Google’s Matt Cutts: We Don’t Have Different Algorithms For Different Web Position Slots

google-matt-cutts-duplicate-contentGoogle’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, posted a video answering another webmaster question. The question was, “Are results in different positions ranked by different algorithms?”

The answer is no, Google does not have reserve web search results slots or positions for ranking for specific algorithms.

For example, slots 3-5 in the results are not reserved for fresher content, while slots 6-8 are not reserved for more authoritative content. It does not work like that. Google has algorithms that ranks all the search results and the algorithms are not assigned to specific positions.

Here is Matt’s video answer:

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: SEO | Google: Web Search | Top News


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

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  • Thomas

    ok, but what about different niches. the scrutiny for locksmiths and payday loans seem to be tougher than security systems and mortgage loans. i wonder if the super spammy niches have a few extra ranking signals… could be the same for mom and pop terms, but it doesnt seems so. imho

  • Michael Martinez

    Before it gets to the rankings, the search engine runs other algorithms (programs or applications) on the data. A “document classifier” is an algorithm that evaluates a document on the basis of select types of data. Hundreds of document classifiers might contribute evaluations to any given search result (listings 1..1000). It depends on what the system finds that seems relevant to the query.

  • Mark

    Why do Amazon and eBay results pages deserve top-of-Google cement for product queries, even though they have thin content and/or content scraped directly from manufacturer sites?

  • Alexander Hemedinger

    Yea I kinda agree with that. I mean it’s gotten better but still…. I guess it’s just the authority side…..

  • klippers

    He’s keeping the Amazon slot a secret. LOL

  • Rick Bucich

    Skipping social signals and strictly focusing on crawl path and on-page content, Amazon does a truly impressive job. Among other things…
    - Primary nav is SEO friendly and robust (there is also an all category sitemap linked site-wide in top nav)
    - There is a separate breadcrumb to every category level page where a product resides
    - Tons of product reviews which help differentiate copy
    - Every reviewer profile creates crawl path to every product reviewed (some products have tens of thousands of reviews)
    - Crawl path for reviewer classified by their rank
    - They never delete products or so I’m told
    - Used product version pages
    - Custom built and flexible CMS
    - By cross referencing products from so many angles, the PageRank flow to a single product page can be staggering

    On top of that gobs of high quality links and a robust affiliate program that sends lots of referring domain traffic. Google has stated publicly that Amazon doesn’t benefit from the affiliate links (pass juice) but traffic the program generates could be a measurable quality signal.

    This is all pretty much top of mind, it’s a pretty bullet proof SEO fortress they have built and the level of effort to replicate would be massive.

    eBay does similar things as well and I’ve noticed them competing again after struggling for a while.

    A good test is whether you can easily navigate a site with javascript off. It isn’t usually very pretty but effective is a good start.

  • Fahad Ahmed

    I agree with you @mark did you notice that he didnt mentioned about first and second positions. These positions are probably reserved for amazon and ebay :)

  • Kristian @ SMG

    Great response, Rick – Amazon and eBay are authoritative because they have massive amounts of high quality signals in place across (virtually) all verticals.

  • Sergiu Draganus

    The answer is correct for organic results only, Most of us already know this, but this still shall be mentioned that on Google 1st page there are different results types as Organic or the Maps Pack, News etc. In this case, yes there are different factors and algorithms influencing different positions.

  • shopify

    Oh dear Matt!! at it again….. Maybe you don’t, but you sure do have different Algorithms for ‘BIG BRANDS’ or sure I say preference towards big brands! Algorithms or Preferences = same in Big G’s eyes. The greed will be the downfall… Google will be boycotted in the near future… and greed will have lost once again.

  • Anand Perala

    But what about domain clustering? Even if Yelp, Superpages and other sites deserve the top spots for local searches, shouldn’t domain clustering reduce how many spots they have on page 1? I’m seeing excessive yelp listings for a lot of local searches, pushing actual business websites down.

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