Updated February 7, 2017. One of the most important things a business can do with online marketing is understand how search algorithm works. When you take the time to study how the search algorithms operate and why they are important to your business, then you’ll be able to develop a search engine marketing strategy that is both effective and practical. Otherwise, you’re operating in the dark.

Google recently announced on its Webmaster Central Blog that they updated their rater guidelines, and it would be helpful to marketers to read those guidelines to get a better understanding of how their search algorithms work. Before I send you to those, however, keep these three things in mind:

  • These guidelines are NOT instructions to search marketers on how to go about optimizing your web pages;
  • The guidelines are targeted toward search results evaluators hired by Google to assess their algorithm change experiments and rate them according to Google’s assessment of what searchers want when looking for information;
  • The guidelines are made public to help webmasters better understand how Google’s search algorithms operate, but not ever change to the guidelines is published. This particular ratings update is to accommodate the increasing nature of mobile search.

Why Mobile Search is Such a Big Deal

Today, more people have smartphones as not. And more people are using their smartphones to search for information online than not. Google understands that smartphones have become a regular part of most peoples lives. Because of that, smartphones have naturally changed the way people search for information. Did you know people search differently for information when using their smartphone than when using a computer or laptop?

In their updated rating guidelines, Google begins by explaining what a rater does and how important she is to improving search engine results. The guidelines then go on to explain web pages, the nature and importance of web page content, and so on. But some of the most useful information regarding mobile search is later on in the guidelines, under the section titled “Understanding Mobile User Needs.” It starts with a little explanation about what people use their smartphones for and an explanation of the many different environments regarding mobile search. Later on, they explain how to rate intent in a user search query, a task that can be quite complicated due to the ambiguity in many words.

I found this part of the guidelines to be a fascinating read, and its implications go beyond mobile search, but it also illustrates how mobile search has changed search overall. I highly recommend it.