How Google’s Algorithm Rules the Web

This is a fantastic article from Wired about how Google works. Check this out:

The Audrey Fino failure led Singhal on a multiyear quest to improve the way the system deals with names — which account for 8 percent of all searches. To crack it, he had to master the black art of “bi-gram breakage” — that is, separating multiple words into discrete units. For instance, “new york” represents two words that go together (a bi-gram). But so would the three words in “new york times,” which clearly indicate a different kind of search. And everything changes when the query is “new york times square.” Humans can make these distinctions instantly, but Google does not have a Brazil-like back room with hundreds of thousands of cubicle jockeys. It relies on algorithms.

Can using your competitor’s name take traffic from their site?

I’ve been asked if using competitor information can help you ‘steal’ traffic from them, and my answer has always been ‘not really.’ Here’s why: (more…)