Monday, 18 August 2008

Google discusses search quality

Over the past few months the 'Official Google Blog' has been posting an occasional series of articles about search quality, explaining what the team at Google do and how they develop and maintain the quality of their search rankings. Of course they aren't revealing the inner secrets of Google's algorithm, but there is some more openness being shown to explain to users what some of the main issues are that Google considers important.

The first post back in May provided a background to the search quality team at Google and explained what they do. It introduces the blog posts that will explain more about the process and outlines the factors behind the ways of determining ranking position and trying to relate a user's search query with the correct set of results. It explains how different parts of the search team work on developing and evaluating the ranking process, adding new features and fighting 'webspam'.

The second post appeared over a month later at the start of July and explained more about the process of Google's ranking system. This is based on 3 basic principles that are outlined in some more detail - namely that the best locally relevant results are served globally, the ranking system is kept as simple as possible, and that there should be no manual intervention.

The next blog post was a more technical look at the issue of Information Retrieval and how this technology is used to determine results based on understanding pages, search queries and user intent. The most recent post earlier this month describes the developments in the search experience and how Google has tried to enhance the ways that results are presented to users, including spelling corrections, the presentation of results and text 'snippets' to enable users to assess the listings, and also query refinements or suggestions.

Google will be continuing this series in the future and although this is very much a PR exercise, there are some useful insights in these articles to explain how the search engine works.

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