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If SEO, or search engine optimization, is of interest to you then you probably saw the recent Google blog post Introduction to Google Search Quality, if you didn’t then take a look – one of the most interesting parts of the announcement was this paragraph that breaks down some of the tools that Google uses to rank search results:
The most famous part of our ranking algorithm is PageRank, an algorithm developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who founded Google. PageRank is still in use today, but it is now a part of a much larger system. Other parts include language models (the ability to handle phrases, synonyms, diacritics, spelling mistakes, and so on), query models (it’s not just the language, it’s how people use it today), time models (some queries are best answered with a 30-minutes old page, and some are better answered with a page that stood the test of time), and personalized models (not all people want the same thing).
As a searcher this just means that Google is trying it’s best to get you the best results it can. As a new blogger this means that you should really spend your time writing quality content and think about SEO later because until your site and posts get some age and respectability, you’re just not going to get great ranking. For the more established bloggers and SEO experts this sounds like Google gently trying to sway people away from schemes with a firm statement that Google is interested in the best content for the query, and if you can deliver then you’ll get the best rank.
I don’t think that anything ground breaking was revealed in this post no matter how much coverage it’s been getting, but I did notice one link into the article that peaked my interest, and that was someone who worked on the search team posting on their personal blog. Who better to get ideas about SEO from than someone who works on the team? And even if they aren’t telling any secrets on their own blogs, then maybe their site source will shed a little light on the subject. This particular search team member’s blog was a little used and fairly barebones install of WordPress that offered no insights, so I went looking to the only other source I could think of, Matt Cutts.
Matt works for Google and is well known for his SEO expertise and antispam work. I expected a search on Google SEO to put Matt at the top of the list and figured that if you looked at Matt’s blog and his source you could probably get some great tips (I’ll leave this as an exercise to the reader) One surprising thing popped up on those results – at the time I ran the search Matt is listed after a Google help page on the subject and by a site titled Google Ranking Factors – SEO Checklist. A page that lists many of the top confirmed SEO tips and tricks along with the rumors that seems to have some backing. Any site that outranks Matt Cutts on a Google SEO search is certainly doing something right so take a look and I’m sure you’ll learn something useful!