Sgt_Kickaxe - 5:36 am on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)
That's true, anallawalla, it's not one algo fits all. In some ways I'd wager it's more like the stock market where stocks/sites are grouped into indexes and you've got your leaders in each individual sector. All of your metrics are weighed and measured over time by an algo much like stockbrokers analyze company performance results.
If the above analogy is accurate then Google will have perfected their keyword groupings much the same as the stock market indexes individual companies into their appropriate sector. Like the stock market, if your sector is faltering or gaining in popularity your site might be somewhat along for the ride. This system would need to take advertising into account so it's not a total numbers game, it's a metrics improvement game.
Hmmm, you've got me wondering which sites are in my sector. If I can find the sites that didn't advertise(I didn't) and that have relatively the same traffic and social metrics I would expect to see their traffic graph rise and fall at the same rates mine did this year.
Of course changes at Google, index adjustments and metrics tweaks would skew those graphs a bit it should be relatively easy to say "yup, that site is in my sector" anyway. If social signals become more important what will become less important?