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Google's response: "This stuff is tough"  (View post)

Juha-Matti Laurio [PersonRank 10]

Friday, February 26, 2010
14 years ago4,428 views

"Yesterday's news that the European Commission has opened a preliminary inquiry into competition complaints from three companies has generated a lot of questions about how Google's ranking works. Here, Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow responsible for ranking, who has worked in search for almost 20 years, explains the principles behind our algorithm.

Pop quiz. Get ready. You're only going to have a few milliseconds to answer this question, so look sharp. Here goes: "know the way to San Jose?" Now display the answer on a screen that’s about 14 inches wide and 12 inches tall. Find the answer from among billions and billions of documents. Wait a second – is this for directions or are we talking about the song? Too late. Just find the answer and display it. Now on to the next question. Because you'll have to answer hundreds of millions each day to do well at this test. And in case you find yourself getting too good at it, don’t worry: at least 20% of those questions you get every day you’ll have never seen before. Sound hard? Welcome to the wild world of search at Google. More specifically, welcome to the world of ranking.

pointing to Wednesday's post at

Above 1 comments were made in the forum before this was blogged,

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

The three ranking mechanisms (algorithmically-generated results, no query left behind, and keep it simple) are essentially incompatible.

This is why producing a great search engine is such a hard problem, because every factor must be traded off against every other factor. The search engine with the most effective trade-off wins.

Spokane SEO [PersonRank 0]

14 years ago #

Without spammers, serving up great SERPS would be easy for a search engine. They are a victim of their own success in a way. I have been working on getting ranked for a while now, and it is challenging because of so much search spam around real estate terms.

I wonder if the engineering might at Google can figure out a way to incentivize spammers to do something else with their time so they don't manipulate the SERPs so much.

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Jaan Kanellis [PersonRank 3]

14 years ago #

2. No query left behind.

Interesting that you feel fixing one lousy result will fix a host of other issues. i would think the opposite would be true or possible. Identifying a solution specific for one set of results could cause a huge list of problems for many other website that were probably doing nothing wrong.

This type of thinking really helps me understand why mom and pop shops that are doing nothing wrong get de-indexed or demoted all of the time in your index.

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

14 years ago #

There are always people behind the algos. So in case a search result doesn't fit they tweak the algo until it does.

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