November 22, 2011
Providing Users with Search Algorithm Information
Matt Cutts, Distinguished Engineer, recaps ten changes to Google's algorithm implemented during the last couple of weeks on Google's official Inside Search blog including, for example:
Snippets with more page content and less header/menu content: This change helps us choose more relevant text to use in snippets. As we improve our understanding of web page structure, we are now more likely to pick text from the actual page content, and less likely to use text that is part of a header or menu.
Better page titles in search results by de-duplicating boilerplate anchors: We look at a number of signals when generating a page’s title. One signal is the anchor text in links pointing to the page. We found that boilerplate links with duplicated anchor text are not as relevant, so we are putting less emphasis on these. The result is more relevant titles that are specific to the page’s content.
Refining official page detection: We try hard to give our users the most relevant and authoritative results. With this change, we adjusted how we attempt to determine which pages are official. This will tend to rank official websites even higher in our ranking.
Improvements to date-restricted queries: We changed how we handle result freshness for queries where a user has chosen a specific date range. This helps ensure that users get the results that are most relevant for the date range that they specify.
Very expensive legal SE vendors take note. The "secret sauce" is not publicly disclosed by providing this sort of information. But it could help users and law librarian-instructors acquire a better understanding of today's new legal SEs. Since some of our very expensive legal vendors are re-engineering their SEs for the Google generation, perhaps they should steal another idea from Google by creating their own official "inside search" blogs. [JH]