The ever evolving mind of Google

Since 1997, Google have been evolving their engine and developing their infamous algorithm system by including more elements to take on board when analysing a search, both to help you and to help themselves.

Much like the Google logo has changed subtly over the years, so too has the search engines algorithm.

In essence, Google's algorithm is still very much a work in progress 15 years later and the latest 'Panda' update is pure evidence of that, but these changes aren't just to make our jobs more difficult in the world of SEO and link-building, but also because there is the odd occasion when Google haven't actually thought of everything.

Initially, Google was all about the quantity and quality of incoming links, but a few things since then have stood in their way, albeit temporarily, and these obstacles were giving the search giants even more reason to launch the updates that force a few changes from both sides.

A great example of this occurred back in the early years of Google's booming expansion across the web when they learned that they would have to teach the system the rules of synonyms. To get better search results, Google found that users were searching for varied words from the ones they'd already used.

For example, a user may first search 'toys for toddlers', but then look up 'toys for children' in an attempt to get a better set of results. Google could then catch on that certain words can be interchangeable. There was also the process of realising the use of semantics in how we search, so 'cooked food' is also 'hot food', but Google also needed to know that a 'hot dog' wasn't the same thing as a 'hot puppy'.

The search engine also started using its users as conduits to how a search was performed, using voluntary personalised searches based on the individual's past search history and location to help make their results more useful to them.  So if Google knows you live in Wilmslow and you're often looking up pet supplies for example, you're likely to be given a couple of local pet shops as options for you to click onto on the first page of results.

Twitter and blogging was another big factor in how Google worked (eventually), with real-time searching coming in at the end of 2009 so that every tweet or blog entry was considered during a search and did so as soon as either was published. This is a massive help when it comes to us SEO guys when we're up to a bit of link-building, with our guest posts being immediately available to Google's algorithm and our tweets about them being recognised as soon as we hit the big blue button.