Past this week, Google Search Quality Head Amit Singhal gave the initial keynote at SMX London. Even though Matt Cutts has always been the public face of all measures of Google’s unpaid search, his realm is mainly web spam. Singhal has been speaking in public more often (particularly when Panda launched) and supervises search quality. Or, as he designated in his talk, when he came to Google in 2000, he took a look at Sergey Brin’s code and completely rewrote Google’s algorithms for SEO rank.
Singhal spoke about the evolution of Google’s unpaid search algorithms. In 2003, they operated on stemming and synonyms. This destined that those looking for [watch buffy the vampire slayer] [watching buffy the vampire slayer] & [view buffy the vampire slayer] would probably all see the same results. At 2007, came universal search, which was a big leap forward in accepting searcher intent. (Searchers entering [i have a dream] not just are looking for Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, but would like to watch a video of it.)
In the end, he said, site owners should take a hard look at what value their sites are delivering. What is the added value the visitor gets from that site outside just a skeleton answer? Finally, it’s those sites that offer that something extra that Google wants to put up on the first page of search results.