Google, for a little while, used to be more transparent about the changes it made to its algorithm. Then it became much less transparent, and is now saying that people were simply too “bored” to want to know about such changes.
Do you believe that’s really why Google has become less transparent about changes? Were you bored of hearing about what Google was doing to its algorithm? Let us know in the comments.
In December of 2011, Google announced what it described as a “monthly series on algorithm changes” on its Inside Search blog. Google started posting monthly lists of what it referred to as “search quality highlights”. These provided perhaps the most transparency into how Google changes its algorithm that the company has ever provided.
The lists weren’t exactly a complete look at Google’s secret ranking sauce, but it did give those interested plenty of insight into the kinds of changes Google was making from month to month. Some were big, and some were small.
If nothing else, they gave you a general sense of the kinds of areas Google was looking at during a particular time period. For example, there was a period when many of the specific changes Google was making were directly related to how it handles synonyms.
Google described the lists as an attempt to “push the envelope when it comes to transparency.” They started off delivering the lists one a month as promised. Eventually, they started coming out much more slowly. For a while, they came out every other month, with multiple lists at a time. Then, they just stopped coming.
It’s been roughly a year and a half since Google released one of these “transparency” lists. The last one was on October 4th of 2012.
Google never bothered to explain why it stopped putting out the lists, though I reached out for comment on the matter multiple times. That is until now.
To that, Cutts responded, “Except we did just that for a year, blogging all the changes we released. Eventually the world got bored.”
Kohn and Barry Scwhartz – two of the more well-known search bloggers – both said they were not bored. Matt Dimock said it’s not true, and that he found the updates “very useful”. Others chimed in to express similar sentiments.
I know I was so bored with it that I blogged about every single list (usually with multiple articles on different changes), and multiple times about how they stopped putting the lists out, only to be completely ignored when I asked about it (and Google typically responds to my requests for comment, though they still haven’t answered for the screwed up YouTube embed code yet either. It’s still screwed up, by the way.).
Moz’s Keri Morgret asked Cutts if he would blog it again if Moz promised to have Rand Fishkin retweet every post. Apparently Moz, one of the most respected entities in search, wasn’t bored either.
Cutts made no indication that the lists would be back, though there is clearly interest in them. It’s nice that someone at Google at least finally acknowledged the lists at all.
Either way, apparently everyone finds transparency boring. Right.
Do you think the “world was bored” with knowing about changes Google made to its algorithm? Would you like to see Google bring back the monthly lists? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Image via YouTube