Someone once suggested we should be paying more attention to Amit Singhal instead of always listening to Matt Cutts. Google just published a statement from a “Google Fellow in charge of the ranking team at Google” named Amit Singhal. Last June, Singhal said that Google made about a half-dozen adjustments to Google’s ranking algorithm every week. Now the count is up to just shy of a dozen per week, but those Google engineers have a handle on it:
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.
So Google’s engineers can look at a SERP and they know why each page ranks where it does? Amazing. Given all of the factors, and all of the data one would need to consider to make such a determination, these guys at Google are simply that good? Remarkable.
Sorry but I don’t buy it. There are many obvious cases, and cases where select factors have overriding influence, but in most cases, in order to know why a given page ranks where it does, you must do some very careful review of evidence (content, structure, back links, history) no matter who you are. Yes they probably have great tools, but no, they don’t know why any given page ranks where it does.
You can determine for yourself if the following statement is a lie, deceptive, or just evasive via “tricky” language:
No discussion of Google’s ranking would be complete without asking the common - but misguided! :) - question: “Does Google manually edit its results?” Let me just answer that with our third philosophy: no manual intervention. In our view, the web is built by people. You are the ones creating pages and linking to pages. We are using all this human contribution through our algorithms. The final ordering of the results is decided by our algorithms using the contributions of the greater Internet community, not manually by us.
Hubris and humility matter a great deal in this world. Until I learn of ex-Google engineers rockin’ the SEO world with their magical powers, I’ll maintain my cautious skepticism of the value of Singhal’s communications.