8 Things You Don’t Know About Google’s Algorithm

Let’s start at the beginning. What is an algorithm? Well perhaps the simplest way to describe it is by using a direct quote from Google, “Algorithms are the computer processes and formulas that take your questions and turn them into answers.” So, whenever you search a query, Google goes through trillions of web pages in order to find whatever information you are looking for.

Thus, if there were so algorithms, there would be no way of finding the information you search for. So luckily for us, Google has developed an algorithm that has the ability to read – at a pace we cannot possibly fathom – different signals from all these pages that indicate their ability to answer your search query.

However, it is not only about the words on the page. Algorithms also have the ability to read how recent the content is, as well as how likely it is to be spam and even how it pertains to your specific location.

But let us get started with the main topic – 8 Things You Don’t Know About Google’s Algorithm:

  • Google’s algorithm has had one name since 2013: Hummingbird.

If you keep up with the changes to Google’s algorithm, you have probably seen some colourful names assigned to them, including Panda, Penguin, and Pigeon.

However, these names have only been assigned to the updates made to the overall algorithm itself – which is called Hummingbird.

  • Google makes roughly 500 changes to its algorithm every year.

The famous SEO community known as Moz stated that Google makes between 500-600 changes to its algorithm every year, most of which are so minor that the public does not even hear about them.

However, without those minor changes, Moz has recorded more than 140 updates to the Google algorithm since 2000.

  • One of the original goals was to cut through spam content from advertisers.

At the time of writing the paper, “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine”, Google co-founders, Page and Brin noted, “the predominant business model for commercial search engines is advertising. The goals of the advertising business model do not always correspond to providing quality search to users.”

  • PageRank was named after Larry Page, co-founder of Google.

When the name “PageRank” was assigned to the technology that helps Google rank pages, it seemed intuitive. However, it was in fact named after one of Google’s co-founders, Larry Page

  • There is a Google Dance — but it is not what it sounds like.

Marketing nerds all over the world wish that “The Google” was a physical dance move. Though I reality, Google Dance was the name applied to the sudden changes to its rankings, back when the algorithm used to experience major changes every month.

  • There isn’t really a reason behind the names for updates.

As much as we would love to think that there is an adorable story behind assigning the name “Penguin” to an algorithm update, according to Moz, there is no formal naming method.

  • Algorithms are getting smarter for image searches.

Recently, Google has announced the debut of its newest smartphone – the Pixel. Among its brag-worthy features is the highest rated smartphone camera ever – I know what my next upgrade will be…

Part of what makes this camera so great are its world-class software algorithms. That can be attributed to Pixel’s HDR + algorithm, which allows users to capture the highest quality photos, despite things like lighting or movement conditions.

What does this have to do with Google’s search algorithm? Well, directly nothing. However, it does show even greater progress toward the quest to produce the best content for users, including images.

  • There is a human side – the “search evaluators.”

Google uses human beings to evaluate the quality of its search results. Each year, there are an average of 40,000 of these “precision evaluations”, in which search evaluators determine the quality of results for various searches.

Article published in cooperation with our SEO partner in US.