This morning over at Seattle-based blog SEOmoz, Rand Fishkin asks "What is an Algorithm? How does it apply to the Search Results at Google, Yahoo! & MSN/Live?" The post, How to Track the Evolution of Search Engine Algorithms & Why It’s Important to Do So, amounts to a free clinic regarding the "whys" and "hows" for professionals seeking to garner more organic search traffic.
"The vast majority of search marketers operating in the organic space at least lay claim to "following the latest algorithms" at the search engines, and in 90% of the client pitches I’ve ever heard (or made, for that matter), the subject comes up at least once. However, I think this is still a topic about which there’s not a lot of true understanding and for those new to the field, it’s probably the most daunting aspect of the work. So, to help ease some pain, I figured I’d address many of the most common questions about keeping up with the search engines’ ever-changing mathematical formulas that rank search results."
The article gets to the algorithmic red meat: inherent trust in link metrics, domain trust over the importance of individual pages, temporal analysis of link growth, sandboxing of new websites, fixing blog comment spam, and Google’s recent crackdown on reciprocal tactics.