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Googler: "No search for money" and "near total ranking knowledge"
Whitey




msg:4432753
 10:08 pm on Mar 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

Look, I've worked in search at Google for over 5 years. I know all of the signals that determine how results are ranked and most of the details about how they are used. I know all of the metrics that are used to evaluate and tune ranking. I know nearly everyone who works in ranking, and I've seen a decent fraction of the launch decisions and the metrics supporting them. I'm telling you, with no caveats, that we don't make ranking decisions based on statistics related to revenue. If that doesn't convince you, then I don't know what would.
[news.ycombinator.com...]
[seroundtable.com...]

 

tedster




msg:4432789
 11:38 pm on Mar 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

Ryan Moulton [the Googler involved here] added that those involved in "search don't even see metrics on how their changes effect ads, let alone make decisions based on them." Ryan then explained that when search results "suck" it's because Google's "system is too stupid" to get the right result.

--------

Ryan has had many good discussions on Hacker News over the years. We also note that one of his first projects as a search engineer was defusing the worst of the "googlebombs".

mrguy




msg:4432790
 11:43 pm on Mar 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

Honestly,

Did you really expect him to say anything else with all the investigations going on right now?

The proof is in the pudding, in this case the results. I guess they just stumbled into record profits and a 500+ a share stock.

tedster




msg:4432797
 11:56 pm on Mar 23, 2012 (gmt 0)

He could have just said nothing. And the same could go for you, too, mrguy, but you couldn't stop yourslef. Your "interpretation" of this issue is pretty common (it's been all over this forum, that's for sure) but no one has published a shred of evidence.

I really buy it. It has the ring of truth to me - gut felt honesty and human communication unfiltered by corporate spin. Whereas, the other point of view has the ring of bitterness rather than real analysis.

mrguy




msg:4432815
 12:48 am on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

It does not surprise me at all that you buy into Tedster.

Yes, I couldn't stop myself either. I just love to stir you Google fans up ;)

ken_b




msg:4432823
 1:39 am on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't necessarily see a conflict between what Moulton is saying here and the serps pages being slanted towards producing income for Google.

Ranking in the organic results is one thing, some other department/group/whoever deciding to shove the organic serps down the page to make room for ads, places, etc seems to be another thing altogether.

I just don't think G is "tweaking" the organic serps to make more money.

.

Whitey




msg:4432825
 1:41 am on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Good point. And the search team probably don't have anything to do with what is rendered on the page or it's overall layout ie Google assets / ads etc.

So in that sense, give the search team a break. But who controls the layout and mix of SERP's to assets - surely this is commercially controlled to an ROI objective?

[edited by: Whitey at 1:43 am (utc) on Mar 24, 2012]

tedster




msg:4432826
 1:42 am on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

just love to stir you Google fans up

Well, MrTroll, it's not exactly a "buy in" to some major bill of goods that goes on with me. I'd never claim that Googlers don't sometimes spin things, or have public relations motives in mind - far from it!

But there's a big difference between that kind of thing and a flat out lie - which is what you (and others) are accusing Ryan Moultano of. He's been a regular contributor at Hacker News for years and I see no reason to see this as anything other than a passionate and humanly hurt expression of someone who feels wrongly accused.

This post of his is not some official announcement or some Youtube help video from Maile Ohye. Those vehicles could be more suspect of being heavily spun. But in this case, what Ryan is saying also lines up with what I actually see. For heaven's sake, when Panda was first released it clearly had a negative impact on Google's Adsense income and the Adsense team even felt blindsided by the whole affair!

If webmasters choose to write this kind of communication off as a mere lie, they are hurting themselves and looking for an easy way to let themselves off the hook. If it's all some vast conspiracy on Google's end, then there's no way for the little guy to succeed. IMO, that attitude is self defeating BS.

[edited by: tedster at 1:47 am (utc) on Mar 24, 2012]

tedster




msg:4432827
 1:46 am on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

And the search team probably don't have a lot to do with what appears on the page or it's overall kayout ie Google assets / ads etc. Who controls this?

There is a dedicated team, but I don't know that I ever heard a name for them. The "layout team" or something like that, I guess. If you make a project of regular screen shots and measure the pixel by pixel changes, you'll see small (VERY small at times) tweaks and tests going on all the time. Also the same goes for the color values, even what shade of black is being used for test, blue for links and green for URLs.

Whitey




msg:4432828
 1:48 am on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

There's always spin out there, but when you corroborate the consensus of dialogue and conversations, you do get some comfort in the difference between a lie, spin and the truth.

I feel confident that this as a genuine statement and the "heart" of the team's intentions. For me the real focus is on the substance of his remarks , rather than the sentiment [ which has some power in it as well].

It's interesting to see that one man can know the ranking factors, and an army of SEO's in the 10's of thousands have such trouble seeing things clearly. Is it just a bunch of tick boxes with weightings associated with each, mashed together into an overall score, and dished up in pre determined manner?

I guess a few folks would like to meet a search Googler for a lunch chat.

