Google’s summit – highlights and insights
Sara Sargent
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A Meeting of Minds at Google’s Webmaster Summit

Understanding the process that drives Google Search isn’t easy. Even Google affiliates and experts in the industry have a difficult time understanding exactly how the Google search engine works. The search engine giant is aware of this, however, and recently made a move to simplify search engine comprehension. On November 4th, the company held an all-day Google Webmaster summit at their California headquarters (the “Googleplex.”)

The Google Webmaster Conference Product Summit was designed to ease communications between the SEO industry and its own product designers. It was a two-way street. SEO industry members were able to learn more about how the “why” behind the search engine’s product designs. Product designers, too, had the opportunity to receive real-time feedback on new and old structures.

Didn’t make it to Google’s latest summit? Here’s what you missed.

Google and Rendering

With code online changing at a near-constant rate, Google needs multi-lingual capabilities. Thanks to the summit, we know that Google’s product designers are currently undertaking rendering projects in response to both cryptocurrency miners and concerned users.

Rendering, according to the product designers at the summit, enables Google to read a web page the same way a person would. This process is complicated by the many existing web portals (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, etc), each of which processes content just a little differently.

Given the trillions of pages of content that Google renders and indexes, this “readability” process is still new territory. The continual nature of this process requires Google’s algorithm to be constantly learning. Now, all those frequent algorithm updates and changes make a little more sense.

Google’s Deduplication Concerns

Google’s product designers also once again expressed concern about duplicate content online. Projects are underway to deduplicate Google’s search engine archives. What does that process look like? At the moment, the designers are helping the applicable algorithms identify and cluster pages that look structurally and contextually similar.

Ultimately, the algorithm will be able to analyze these clusters and pull only the most relevant content to share. It is (clearly) a complex process, because this sort of clustering requires significant analysis of existing and new online content. The main concern right now? According to the designers, hijacking is a major concern, along with UX and future webmaster signals.

Google and Synonym Search

How does Google sort and assess queries? According to product designers, it’s a complicated process of synonym search. Currently, the engine is programmed to search by adding “or” operators to potential searches. Google’s search engine then takes queries’ contexts into account before delivering an applicable SERP.

A surprising new player has disrupted this idea, though: emojis. For example, a peach emoji now serves as both visual representation and synonym for an edible peach—and then, there’s the other context to consider. Is emoji search in the works? Yes, according to Google. Designers are in the process of adding emojis both to synonym search and to the general search index. Hopefully, we’ll see improved accuracy in SERPs in upcoming months as a result.

While the inner workings of Google’s algorithm and product designers may still remain complex, the most recent Google summit has clarified some of its core operations. We’ll always need to stay on our toes, of course. But when it comes to Google’s changes, it’s easier to see now where those changes are coming from.

Image attribution: diy13- stock.adobe.com

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