There’s no official announcement (yet), but Google tells Search Engine Land that it’s made several improvements under the hood of Google Blog Search.
In an email conversation, Google’s Jeremy Hylton — head of the search quality group in Google’s New York office — explained how the changes impact the “clusters” of stories that appear on the blog search home page.
“We’re doing a better job of choosing the blog posts to include in clusters,” Hylton says. “We’re also working on changes to expand the number of posts we consider for clustering.”
One of the algorithmic changes is aimed at making sure the home page clusters reward the freshest and most authoritative blog content. Within any cluster, Google wants to find the posts that people are talking about the most.
“We have a lot of ranking signals. We’ve been tuning the ranking and clustering algorithms to make better use of those signals. One important changes is that we’re processing new links much faster, so the post that breaks a story and gets a lot of links is more likely to become the lead story.”
The update also includes some minor design changes. Gone are the blue boxes to the left of each cluster, as shown here. The new layout seems more spartan (“streamlined,” in Hylton’s words):
But Google’s changes are more about what powers Blog Search, not what it looks like.
“With [Thursday's] update,” Hylton says, “the whole collection of ranking changes provides a more authoritative set of results. I think it’s really a great set of bloggers talking about current events.”
Hylton says they’ll continue tweaking the algorithm and interface moving forward to improve the overall user experience.