Nov 15, 2011 116 reads by Navneet Kaushal

Whenever Google makes a change in its search algorithm, it makes for big news. The search engine has recently revealed a compilation of the latest algorithmic tweaks it has made. Google's Matt Cutts, has posted a blog about the recent 10 algorithm changes made by Google.

As Matt says, “We make roughly 500 changes to our search algorithm in a typical year. Our goal is to make search run so smoothly, you don't even notice the changes. That said, we like giving you insights into what we're doing behind the search results you see each day. Today on Inside Search, we've posted a recap of some of the algorithmic changes we’ve made over just the past couple weeks. ”

Google has been working all through this year to provide some insights to site owners, as to how the search engine works it algorithms, and even released a video of the same recently. And now it has released this information about the ten tweaks made to the search algorithm in the past couple of weeks.

  • Cross-language information retrieval updates: This tweak assured that the English web pages were translated into certain languages and displayed right below the English titles in search results. The languages for which this feature is available are: Afrikaans, Malay, Slovak, Swahili, Hindi, Norwegian, Serbian, Catalan, Maltese, Macedonian, Albanian, Slovenian, Welsh, Icelandic.

    SEO Interpretation– This tweak by Google allows marketers to reach newer markets, that were cut off due to language boundaries.

  • Snippets with more page content and less header/menu content: Google made this tweak in order to help itself in determining more relevant text to use in snippets. Now, armed with a clearer understanding of the web page structure, Google will pick the text from the page, and not just the header.

    SEO Interpretation-It comes to quality content. You cannot get around much by manipulating header descriptions, and alt and meta tags. You have to have relevant and quality content on the right pages of your site. Now you know why quality content is important, ever since the Panda struck.

  • Better page titles in search results by de-duplicating boilerplate anchors: Google generates a page's title based on a number of signals, one of them being the anchor text. The search engine does not consider the boilerplate links with duplicated anchor text as relevant. As a result it chooses the titles that are relevant to the page’s content.

    SEO Interpretation– Anchor texts are used by Google, we have known it forever, and that is why backlinks become so important for SEO. With this information laid out by Google, it is clear that site wide linking (in headers, footers and blog rolls) will not lead to any better ranking. This means that paid linking sites that give links to blog rolls are useless now.

  • Length-based autocomplete predictions in Russian: This algorithmic tweak is applicable to the long arbitrary query predictions in Russian. Google will no longer make long predictions in Russian.

    SEO Interpretation-There is not much here for SEOs. Good usage update for Russian users though.

  • Extending application rich snippets: Google's rich snippets for applications enables users to view comprehensive search results while searching for software applications. The search results show cost and user reviews with the listings.

    SEO Interpretation– If you are doing the SEO for any software company, you better get down to writing rich snippets for your applications. This will ensure you ranking high, and even luring customers to explore your site. You must input as much information about you product as possible apart from alt tags, meta tags and descriptions.

  • Retiring a signal in Image search: Google has done away with the signal in Image Search related to images that had references from multiple documents on the web.

    SEO Interpretation– This tweak is aimed to improve image search function. But this can also be an attempt to lower the prominence of images with links and descriptions belonging to the many free image sites on the web. One can influence search results for images by placing an image across all the free image hosting sites. Maybe Google is trying to decrease the link juice from sites like Flicker, Dailymotion etc.

  • Fresher, more recent results: This “Freshness” tweak was introduced quite recently by Google, and threw considerable importance on fresh content. Google has updated its Caffeine algorithm used to rank fresh content. The change has had an impact on 35% of total searches.

    SEO Interpretation– This tweak has its message for search experts loud and clear- updating the content daily is a must for websites now. In order to rank well in the SERP’s, the webmasters have to take up blogging and social media on war footing levels.

  • Refining official page detection: Google has always stressed the importance of relevant and authoritative results. This tweak is to help Google determine which pages of a brand or a business are the official ones, and they will rank higher in search results.

    SEO Interpretation-If you are handling the search for a branded site, then this update is a really good news for you! But if you are handling a comparatively new name in the niche, then this tweak works against you, as you will face difficulty in entering highly competitive niches. The official sites will get better ranks, and the industry giants get a stronger hold on search results too!

  • Improvements to date-restricted queries: This tweak has altered how Google handles freshness for queries in the case a user has chosen a specific date range. Now the user will get more relevant results pertaining to the specified date range.

    SEO Interpretation– News sites will get more prominence now, as will sites that list current events and up to date content. This is somewhat in line with the Freshness update, where the users target news as it is happening.

  • Prediction fix for IME queries: This tweak is specific for non English speaking users and improves how Autocomplete handles IME queries (queries which contain non-Latin characters). Say goodbye to gibberish predictions for Hebrew, Russian and Arabic now!

    SEO Interpretation-Nothing much for search experts here, just that the user experience for non English speaking users will get better.

Why Has Google Done This?

This blog revealing the tweaks in the closely guarded Google algorithm has given way to several theories as to why has Google done this sort of compilation now? Is this move by Google done to silence the allegations of secrecy and cheating that were laid against it. Is this the Google way of ensuring the antitrust regulators that it is not biased toward its own operations.

Matt Cutts, tries to play down the purpose by saying, “For those of us working in search every day, we think this stuff is incredibly exciting but then again, we’re big search geeks. Let us know what you think and we’ll consider publishing more posts like this in the future. ”

By the way, we could not help but notice the new designation adorning Matt's name in the post- 'Distinguished Engineer'. Looks like the head of the Google spam team, is now a Distinguished Engineer. Congrats on the promotion Matt!

What do you think of these 10 tweaks? Do share your views.

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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