Google Ranking Philosophy

July 09, 2008

Today, Google posted (finally) the first in what was promised (two months ago) to be a regular series of posts intended to open up more about aspects of internal operations. The original post was laden with disclaimers to the effect that certain truths could not be revealed due to the nature of their business. Since then, I've been waiting (not alone, I'm sure) to see just how much Google would be willing to share.

This first entry is presented by Amit Singhal, Google Fellow in charge of ranking, and is described as "sharing the philosophies behind google search." A nice place to start, I suppose, but certainly we shouldn't expect much meat. Amit neatly summerizes this philosophy as follows:

  1. Best locally relevant results served globally.
  2. Keep it simple.
  3. No manual intervention.

Amit goes on to explain each in more detail, but you can get the gist in just those three points and not much more is revealed. That said, Rule #3 raises some questions. In the post, Amit says:

"In our view, the web is built by people. ... We are using all this human contribution through our algorithms. The final ordering of the results is decided by our algorithms using the contributions of the greater Internet community, not manually by us. We believe that the subjective judgment of any individual is, well ... subjective, and information distilled by our algorithms from the vast amount of human knowledge encoded in the web pages and their links is better than individual subjectivity."

My view on this is somewhat different and I believe this is the crux of where current search technology has its issues. I've discussed this before, but I don't believe you can answer a subjective question by objective means. The best any outsider knows about the current relevancy algorithms is that it weights heavily the qualities of on-page text, meta data, and inbound links. While humans are creating these items, there simply isn't enough subjective information directly related to the search term to accurately use a quantitative measurement system. That is, there is nothing here that measures how many searchers found a given page relevant for a given search term.

Perhaps we'll gain more insight in Amit's follow up post where we're promised details on the technologies behind the ranking systems. I just hope we don't have to wait another two months.



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I don't believe everything Google say but i follow some because i know its true through common sense.

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Kudos to Google for having this kind of philosophy and I like how Google is handling the website rankings.

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Excellent post. I’m so glad that I’ve stumbled upon this post really helped me a lot, really gives me useful informations I need to know.
A big thanks to your informative post here.

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As i go through your post, which seems to be really very much interesting as well as surprising too. Its really a great honour to get this information.

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Ofcourse, Google is an ocean..I can say that everyone definitely needs Google in all their needs.

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Although this is an older post it is still relevant today build sites for people first and Google second.


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