Interesting experiment via +John Eich
Reshared text:How items are ranked in the Google+ search engine
As Google+ continues to grow, more and more people will be using the built-in search feature. After quite a bit of crude trial and error this morning, we've come to a few conclusions that show how Google chooses to rank items in the Google+ search area.
It started when I realized that hashtags (#) are ignored in search results. A search for "#tips" will return everything for "tips" (not just "#tips"). Digging into that led to some interesting results.Note: We're just looking at the Everything --> "Best of" results for now.
The bottom line, as expected, is that items from people in your circles are given much higher weight than other items
We did some searches for the phrase "obama". +Ahmed Zeeshan
had written a post yesterday that mentioned him, so we checked from various accounts to see where his post ranked for that phrase.
The two primary accounts we used:
Account "A", which has Ahmed in a circle and created the discussion post.
Account "B", which does not have Ahmed in a circle.
Searching for "obama" early on found it in position #1 for account A, but position #12 for account B. Seems about right. Others had similar results based on whether he was in their circles or not.
One user hadn't circled Ahmed, so the result was around #12. He then added Ahmed to a circle and his post almost immediately went to #1. Search results are changed very quickly to reflect new circle additions.
Another user already had Ahmed in her circles, but Ahmed's post was #2 for her because another friend of hers had the #1 spot due to an unreleated Obama post.=== Keywords can exist solely in the comments ===
Around this time, account B noticed that our thread (created by account A, which didn't mention Obama in the post, only in the comments) was now first
because of comments from people that account B had in circles that were discussing Obama in the comments.
At this point, account A
was showing Ahmed's post #1, and their own discussion post at #11. Account B
was showing account A's discussion post #1 and Ahmed's post at #12.=== Leave a comment to get your friends to see it ===
So what would happen if account A left a comment on Ahmed's post? We suspected that suddenly account B would have a more direct tie to that post and it should rise. Yep, that's exactly what happened.
Now, account B
was still showing account A's post #1, but Ahmed's post had jumped from #12 all the way to #2. Account A
was also seeing their own post at position #5, so it had moved up slightly (not sure why -- more "obama"-related comments, perhaps?)=== Comments fade more quickly ===
A few hours later, things had changed. For account A
, they were still seeing Ahmed's post (now 18 hours old) still as #1. However their own thread, which had new "obama" comments just a few hours earlier, was no long in the top 25.
For account B
, Ahmed's post jumped to #1 and account A's post slipped to #2. Again, this points to the comment keywords fading more quickly than the keywords in the original post.=== Conclusions ===
Based on this limited research, here are some conclusions:
- If you search for a phrase, posts from
A: the past few days
B: from people you follow
C: with the search phrase in the main post
will be near the top.
- Posts with the search phrase in the main post, from people who aren't
in your circles, will rank higher if people in
your circles have left comments on the post.
- Posts without keywords in the main post will still show up for you if the keywords appear in the comments. Presumably, having people that you follow actually post the comments with the keywords will help further.
- Keywords in comments don't last as long. Posts from people I follow (with keywords in the main post) still show up near the top after a few days, but posts that rise to the top due to comment keywords will fade rather quickly.
- Interactions with comments last longer. If a person you follow leaves a comment on a post, that benefit (connecting you to the post) will last longer than the keywords in the comments do.
- We didn't do any testing with +1s, either on posts or comments.
- We also didn't check for keyword density, number of times the keyword was repeated, etc.=== So how do I get my posts to come up higher in the search results ===
Here's a few things, roughly in order of importance, that will help your posts show up near the top of the results for more people.
1 - Include the keyword in the body of your post.
2 - Be recent. Posts older than a few days fall.
3 - Have lots of people put you in their circles. Your posts will appear higher on their lists. (getting people to circle you is a different topic)
4 - Get lots of comments. As you receive more comments, your post will appear higher for other people that happen to have your commentors in their circles. You could also potentially rank higher for keywords that people use in their comments.
That's about it. It was a rather crude test, and their algorithms are certainly changing often, but it's a rough look at how things are sorted.
Thanks to +Ahmed Zeeshan
, +Derek Ross
, +Ryan Waldroop
, +Andy Little
, +Nena Blanco
and others for their help in testing this out.