dickbaker - 9:49 pm on May 16, 2010 (gmt 0)
I plan to study the current SERPs as much as possible while their algorithmic underwear is still showing.
But what to study? I'm looking at the number of inbound links to a variety of sites, the age of those sites, estimated traffic, number of pages on the site, and a couple of other factors. For most of the first-page sites, these factors in various combinations seem to explain the sites' rankings. It's when some site that has 10% of the links, 50% of the pages, and is 25% as old as the other sites pops on to the first page that I get confused.
I'll look at a site like that and make a note that it won't last, that it might stay but won't go above #6, or that it might come and go between pages one and two. More often than not I'm right, but some sites are really throwing me off right now.
I'd measure link freshness, but I don't know where to find a site's link history.