News | 1/06/2014

4 algorithms that have changed our online world

Posted by James Dempster

I bet you didn’t think you’d see a blog with that title today did you? At Cobb Digital towers we have been discussing the recent Google updates and what it means for our clients. This led on to a wider discussion about how algorithms now dominate our online experience, so as a result here are my top four algorithms for 2014 so far.

1. Google Search

Remember a time when there were a host of search engines that competed for our attention? Now Google is so ubiquitous that it’s become a verb. “Google it” has become a regular part of modern vocabulary and for most people using an alternative is not an option. This shows how important Google algorithms have become for any business wishing to be found online (and who wouldn’t want to?)

In May Google updated Panda with an update succinctly named 4.0. It was aimed at penalising even more of the sites that had thin, duplicate content but as a result internet giants eBay were severely penalised.
This recent update has resulted in headlines such as:

Panda-monium as Google updates key search algorithm” The Register

Panda 4.0 Algorithm Update Rocks Google Search Results” Practical Ecommerce

Read our other SEO blogs for advice about ranking well in these post Panda and Penguin times.

2. Facebook

For a lot of people the Facebook news feed is a great place to waste those 15 minutes waiting for a taxi, on a boring date or waiting for friends to turn up but how is the feed calculated? In April, this algorithm underwent further changes so that posts that were trying to hook us in with ‘like-baiting’ or spammy links were penalised.

Spammy links take users to a website full of ads or widely circulated content and as a result users are less likely to ‘like’ or ‘comment’ so these posts are ignored in the new updated. Unfortunately we can’t find a way to stop your friends from posting updates such as “ooo lovely cup of tea” or other such compelling material. If we find a way we’ll let you know.

3. “People who viewed this item also viewed”

How did Amazon know I wanted a man sized My Little Pony costume?? Oh right.. My purchase history. On a serious note this is one of the more straightforward algorithms to look at. Buy a lot of History books? You’re going to see more of them here. It’s a great way to find content that is related to the things that you like which can only be a good thing. Unless you need your wages for things like food, water and rent.

4. Google AdWords

Two Google mentions in one blog? Afraid so, but the online communities reliance on this titan is reflected in both organic and paid traffic. A recent tweak in the way in which the AdWords text has been changed has met with the cynical reaction that Google have done this merely to make users spend more on their paid option. Google wouldn’t do that would they?