Google has announced a massive change to its search ranking algorithm, one that has affected roughly 35% of searches. To improve relevancy, Google is now making an effort to determine whether a query will should return a result that is more up-to-date, presenting “fresh” search results rather than more established but older links.
Google considers user intent. If you’re searching for something like “olympics”, you’re more than likely looking for information related to the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics as opposed to older or more general information. Google search now has the intelligence to determine the appropriate result.
With the launch of Google+, posts are indexed and the network provides Google with real-time search data, signals that are needed to help determine both timeliness and relevance. Making changes to the search algorithm is one part of a bigger picture; social data adds a clearer picture of what’s happening throughout the Web now.
The recent updates are an extension of Google Caffeine, a search infrastructure that originally came online back in 2009. Caffeine fully launched in June 2010 resulting in “50% fresher results.” Google has refined “refreshness” by breaking content into three major categories:
Recent events or popular topics: things like breaking news, stories that may have been published within minutes.
Regularly recurring events: elections, sports games or conferences.
Frequently updated information: things such as product reviews.
Google’s Real-Time Search Improves Relevancy
Google is all about present useful, relevant results to users. As pictured above, Google’s goal is to drive us crazy. Just kidding. Search results are no longer about presenting a stack of information by rank, they want to use information and data to determine what results will be most relevant for each search query. This requires Google to index in real time. Caffeine has accomplished this from the crawling side, and Google is working hard to use publishing systems that are designed to alert the search index of new content much more quickly.
Social networks provide a ton of value for search, because users are doing the real-time publishing and alerting work on their own, making the indexing of that relevant content much easier for Google, Twitter and Facebook.
Google+ Powers Real-Time Search
Google had originally partnered with Twitter back in 2009 to launch real-time search. Unfortunately for Google, the deal expired and Google was forced to shut down real-time search this past summer. It simply wasn’t of benefit to either party. Twitter has acquired search companies for its own development purposes, and Google has launched Google+, their own social network.
With Google+ posts now present in search results, Google is working with its own real-time search using the social network. Through the collection of social signals, Google will be able to improve the “freshness” of its search results by adding a human touch.
Have you tried doing a Google search to see timely results? Check it out and let us know what you think!