Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Google's reranking of Twitter: Best explanation ever

Wallace Shawn as Vizzini in the movie "The Princess Bride" gives the best explanation ever given of how Google re-ranks sites when it decides a new algorithm is needed after deciding a new way of looking at things is needed:

So Google re-ranks sites when it is using a new algorithm to try and figure out what matters and what doesn't by going back and forth between it's changing views of different sites until it settles on the truth.


Google has rolled out some dramatically new algorithms to better rank Twitter user pages because Twitter is too new for Google to properly understand how it fits in on the web. This causes Twitter user pages to go up and down in their Google Toolbar rank for some time. One of our Twitter sites' ranking has gone 2;4;6;4;6;2 (and isn't done yet, based on the rankings of similar pages) and one of the Twitter founders' pages has gone as low as 0 in the bouncing.

When Google uses a new or newer algorithm to rank sites (which they do all the time) ranks have to go up and down for awhile. In a broad sense, everything on the web links to everything else, so as you re-rank the first sites in a chain, it affects the next sites in the chain, and so forth. The interesting part is when the rankings of the chain come back to affect the first site, and that site's rank can suddenly change dramatically.


  1. AnonymousJuly 15, 2009

    Exactly!! While rankings are mathmatically and scientifically calculated by Google, the art of trying to get higher rankings is NOT a science because there are factors that are uncontrollable, such as the rankings of other sites outside your control. With everyone competing and changing their sites, rankings change, causing ranking changes, etc., as you describe. So all we can do is create a site that is SEO friendly, and hope for the best. Trying to play Google is like trying to determine which goblet is poisoned...

  2. Forget how it ranks Twitter. You just gave a beutiful description on how Google ranks any site.

  3. That is fantastic. I really think that is great :)