As amazing as Google's technological feats are, we have a theory as to why they keep them secret and never let anyone know what they are.
Sure, Google keeps their algorithms a closely guarded secret citing proprietary code, but recently, it occurred to us there might be another reason why Google keeps all those algorithms close to their vest. Maybe it's they don't want people to know how bad they can be at understanding human intentions.
Let us explain.
Our theory is based on the fact that hindsight is always 20/20 vision.
Because Google's algorithms constantly change, they don't want to admit they're changing because "we didn't see that coming!"
For example, on the surface, Google obviously thought back links to a website were a good measure of the value of a website. If a site has lots of links pointing to it, people must like the content. Perfectly reasonable.
But maybe they didn't see that back links were easily manipulated. Once people figured out back links were relevant, companies went on a rampage to load up on back links, figuring it didn't matter where the back link back to their website was coming from, just that there were a ton of them.
Some websites gamed the system so much with back links, they were temporarily blacklisted from Google. So now, not all back links are given the same value and it appears their importance has diminished.
In hindsight, it seems obvious that the more back links you have to a website wouldn't be a good way to determine if a website is worthy of being ranked well in a Google search.
But it would be a bit embarrassing to have to admit it.
We're not saying the brainiacs at Google aren't brilliant!
How the algorithms they create can tell the difference between a popular site (ie: a porn site) and a reputable site (like a medical site) are beyond my comprehension. Plus, I believe their algorithm updates are honestly trying to level the playing field between all companies on the web.
To be clear, I'm not saying I could do any better. Not even close. But of course, Google has the world's greatest minds working on their algorithms.
So what's next in Google's algorithms?
Now, Google's algorithms seem to be giving more weight to what happens ON a website to determine if that site is worthy of being ranked well. If folks stay on the site long, visit often, come back often and view lots of pages, they give that site a digital thumbs up, and leg up, in the rankings. Sounds perfectly reasonable, too. But soon, that too, will be manipulated by scammers
Don't bet on conventional wisdom
Here are just two examples of the conventional wisdom of human nature being wrong.
The movie industry thought DVD sales would ruin their industry, but it only made that industry stronger.
In 1996, "Twister" was the first movie to come out on DVD, much to the horror of the film industry. They were convinced that DVD sales would take people out of the theater and kill their business. But did it? Nope, actually just the opposite.
DVD sales doubled the film industries sales because people now could now rent moves that were no longer in theaters.
Plus, it was the first time people could actually OWN a movie for repeated viewing. More recntly, "Sleepless in Hollywood" a book by Lynda Obst days that 50% of a studio’s profits are represented by the DVD business.
Now of course, DVD sales are dying thanks to Netflix and other steaming video services, but still, an entire industry was wrong about the natural evolution of entertainment.
Conventional wisdom says Facebook is making kids anti-social
Parents, pundits and popular belief is that teenagers are losing their social skills because they spend so much time online. But in a book called "It's complicated" by Danah Boyd, documents a decade of interviewing hundreds of teens about their online lives. And unlike the conventional wisdom, she think kids are not losing their social skills.
Why? Because Boyd has found teenagers would love to socialize face-to-face if the adults would let them.
Why won't they let them? Because younger kids have been over scheduled with karate, piano and ballet. Teens are taking college prep courses, SAT tests and volunteering, to make their resumes look good for college.
Add into the equation, news outlets serving up a constant barrage of horrifying, but rare, child-abductions, youth wilding and predator alerts, "Stranger danger" became a national thing to be worried about. Even though statistics didn't show the world was getting more dangerous, it still made cities start anti-loitering laws and curfews. And parents no longer let their kids run their neighborhood, telling them to "come home by dark," like they did in the 1960s and 70s.
Teens want to socialize face-to-face, if it’s unstructured and away from grown-ups.
Which is why high school students go to football games, not because they like football, but because they can meet in a relatively unstructured environment without parents.
So it's not uncommon: we all get things wrong.
And that's nothing to be ashamed of, but I can understand why you still don't want to admit it. Who would?
So by not publicly saying what Google's algorithms are based on, they don't have to say they got it wrong when the next major update comes out to correct the current algorithms.
But that's just one Columbus web design firm's opinion. We're not saying it's the reason, just one potential scenario. But of course, we could be wrong.
We're a Columbus Ohio web design firm that tries to keep on top of Google's alogorithms every week by keeping up on blogs of the experts in this field. We do it so you don't have to, and in the long run, we do it to make your (and our) websites benefit from our understanding of thier algorithms.
If you'd like to learn more and see how our understanding of Google's algorithms can help your website, lets talk by starting the conversation here.