Google: old algorithms not fit for purpose – now it’s social and structure

14 January 2012 at 20:46 Leave a comment

Just read two thoughtful articles by Peter YaredGoogle already knows its search sucks (and is working to fix it) and

Why Google is ditching search. And also John Batelle on It’s not about search anymore its about deals.

These articles look at deeper issues that Google integrating Google+ into search results, but Google+ is. perhaps a wake up call to what’s happening.

Batelle says, “…search is supposed to be about showing the best results to consumers based on objective (or at least defensible and understandable) parameters, parameters unrelated to the search engine itself.”

But as Yared points out, Google has always been a bit social “if it helps, you can think of PageRank as a kind of paleo-social search–just one that moves way too slowly for the modern Web”. Search results are also increasingly gamed and commercialised – via  paid search, content and link farms and organisations’ investment in search engine optimisation.

So Google has been increasingly refocusing its results, reducing the value of signals from PageRank and links and pushing ‘regular’ results down and, often, below the fold.

(Credit: Peter Yared/CNET)

With predictive search – suggesting or pushing users to certain queries, and a greater prominence to answers, Google has the opportunity to reduce the long tail and monetise the search results page further. For organisations seeking to maintain their visibility in Google, there will need to be a move away from ‘traditional’ search engine optimisation. They will need to publish structured data that can seed ‘answers’ and publish content that encourages engagement in social media by potential audiences and, of course, engage themselves.

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