For some time, the degree to which user behavior has affected Google’s search algorithms have been speculated, and companies have been characteristically reluctant to elaborate on this relationship. Almost instantaneous changes to trending search results has a number of SEOs believing that Google’s automated systems do kick in when search intent shifts.
“Seeing [the intent behind a query change] over and over again, where something becomes newsworthy and it shifts the whole SERP [search engine results page] — Google’s not in there doing that; they’re not in there changing that every day,” said Dr. Pete Meyers, marketing scientist at Moz, during our search disruption session of Live with Search Engine Land.
Paul Haahr responded to the idea, in a Twitter discussion, that machine learning models adapt in such a way over the short term. He said that it was “interesting speculation,” but didn’t provide any more detail on if searcher behavior could affect Google’s algorithms.
“I think Google can be very specific with their answers,” Meyers said. “The idea that what’s happening with searcher behavior is not causing these shifts means that Google is in there writing that code for every intent, every day, and I can’t believe that’s what’s happening,” he said, talking about the nature of the changes, noting that these changes are unlike what has occurred with coronavirus-related search results, where sites are frequently being rewritten, inventory is always shifting, and new stories are being published at a fast rate. Basically, the changes can be attributed to the site.