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Ever Wonder How Google Comes Up with Ideas for Algorithm Updates?
Monday, August 29, 2011
Continuing with our theme on Google algorithm updates, we came across a nice post from the folks at Google as to how they come up with their algorithm updates. Ever wonder how Google decide upon an algorithm update? This post might shed some light into how Google works to ensure that their search engine continues to provide the best results possible.

It features a brief video with snippets from key Google engineers including Amit Singhal, Scott Huffman and other Google engineers and analysts.  Some key points that you may or may not have known:
  • Google made over 500 changes to their search algorithms last year, as Amit Signhal suggests that equates to nearly two per day. - how many other search engines do you know of that have this level of commitment to their search results?
  • Scott Huffman states that each potential change is analyzed very deeply to try and ensure that it is the right things for users
  • the first step with improving their algorithm always starts with an idea which may be based on a set "motivating searches" which are searches that are not performing as well as Google would like.
    • key ranking engineers then look at what signals or data could be integrated into their algorithm to address these issues
    • all ideas are tested through scientific testing
    • they have "raters" which are external people that have been trained to judge whether one ranking is more relevant or higher quality than another by looking at side-by-side sets of results
    • they use the "Google Sandbox" to test this out on live users as well. 
    • all of the data is rolled up and further looked at by a search analyst
  • in 2010, Google ran over 20,000 different experiments
  • Google conducts launch decision meetings where the leadership of the search team further evaluates the data and makes a decision
  • Google focuses on whether these changes will help users just in the US or based in other various GEOs
Amit Singhal:  "...when you align Google's interests with users interests as we have aligned, good things happen..."

Great  video on an interesting topic.  It is easy to see how Google remains the premier leader in the Search space.

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posted by Jody @ 6:35 AM  
  • At 7:18 AM, Anonymous Nick Stamoulis said…

    Even though Google remains the King of search, they have competition and they know it. Bing has made impressive advances since it was established. This competition is good because it keeps Google on its toes. Google knows that if they don't provide the best user experience, searchers can go elsewhere.

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