[edited by: Whitey at 1:53 am (utc) on Mar 24, 2012]

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4432829
 1:50 am on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Panda rolls in, G profits go through the roof, many small publishers start crying foul as theirs go through the floor. It has to be related somehow, regardless of what Ryan Moulton says.

The short of it: How much our sites will make Google doesn't make a difference when the algorithm is applied to your site but the system itself is designed to ensure that some sites make money for Google. The two are distinctly different.

All of our sites are yielding content to help google generate something of perceived value on which it can place things that generate income. Google places happens to be my pet peeve but there are many ways G makes money on our content.

tedster




msg:4432834
 1:57 am on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

It has to be related somehow, regardless of what Ryan Moulton says.

The all-important difference between correlation and causation! A good analyst is very cautious about jumping from one to the other. Open umbrellas correlate with downpours but they sure do not cause them.

Kenneth2




msg:4432857
 2:49 am on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Now we'll wait and see if the engineer of layout team makes similar statement as follow.

"Our layout change for ads (from right to top) has nothing to do with profit/$$" .... (sound of eggs thrown heard)

A tongue-in-cheek post by kenneth2

Whitey




msg:4432880
 4:18 am on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

wait and see if the engineer of layout team makes similar statement as follow

That's an oxymoron . What else is he/she employed to do - i don't expect anything to come out of that division. Mission is to own every listing supplied with a Google asset, where organic cannot do the job better.

@Tedster - does this de-bunk your theory that i read somewhere on Webmasterworld ( which i previously supported ) that not even Amit Singhal knew the ranking signals within Panda and other algo elements. The implication was, i think , it's way too complex to decipher how the results are put together.

I'm not sure now. Combine this with other Googler remarks recently - such as the subsequently rebuked remark about SEO being unable to scale the way it used to. Perhaps it's a little easier than some of us thought, to pinpoint the major elements and controls. Maybe it's a case of a bit of common community/Google team sense against which the algo is written.

tedster




msg:4432883
 4:56 am on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

The total algorithm is signals PLUS the way those signals are combined and interact. What I currently feel is that not even Amit can say exactly how the signals combine at any moment, or what the end effect in any particular moment will be - especially in a given SERP. In the past year, I've heard Matt Cutts respond to certain observations by saying he would look into it, or that it wasn't intended and he'd like some examples of such and such so they can research it.

I certainly think Amit knows (really, any Google search engineer would) which signals are currently used and which are not.

<added>
They would also know the potential signals - the ones where data is being collected but not currently used.

davedm




msg:4432952
 1:09 pm on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

They're just REALLY lucky then.

This also doesn't explain the universal results (Places, flight search etc) that are getting massively preferential treatment. Those do harm with who Google "compete" by giving Google properties massively preferential exposure in the search results.

londrum




msg:4432962
 1:43 pm on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

i think his quote is a bit disingenious.

if google made an algo change that made users leave in droves, dropping their profits, then of course they'd change it back. because they are a company like any other. the reason they want to improve the SERPs is to attract more users, and hence make more money.

if this new panda thing improved the SERPs, but resulted in a halving of profits, do you really think they wouldn't change it back?

google are not a non-profit organisation. so in that sense, every big algo change has to take on board the change in profit

tedster




msg:4432991
 3:46 pm on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

Clearly, Google bases their organic ranking changes on user data. If user data is good, then that correlates with healthy financial numbers. But the organic search team does not directly track finances.

If webmasters devote themselves to the same goal - user satisfaction - then over time they also can see financial and ranking success, because both Google and Bing are quite focused on measuring how well a site satisfies its visitors.

IMO it's more important to focus on users than it ever was in the past. User focus IS the new SEO.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4433012
 4:06 pm on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

because both Google and Bing are quite focused on measuring how well a site satisfies its visitors.


But using which signals and statistic sources? Just tell me which are and which are not in use and I'd spend far less time on code and far more on content.

[edited by: Sgt_Kickaxe at 4:25 pm (utc) on Mar 24, 2012]

tedster




msg:4433014
 4:14 pm on Mar 24, 2012 (gmt 0)

But using which signals and statistic sources?

Clearly, those have got to be "trade secrets" to a significant degree. But it does make for a useful discussion. I think I'll start another thread for that one.

You're right - they didn't get there, yet. Ryan Moulton said as much, didn't he?

...when search results "suck" it's because Google's "system is too stupid" to get the right result.

Whitey




msg:4433174
 10:57 am on Mar 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I certainly think Amit knows (really, any Google search engineer would) which signals are currently used and which are not.

My interpretation is that Ryan goes way beyond that statement. He say's he has "full ranking" knowledge.

.... would you extend that "knowledge" to any search engineer Bing , Google, in their obsevations of each other, having a "near total ranking knowledge" of each other?

reseller




msg:4433207
 3:46 pm on Mar 25, 2012 (gmt 0)

I think this video might be relevant to current discussion about Google search quality.

Video! The search quality meeting, uncut (annotated)- December 1, 2011 [insidesearch.blogspot.com...]

Enjoy!

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