.


Stack Overflow and other Stack Exchange websites are favored by Google and other search engines because of the following:

  • great content architecture and structure,
  • a lot of original content,
  • many quality inbound/outbound links,
  • appropriate on-page keywords/tags,
  • an internal rating system,
  • dedicated community moderation,
  • new content all the time.

Due to this, and the amount of new information appearing on Stack Exchange every moment, Google indexes Stack Overflow at 10 times per second — which means that any changes or new posts are picked up very soon.

  • @Baumr I just read the original answer and it sais Google's crawler is now indexing us at, ... 10 requests per second this is very different from indexing SO at 10 times per second
    – Daniel W.
    Commented Mar 27, 2014 at 11:25
  • I don't think the author of Business Insider meant it in the way that you are interpreting it: that the whole SO site is indexed 10x in a second. You can, however, contact him and ask. If you're wondering: no, I did not interpret it that way either hence why I said: "Google indexes Stack Overflow at 10 times per second"
    – Baumr
    Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 2:21

It is possible to ping Google when new content is posted. WordPress has this feature built in StackOverflow and other StackExchange sites have likely also implemented it.

WordPress uses http://pingomatic.com/ to automate the process. This article also says that Feedburner can be used for that purpose. These aggregate ping services end up pinging Google and other search engines for you. Of course you could just ping the ones that you care about yourself. Google's ping service is at: http://blogsearch.google.com/ping


I've done a LOT of experimenting with Google rankings. I know I posted a question to one of the Stack Exchange sites and was surprised that the question hit my Google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts) withing 24 hours.

Google always ranks Wikipedia and Stack Overflow really highly. I believe there are two reasons for this.

  1. Neither of these two sites "sell" anything. They are informational. Google knows that any Wikipedia page has no hidden agenda. Anyone who visits one of their pages will find what they are looking for, probably more than they are looking for.

  2. Both of these sites are constantly being updated and rely on content created by intelligent users who aren't selling anything. Again, 99% of answers really shed light on a myriad of topics.

  • 3
    Unfortunately selling something has nothing to do with rankings. Content is content whether it is an article, a picture, a product, etc. Those sites rank well because they have quality content and lots of incoming links (amongst other things).
    – John Conde
    Commented Mar 9, 2011 at 17:20
  • Perhaps you are correct, in one respect. But, said "content is content" and then, in the next sentence, you qualified content, saying "they have quality content". Sites that sell tend to not have quality content. They tend to be ultra-focused and spammy. There is a direct relationship between "not selling" and quality content and high rankings. You don't see that?
    – Evik James
    Commented Mar 9, 2011 at 17:41
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    No, I do not. Lots of sites sell stuff and aren't spammy at all. Plus there are sites that sell stuff and rank well... when someone is looking for a product. Informational sites and ecommerce sites do not often cross paths and would explain why you don't see the two in the same search results.
    – John Conde
    Commented Mar 9, 2011 at 17:44
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    I don't think selling means spammy, but spammy does probably mean selling. So they are related, but only in one direction. I do think that the high quality of information from SO and Wikipedia and similar sites helps their high rankings, but Amazon also gets ranked pretty high on searches relavent to items it sells. Commented Mar 9, 2011 at 17:50
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    I said: "They tend to be ultra-focused and spammy". Do you NOT see the word "tend"? If I say "it tends to be warm in Hawaii", this should NOT be confused with "it's warm in Hawii RIGHT NOW". Read what I wrote, not what you thought I meant. Don't you owe me that?
    – Evik James
    Commented Mar 9, 2011 at 21:59

I don't think this is PR related because my unrated blog (PR0), when I post a new article, it does appear in the google search a few minutes after I first submit the new post.

IMO this is because I use a sitemap.xml + webmastertools + ping google about changes in the sitemap.

  • Note that Google's public PR (PageRank) figures have not been updated for years, so even if you read it as 0, that might not be the true figure. (I believe this is to try to prevent people from dwelling too much on PR, when there are other more important SEO factors to consider. PR is just one of many metrics that Google uses.)
    – MrWhite
    Commented Jan 17, 2017 at 13:20

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