Google Makes 40 Changes in Search Quality

40 Google Changes in Search Quality

Whenever Google makes a change we are all ears. On 2/27/12 at 11:30:00 AM Google made the following 40 changes to they way they rank websites online. In this post we recount the changes made to Google. We have highlighted the changes that we believe to be the most important to search engine optimization.

More coverage for related searches. This section in Google will now have more data sources to populate its content with.

Tweak to categorizer for expanded sitelinks and Less duplication in expanded sitelinks. This is a small update the will alter sitelinks. It should result in better sitelinks with less duplication.

More consistent thumbnail sizes on results page. Google has adjusted the thumbnail size to be more consistent in tablets, mobile and desktop. The new sizes apply to rich snippet results for recipes and applications, movie posters, shopping results, book results, news results and more.

More locally relevant predictions in YouTube. This will add location based predictions to your searches in YouTube. For example, for the query [lady gaga in ] performed on the US version of YouTube, Google might predict [lady gaga in times square], but for the same search performed on the Indian version of YouTube, we might predict [lady gaga in India].

More accurate detection of official pages. This is small update that will help Google find the correct official Google + page for a business.

Refreshed per-URL country information. Google updated the country associations for URLs to use more recent data.

Expand the size of images index in Universal Search. This update expands the amount of images shown in universal search.

Google LogoMinor tuning of autocomplete policy algorithms. Small changes have been made to Google’s policy for autocomplete.

Site:” query update. This change improves the ranking for queries using the “site:” operator by increasing the diversity of results.

Improved detection for SafeSearch in Image Search. This is an improvement for detecting adult content in image search.

Interval based history tracking for indexing. This improvement changes the signals Google uses in document tracking algorithms.

Improvements to foreign language synonyms. According to Google, “This change applies an improvement we previously launched for English to all other languages. The net impact is that you’ll more often find relevant pages that include synonyms for your query terms.”

Disabling two old fresh query classifiers. Two old classifiers are being removed that related to query freshness. We don’t know exactly what theses are or how they will alter SEO rankings.

More organized search results for Google Korea. This organizes the search results into news, blogs and home pages.

Fresher images. This will make it so that fresher images appear when a user is searching. This could be big for image search optimization.

Update to the Google bar. Google has replaced the drop-down Google menu in the November redesign with a consistent and expanded set of links running across the top of the page.

Adding three new languages to classifier related to error pages. An update has been made to the way Google detects soft 404 pages.

Improvements to travel-related searches. Improvements have been made to the way Google treats flight-related search queries. Google will now show more accurate flight search results.

Data refresh for related searches signal. According to Google, “One of the many signals we look at to generate the “Searches related to” section is the queries users type in succession. If users very often search for [apple] right after [banana], that’s a sign the two might be related. This update refreshes the model we use to generate these refinements, leading to more relevant queries to try.”

International launch of shopping rich snippets. The amount of shopping rich snippits has been expanded globally.

Improvements to Korean spelling. This improves spelling when a person is in the wrong keyword board in Korea.

Improvements to freshness. Fresher content will be surfaced in results faster than ever before. This is all they tell us…

Web History in 20 new countries. Google has launched web history in Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Morocco, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Kuwait, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Nigeria, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Bosnia and Herzegowina, Azerbaijan, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Republic of Moldova, and Ghana where it was not previously available.

Improved snippets for video channels. Google has made improvements to the way they evaluate rich snippits for videos.

Improvements to ranking for local search results. This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of Google’s main search results as a signal. This could result in some interesting fluctuations for those who have great rankings in the local space.

Improvements to English spell correction. This is a change that benefits spelling corrections in English.

Improvements to coverage of News Universal. News results were not showing up in certain queries that people liked in the universal space. Google has fixed this bug.

Consolidation of signals for spiking topics. According to Google, “We use a number of signals to detect when a new topic is spiking in popularity. This change consolidates some of the signals so we can rely on signals we can compute in realtime, rather than signals that need to be processed offline. This eliminates redundancy in our systems and helps to ensure we can continue to detect spiking topics as quickly as possible.

Better triggering for Turkish weather search feature. This is a little tweak that helps people in Turkey with weather searches.

Visual refresh to account settings page. Small design change…

Panda update. Google has launched a refresh of data in the Panda system. They claim it is now more accurate and sensitive to recent changes.

Link evaluation. This one was really big to us… Google says, “We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable.” Search engine optimization experts everywhere are speculating on the meaning of this.

SafeSearch update. They have made an update that will get rid of irrelevant adult content.

Spam update. They have fixed a few spam weaknesses… No comment on what those were.

Improved local results. This helps Google find better results for a user’s city. Now they know when both documents and queries are local to a user.

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