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Google Lets Journalists Sit In On Search Engineers' Meeting

     
9:34 am on Sep 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google has let CNBC journalists sit in on a search engineers' meeting where they discuss the algorithm changes.

It's worth reading the article as it has some interesting points, however, for many of us it won't offer any real surprises.
I did find this more interesting, however, because it's not my experience with Google. I would imagine it's been toned down significantly, but yes, the point about it it not improving results is a correct one, imho.

Also, I very much doubt any detail of changes were discussed, only examples of what tests and changes they are going to make.
Right now, there is very little search personalization and what exists is focused on a user's location or immediate context from a prior search. (If you Googled something related to baseball followed by "The Giants," the results wouldn't surface the football team, for example.)

But after a lot of effort to test personalization, Google has found that it seldom actually improves results.

"A query a user comes with usually has so much context that the opportunity for personalization is just very limited," Nayak says.

[cnbc.com...]
"We are under no illusion that search is perfect," Nayak said. "But we have an absolute commitment to addressing the challenges that we have and continuing to improve it. That's what people are here to do."


The 10,000 raters get some airplay to discuss the tests.
Google Rater Guidelines July 20, 2018 [static.googleusercontent.com...]
3:14 pm on Sept 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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PR.."look squirrel" ..the "real meetings" and policy decisions happen in private in the C-suites ..( or on the golf course ) just like in all the corporations..
3:43 pm on Sept 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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One interesting point raised. Not really surprising, but it does confirm that "pogo sticking" is used. This was long suspected and often denied by Google. Here is the quote:
The team ran through various data points, like what percent of users clicked through a picture-link and then quickly clicked back (a bad sign), or whether there was a significant increase in the time until they made their first interaction with the results (also bad).
4:06 pm on Sept 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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"Pogo sticking" has been categorically denied by some "experts" here..many times.. ;)
4:16 pm on Sept 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I think one needs to look at in context. Is it used as ranking factor? That is, is the there a metric that is monitored on ongoing basis that is then used to rank websites, probably not. So one can deny that "pogo sticking" is a ranking factor. Plausible deniability.

But what is made clear from the article is that is used, at least for algorithm evaluation purposes so at worst it will have an indirect impact on rankings. Regardless of Google or Algo's, if users are getting to your pages and leaving immediately then there is definitely a problem.
4:18 pm on Sept 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This exercise by Google is purely for PR.
I doubt it has given any real secrets away, or told us anything we didn't already know or suspect.
4:53 pm on Sept 20, 2018 (gmt 0)

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This exercise by Google is purely for PR.
I doubt it has given any real secrets away, or told us anything we didn't already know or suspect.

As I said in reply to your original post..However the issue of "pogo sticking" being assessed , or even tracked by Google for any purpose has been vehemently denied by some here ( with some hints from them about "knowing people at G " for a long time..
just search WebmasterWorld ..
site:webmasterworld.com pogo stick
re
I think one needs to look at in context. Is it used as ranking factor? That is, is the there a metric that is monitored on ongoing basis that is then used to rank websites, probably not. So one can deny that "pogo sticking" is a ranking factor. Plausible deniability.

Is it a ranking factor does not necessarily mean that it is monitored on an ongoing basis that is then used to rank websites, but, if pogo sticking is seen by G, obviously they would take a "look at the sites that it is happening to, then when "the algo" is "tweaked", it would also be logical* that they'll go back to any of those sites that were causing that pogo sticking to see if they were still doing it, if those sites are still highly placed in SERPs , G thus knows that aspect of "the tweak" was ineffective..One would expect them to use such behaviour ( rise or fall in SERPs ) from such sites as an indicator ( one of many such ) that they got it right , or wrong..

Pogo sticking by searchers can also be seen as "aversion to food" ( where "food" is what the SERP serves up ) or "outcome does not match expectations"..programmers, being logical and of a scientific mind, will not use random elements to test "if outcome does match expectation", so if the sites that searchers pogo stick out of keep coming up in SERPs , G will eventually lower them in SERPs..and test those sites to see if that happens..

