When I got home on Friday I started to put the mac away for the night and just relax, but for some reason I decided to check some email and see what was happening on Twitter. Boy, was I glad I did that. On Twitter, Brad Gosse (his last name rhymes with boss) had a tweet that really caught my attention, “Google Algorithm Updates http://su.pr/ADk8o7”. The link took me to his website where a video was posted:
Needless to say I went right out and picked up a copy. The article alone is worth the price of the magazine (about $5 US). One of Wired magazine’s senior writers interviewed a few members of Google’s team and a member of Bing was also interviewed. This is a really great piece, I recommend reading it. One of the points mentioned in the article that Brad brought up is the varying results for the same term when searching on Google. Since I’m not giving away anything Brad hasn’t already from the article, I feel okay expounding on my opinion about one revelation of the many revealed in Wired.
Google revealed they are placing users in two different algorithms when performing searches. One is the normal or “control” algorithm and the other is the “test”. If a user gets different results than normal the chances are he/she just got to experience the test algorithm. I was sharing this news with a client who asked me days earlier why he got different results in Google from time to time. So I called him back and explained what he might be experiencing. He responded, “What? You mean they are intentionally skewing the results? That’s not fun.” And I have to admit for a split second I agreed with him.
Then I realized as an SEO what Google was potentially offering me, a behind the scenes look at what the engineers are testing. Now I realize this is just a test algorithm which means there is no guarantee that the changes will be made. Not to mention this same articles tells us that Google is planning 550 changes this year. But the fact remain, we are being given a chance to see what is being tested. So how can you use this to your advantage? The next time you notice Google providing some different search results ask yourself these questions:
- How are these results different from the usual?
- Are these results better than what I normally find? If so how?
- Would these new alerts benefit my clients? What challenges would they present?
I realize that this may seem trivial, attempting to look at what Google is testing in order to predict what may come. Ultimately no one knows what Google will do but Google. But come on, you can’t tell me a chance to see what is being tested isn’t intriguing. Part of SEO is staying on top of trends and changes. Google is offering us a chance to look at what is being considered. I think this is incredible. What do you think?
Joshua Titsworth is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Chemidex. Josh maintains the SEO and SMM in addition to assisting with the PPC and Google Analytics reporting. While off the clock he volunteers as a SEO consult to his church in Olathe, KS, as well as to other non-profits in the area. When M.I.A. online he can be found roaming golf courses in search of his shanked golf balls. You can touch base with Josh on his twitter account @joshuatitsworth.