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SES 2006: Importance Of Quality Scores

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Both Google and Yahoo plan to place more emphasis on quality scores when ranking sites, and that topic quickly dominated the Search Algorithm Research session at SES 2006.

SES 2006: Importance Of Quality Scores
Quality Scores Produce Ecstatic Reactions

Staff writer Doug Caverly of WebProNews filed this exclusive look at the SES 2006 San Jose session on Search Algorithm Research. He also described one of the presenter’s attempts at humor as “falling flat, by and large”; we will refrain from mentioning which one.

If you don’t have a high-quality website right now, the search engines may begin to drop your site in the rankings. Although that was just one of several topics discussed during the session, it was the one that grabbed attention from the attendees.

Jon Glick of Become.com brought up quality during his presentation time at the session. Quality scores as determined by the search engines will have more influence.

“This is something that is being used increasingly,” said Glick, who noted that it is a factor webmasters can control. Both Yahoo and Google have disclosed these will be more important, but there is no hard definition of a quality site.

That caused concern for attendees, who expressed their worries during the question and answer session. Retailers fret that information sites will dominate the premium places at the top of the search engine results.

(An escalating emphasis on quality pages that causes this to happen may increase the demand and competition for paid search ads, and it’s hard to think that isn’t a desirable consequence for Google and Yahoo. – David)

The other speakers looked at the topic of discussion, search algorithms and associated topics. Rand Fishkin, CEO, SEOmoz.org, commented on Google Analytics, the freely available website analysis program Google made available. “It’s a fine program,” he said. “You have to consider yourself being watched.”

Fishkin also noted that not all markets are equal when it comes to quality and ranking. “You can spam like it’s 1999″ in some European markets, he said.

Bill Slawski, president, SEO By The Sea, reviewed a few patent applications during his talk; readers of his excellent blog will be familiar with his material. He singled out patent applications for historical data, bookmark manager, and web accelerator to show where some of the developments will take place or continue to proceed in search.

Slawski noted that search engines are working on understanding people better. He gave the many meanings of the word “blues” as an example, and suggested results based on the music definition may receive a higher ranking if a blues festival were taking place at the time of the query.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

SES 2006: Importance Of Quality Scores
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