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Google Offers Insights Into How It Deals With Spam During Podcast Google Uses Machine Learning to Tackle Spam

author image Written by: Nicole McCormick           Categories - In The News, SEO

Less than a week after rolling out part two of its “Spam Update,” Google has provided some insight into how the search engine tackles spam.

 In a recent podcast, Google’s John Mueller, Gary Illyes, Martin Splitt, and Duy Nguyen from the Google search quality team, discussed Google’s methods for ranking search results and preventing and dealing with spam content.

READ MORE: Google Confirms New “Spam” Algorithm Update

An interesting piece of information provided by Nguyen was that Google uses machine learning models to deal with “obvious” spam.

He explained that Google uses a “very effective and comprehensive machine-learning model that basically took care of most of the obvious spam.” This machine learning model enables the Google search quality team to focus on “more important work,” such as hacked spam, online scams, and other issues that machine learning models may not pick up on.

Google’s machine learning models are also constantly working on improving their spam prevention methods when it comes to search by analyzing years’ worth of data.

Insights into How Google Ranks Search Results

Mueller, Illyes, Splitt, and Nguyen also discussed how search rankings work, diving into Google’s methodology.

Here is a summary of what was discussed:

Google’s first step is to compile a shortlist of around 1,000 results for any given query. Google generates this list based on how topical and relevant the query and the content on a particular page is.

From this list, Google will apply ranking signals and factors to come up with an even shorter list. According to Illyes, this part is where “the magic” happens.

Google then “assigns a number and we calculate that number using the signals that we collected during indexing plus the other signals. And then essentially, what you see in the results is a reverse order based on those numbers that we assigned,” said Illyes.

Algorithms that are most commonly used are RankBrain and the HTTPS boost, however, Illyes explained that HTTPS doesn’t have the capability to rearrange search results.

So, there you have it. Are you at all surprised by these insights or have you always had a feeling that this is how Google does things?

Nicole McCormick

Nicole is a wordsmith wizard, passionate about the written word and an avid storyteller who uses creatively crafted prose to help bring your brand’s story to the next level. A former journalist with writing credits in both local and national news publications and a few newspaper awards under her belt, Nicole now enjoys telling your stories and finding new and creative ways to create valuable content that resonates with audiences in the digital landscape.

Google Continues Rolling Out Out Ranking Updates Amid a Global Pandemic

05/04/2020

Google Algorithm Update Causes Noticeable Ranking Fluctuations

We may be in the midst of a global pandemic, but that hasn’t slowed Google from continuing to roll out algorithm updates that cause search rankings to flutter. Based on reported ranking fluctuations along with some industry chatter, a Google algorithm update may have rolled out within the past week or so, according to Search Engine Round Table. It’s hard to tell what the full impact of this update has been, as chatter within the SEO community was overshadowed by a Google Analytics issue that occurred around the same time. Plus, as always, Google has remained tight-lipped, neither confirming nor denying that such an update has even taken place. However, it’s fair to say an update did, in fact, occur based on the following charts from various tracking tools. ranking fluctuations from google update April 2020 Source: SEMRush ranking fluctuations from google update April 2020 Source: Algoroo ranking fluctuations from google update April 2020 Source: Cognitive SEO To give you an even better idea of how this supposed update is affecting those within the industry, here’s a look at a few snippets taken from the forum over at WebmasterWorld: “Woke up today to a total google reshuffle in my niche…extreme ranking loss and lots of low quality (spam link) sites ranking high.” “I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a quick re-shuffle and shuffle back to ordinary. I was nowhere in top 100 for any of my highest keywords and now strongest ones are back in top 10 as before.” “Yup seen a few obvious spam sites rising. One link I saw rise out of no where redirects to a #*$! site and if you look at the google cache of the page it is some stolen page with the content words just jumbled (it doesn’t make sense anymore). Not sure how Google cannot still detect these types of sites.” “Google tanked the rankings for nearly all search terms. Feels like the whole domain has been punished for some random reason. Unfortunately, it has not recovered rankings yet like StoneSolid’s did. Depressing.” As you can see, it doesn’t appear this update has been too volatile compared previous updates, but it definitely has had a noticeable effect. In the absence of actual advice from the big guy upstairs, AKA Google, there isn’t anything actionable you can do to offset the impact of this update, except continue to produce quality content and track any ranking fluctuations. So, in the meantime, sit tight and keep an eye on your rankings until things bounce back.

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Roses, Chocolate, and Ranking Fluctuations – Google Rolls Out Valentines Day Local Update

02/19/2020

Latest Unconfirmed Google Algorithm Update Impacting Local Rankings

Google sure knows how to keep us on our toes. After last week’s massive update, it appears as if another algorithm update has been rolling in, this time affecting local rankings such as local business listings in the Google local packs and Google Maps results. According to Search Engine Roundtable, the rollout appears to have began on February 14th, because nothing says I love you like intense ranking fluctuations accompanying your romantic Valentines Day dinner. https://twitter.com/loomdigital/status/1230090809682337792 But just like last time, Google has yet to officially confirm that an update has taken place. So, how do we know an update is rolling out? Search Engine Roundtable cited chatter within the local SEO community along with fluctuations being reported by the BrightLocal Local Rankflux tool as indicators for an algorithm update. The BrightLocal tool tracks daily ranking movements across 14,000+ keywords and helps to measure volatility and pick up on any suspected algorithm updates. Here is what the tool has been reporting up until today: Brightlocal tool showing ranking fluctuations Source: BrightLocal What this shows is some pretty big fluctuations in rankings for local results in Google Search starting on February 14th and continuing through until today. It should be noted that this update is separate from the other big algorithm update we reported on last week. However, it could be related to another previous local update from last week. On February 11th, Search Engine Roundtable had reported about another update that took place the week prior that had also affected rankings. Here’s what The BrightLocal Local Rank Flux chart was showing around that time: BrightLocal tool ranking fluctuations up to February 8 Source: BrightLocal It’s important to mention that prior to this unconfirmed update, there hadn’t been a confirmed local update from Google since November 2019. And when Google finally did confirm that update, nearly a month had passed. So, it’s safe to say that you can stop holding your breath for now, because we likely won’t get much word, if any, from Google about the latest local update.

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