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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Search Experiment Insights from Google!

Posted by @ 9:40 pm

It seems that Google is not wholly obsessed with algorithm changes and ranking updates; they conduct minor experiments too – on a daily basis.

On the Official Google Blog, Engineer Ben Gomes explains that some of Google’s search experiments can be very subtle and they can run up to 200 experiments on Google sites all over the world at any given time.

“Experimentation is a very powerful tool, and we use it very widely to test potential changes to search. At any given time, we run anywhere from 50 to 200 experiments on Google sites all over the world… experimental changes so small that you can barely tell the difference after staring at the page.” Gomes says.

Most of the time, experiments with smaller changes are almost never noticed.

For example, can you tell the difference between the two search results pages below?

Ok, times up… did you pick it? For those that didn’t, the white space around the first search result has increased. Google thinks this makes the first result in picture 2 slightly more visually prominent. Would you agree?

This is just one example of many experiments to make our searching experience easier and more enjoyable, if you want to check out some more click here.

My question is however, are these small experiments actually valuable? Google seems to think so – “We test almost everything, even things that you would think are so small that we could not possibly care (nor could they possibly matter). In fact, small changes do matter, and we do care.”

Courtney Mills Courtney is an online marketing and communications specialist at ineedhits - a leading search engine marketing firm with over 16 years experience. Courtney has been living and breathing online marketing for over 5 years. She specializes in web and communication marketing, while providing news and opinion to online marketing communities.

View Courtney Mills's profile

Discussion (1 - comment)

I understand this. Aesthetics are important but not at a conscious level. We don’t think about it, our brains just assimulate it. Things like balance and colour work at a very subliminal level.

By Anthony James Barnett - author - September 12, 2008

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