One of the questions I hear a lot is how does Google know if a web site is something that a user/searcher will like if it doesn’t look directly at user behavior signals. So I asked John Mueller of Google if he was a search algorithm, what specific signals would he look at to figure out if a site would lead to a good user experience. His answer was pretty interesting.
In short, John said if a search engine has an overview of most of the web, it can hypothetically “see which type of content is reasonable for which types” of verticals. So if you are comparing a diabeties health site to another, maybe if Google has indexed 500 similar sites, it can understand what a user should expect from such a site? He then explains that maybe it is about specific sub topics on that site, maybe it is about showing more or fewer images, maybe it is about what content is on the site overall.
Here is the video embed but the conversation starts at 37:47 into the video:
Here is the question and answer transcribed:
Barry: If you were a search algorithm, what specific metrics would you use to figure out what is a good user experience on a web site?
John: I don’t know. I probably would have to think about that a bit to see what would work well for me. I mean it is something where if you have an overview of the whole web or kind of a large part of the web and you see which type of content is reasonable for which types of content then that is something where you could potentially infer from that. Like for this particular topic, we need to cover these sub topics, we need to add this information, we need to add these images or fewer images on a page. That is something that perhaps you can look at something like that. I am sure our algorithms are quite a bit more complicated than that.
Forum discussion at YouTube Community.
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