Google clarifies the ‘core’ algorithm

Posted by Rebecca Appleton on 26 Jan, 2016
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Following last week’s confirmation that Google had incorporated Panda into its core algorithm, the search engine has faced a barrage of questions from brands, business owners and SEO experts alike.

We all want to know what exactly does it take to be part of the core algorithm? How is being part of the core algorithm any different to existing as a standalone algorithm? And most importantly, what will the impact be for my search engine rankings?

It’s not known exactly when Google's anti-spam algorithm Panda was incorporated into the core algorithm even though the confirmation came last week. Google said it doesn’t work in real time so while the announcement arrived amid a particularly unsettled period for search results, there isn’t necessarily a correlation between Panda being officially ushered in as a part of the Google core algorithm and the state of flux encountered in several quarters over the course of the last two weekends.

Perhaps anticipating that by clarifying the Panda addition it had muddied the waters even further, Google’s search quality senior strategist Andrey Lipattsev took part in a Google Hangout a few days ago where he attempted to share more information from Google about core algorithms and what that really means to the search and ranking process.

In the Hangout, Lipattsev spoke at length about what being part of a core algorithm means in real terms. He downplayed the significance of last week’s news announcement, explaining that just because something (in this case Panda) evolves to become part of the core algorithm, it doesn’t mean that the functionality of that same thing has changed. In Lipattsev’s words:

“What are we talking about here [with regards to the core algorithm]… it’s less about the functionality of the thing which probably doesn’t change that much over time. It’s more about how we perceive it in the context of the algorithm itself. Do we still think this is an experimental thing which has been running for a while and we’re still not sure how long it is going to last or is it …like PageRank, it is part of it, it is always going to be there at least in the foreseeable future and therefore in certain context we might call it [a] core part of the algorithm.”

So, while the news of Panda now being a standard part of the core is new to us, this news doesn’t necessarily mean that Panda has undergone a huge revolution in terms of what it does and what it looks for or how it impact sites. It hasn’t necessarily been updated or undergone a major update, though it may be tweaked continuously. Its induction to the core means that it simply works so this shouldn’t be a cause for concern amongst those worried about losing ranking positions. Reading between the lines, the core is where algorithms which have worked, which have proven their worth, which are reliable and are not a fad, end up.

If you would like to hear more, you can watch the full Google Hangout with Lipattsev on YouTube here:

What do you think of Lipattsev’s explanation? Does it give you more confidence in last week’s announcement?


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