In the boldly headlined blog entry, "Search quality, continued," Googler Ben Gomes explaines in greater depth what search quality means to Google.
It's too bad Google didn't publish the post before the Un-Search Engine, Un-Cuil, launched.
Gomes has written a clear overview of factors that Google considers to improve search user experience. Those are some of the same factors SEOs take into consideration when consulting on site design:
1. A small page. A small page is quick to download and generally faster for your browser to display. This results in a minimalist design aesthetic; extra fanciness in the interface slows down the page without giving you much benefit.
2. Complex algorithms with a simple presentation. Many search features require a great deal of algorithmic complexity and a vast amount of data analysis to make them work well. The trick is to hide all that complexity behind a clean, intuitive user interface. Spelling correction, snippets, sitelinks and query refinements are examples of features that require sophisticated algorithms and are constantly improving. From the user's point of view search, almost invisibly, just works better.
3. Features that work everywhere. Features must be designed such that the algorithms and presentation can be adapted to work in all languages and countries.
4. Data driven decisions - experiment, experiment, experiment.
We're looking forward to the next installment when Google discusses some of the specific experiments they've done to improve search quality.