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Engineer-speak… not

Posted May 10th, 2011 by Andrew Goodman

Google recently released, to an audience of skeptical marketers and webmasters, an updated explanation of its approach to content quality… breathtaking in its level of detail.

While the cutting-edge cadre of algorithm-ponderers at the top of the SEO industry continue to plumb the depths of PageRank, Google shares stories of happy info-sharing angels with marshmallow wings, sent to guide us through a farmer-fogged universe.

To wit (Google’s words, emphasis Traffick’s):

  • “These are the kinds of questions we ask ourselves as we write algorithms that attempt to assess site quality.”
  • “Think of it as our take at encoding what we think our users want.”

Needless to say, this discloses a lot less than some SEO’s let on. It betrays a certain offhand quality to the soft sciences of relevancy, dwarfed by the incredible competence Google has in computation and technical fields.

It reminds us that the algorithm is subject to change. That gamers and spammers are free to try to chase it if they want. That the algorithm sets itself up to fail, often.

Neither communicating with an audience, nor SEO, lend themselves to precise calculation. Maybe it’s time to stop pretending they do.

Google, by their own admission, provides one “take” on information retrieval. They can’t provide you with a decision tree to work out your business model, or even your next move.

One Response to “Engineer-speak… not”

  1. aaron wall says:

    I do think they help you figure out “your next move” far more often then they are given credit for. How many years ago was Eric Schmidt harping on “brand”? Of course some such moves require a lot of steps, but one expects the algorithms to get more complex as computing & bandwidth get cheaper and Google hoards more data. :)


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