No search engine wants to keep sending people to sites which do not satisfy them, ( which they see with the pogo sticking ) those people would stop using that search engine..So the algo will be adjusted to make the SERPs more satisfying..Pointless serving "greens" if the searcher keeps saying "beeeurk!" when they get served the "greens site"..easier, and more logical to take the "people do not like this item" off the menu..or..place it at the back of the table, or lower down in the SERPs.
10:53 am on Sept 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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A similar peek behind the scenes from 2012:
Video! The search quality meeting, uncut (annotated) [search.googleblog.com]
1:37 pm on Sept 21, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I doubt it has given any real secrets away, or told us anything we didn't already know or suspect.

Was it billed as a revelation of secrets? I very much doubt it. The article is like any other journalist embed/fly on the wall article or documentary It's about providing broad insights, not spilling beans. (Think "documentarians go on deployment with an aircraft carrier," or "sportswriter shadows a football coaching staff.")
4:58 am on Sept 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google is doing something strange, my News website is no longer appearing in the google news search unless I click sort by date. We are still indexed in the news just not showing up for title search or keywords unless you put sort by date.

Other smaller news websites are suffering something similar. its been like this for well over a month and none of my news articles are ranking and I don't cover politics.
5:26 am on Sept 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Oh, bring it on! The more g plays with "journalists" the closer they come to being regulated as PUBLISHERS and that's a whole different set of laws than what they flout right now.

The sooner this is addressed AS IS SHOULD BE the sooner we all can get back to doing BUSINESS. The current cake and eat it too mentality at g has killed off several hundred thousands of websites over the last four years, more if we go back to changes before the barnyard days.

g is trying to look good and all it is doing is exposing itself.

disclaimer: I gave up on g as an income source years ago and never looked back.
8:27 am on Sept 27, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Oh, bring it on! The more g plays with "journalists" the closer they come to being regulated as PUBLISHERS and that's a whole different set of laws than what they flout right now.

Something that people here often forget (or simply don't know): In the U.S., two courts (maybe more) have already ruled that Google's search rankings/algorithms are protected by the First Amendment.
11:52 pm on Oct 3, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Google already showed that the final review is not from a computer algo but a human quality rater the algo just triggers warnings if you have more than a couple you get human reviewed I am guessing and the human will punish your website so no matter what great quality you write or breaking news you will never rank for single keywords again there is no way to break from that unless you build up massive organic backlinks to credible authority sites.
3:15 am on Oct 4, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Something that people here often forget (or simply don't know): In the U.S., two courts (maybe more) have already ruled that Google's search rankings/algorithms are protected by the First Amendment.

Where did that come from? First Amendment has nothing to do with acting as a publisher (entirely different set of laws and regulations). Speak all you like, but if you do so as a publisher, do so at your peril.
8:55 am on Oct 5, 2018 (gmt 0)

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Where did that come from? First Amendment has nothing to do with acting as a publisher (entirely different set of laws and regulations). Speak all you like, but if you do so as a publisher, do so at your peril.

Freedom of the press applies to publishers, not just to reporters and other journalists. In any case, as I pointed out, "In the U.S., two courts (maybe more) have already ruled that Google's search rankings/algorithms are protected by the First Amendment." That's a fact, not an opinion that's open to debate.
7:22 am on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I don't think @tangor was suggesting it was an opinion, just that it was a non sequitur.

Free speech is fine and all (i.e. G can order their results however they like), but defamation, libel, fair-use all have financial implications for a publisher. They have no implication if your are a telecoms company.

Google claims they are like AT&T - not responsible for what someone says on the phone lines. If they lose that protection, it will cost a pretty penny to enact their responsibility as a publisher.
8:01 am on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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I am suggesting Section 230 which ALL CURRENT social media (and search engines, too) rely on to AVOID lawsuits (ie, safe harbor). Than again, I am in the minority here, just a reminder, this will happen sooner or later and I predict soon rather than later.

MEANWHILE, none of that will affect the average webmaster, unless they are doing something other than ecommerce, info, entertainment, sans any personally identifiable commentary.

G, meanwhile, has revealed what they think about all this... [webmasterworld.com...]
10:55 am on Oct 11, 2018 (gmt 0)

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G, meanwhile, has revealed what they think about all this... [webmasterworld.com...]

It's not an official company standpoint and it's not what "they think" either, it's just a research report produced by some folks within the company's Insights Lab. It's not a product of theirs, it's internal research meant to inform the company. Don't turn it into something it's not.