“No manual intervention” says a Google Fellow of Quality

Amit Singhal, a Google Fellow in charge of their Search Quality Group, just posted a killer entry on the official Google Blog describing their IR philosophy. The first thing that jumps out at the casual SEO reading this is emphasized in bold below:

We work very hard to keep our system simple without compromising on the quality of results. This is an ongoing effort, and a worthy one. We make about ten ranking changes every week and simplicity is a big consideration in launching every change. Our engineers understand exactly why a page was ranked the way it was for a given query. This simple understandable system has allowed us innovate quickly, and it shows. The “keep it simple” philosophy has served us well.

Their philosophy, says Singhal, breaks down to essentially three fairly obvious points:

  1. Best locally relevant results served globally.
  2. Keep it simple.
  3. No manual intervention.

Brilliant. Sounds essentially like Ron Paul’s foreign policy, except for this one little problem:

The second reason we have a principle against manually adjusting our results is that often a broken query is just a symptom of a potential improvement to be made to our ranking algorithm. Improving the underlying algorithm not only improves that one query, it improves an entire class of queries, and often for all languages. I should add, however, that there are clear written policies for websites recommended by Google, and we do take action on sites that are in violation of our policies [emphasis added] or for a small number of other reasons (e.g. legal requirements, child porn, viruses/malware, etc).

Ah, etc., formally known as the good old et cetera, ancient Rome’s own version of the Yadda, Yadda, a meaningless catch-all to let your audience know that you know that there’s more relevant details than you can explicitly state for whatever reason. We all do it, and I don’t fault Amit for doing it here. I think he’s speaking from the depths of his beFellowed heart about Google’s best intentions. However, I think the message is pretty clear if you squint a bit to see it. If you can’t see it, maybe you can hear it. Take it Freddy…

Weeeee wiiiiillllll… Weeeee wiiiiillllll… EDIT YOU!

*boom, boom, clap*

Amit’s blog posts, and any of his other for that matter, are certainly ones to keep an eye on. As he said:

Stay tuned for my followup post, where I will discuss in detail the technologies behind our ranking and show examples of several state-of-the-art ranking techniques in action.

Judging by some of the other numerous and scholarly titles he’s put out, it’s a safe bet his upcoming Google blog posts will be at least as informative as Rand Fishkin’s excellent analysis of the Google patent application or even fellow Fellow Jeff Dean’s detailed speech on Google’s data center architecture at the I/O Conference. We’re watching you, bro… ever-fascinated with just what you’ll do for/to us next.

And remember kids, practice safe serving. Always use a unique IP.

(Shout out to Matt Cutts for the heads-up on this via Twitter.)

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