Google has just announced its ten most recent important algorithm changes yesterday on their blog Google Insights.
We have been noticing many search engine changes lately.
We wanted to analyze a few of the algorithm changes that we think our important to webmasters and website owners. There are 3 out of the 10 that we would like to talk about in a litter further detail.
1) Snippets with more page content and less header/menu content
“This change helps us choose more relevant text to use in snippets. As we improve our understanding of web page structure, we are now more likely to pick text from the actual page content, and less likely to use text that is part of a header or menu.” -Matt Cutts
The above paragraph points out that Google is starting put more attention to the text in “Actual Page Content” than headers and menu content. This approach conforms to what they’re looking at from a “inbound links” or back-linking point of view as well. They seem to be putting more emphasis to links from the actual content body of the page than the header, side navigation or footer links. So, make sure that the actual body of your text includes your most important search terms. Don’t overdue it though with the amount of links.
2) Better page titles in search results by de-duplicating boilerplate anchors
“We look at a number of signals when generating a page’s title. One signal is the anchor text in links pointing to the page. We found that boilerplate links with duplicated anchor text are not as relevant, so we are putting less emphasis on these. The result is more relevant titles that are specific to the page’s content.”-Matt Cutts
I myself, have been noticing lately in search results that the exact keyword phrase anchor text is not always the deciding ranking factor lately. We don’t know if this has been abused by people wanting to fool the search engines. Google seems to paying more attention to the page content than the backlinks. They’re also say they are de-emphasizing the “exact anchor text” backlinks. This means you should look at altering your “exact anchor text” approach if you have not already done so.
Let’s say that you wrote a blog titled “Private Jets”; if you build links to this page only with the “Private jets” anchor text, Google might see it as possible spam. That’s why the anchor text strategy should be diversified and not concentrated on only one or a few phrases. Instead you can also use “Luxury jets, private planes, Gulfstream” etc. This will be much more effective. If you need help in finding semantically related synonyms for a specific search term, just use the “Google Suggest” feature for terms that Google thinks might be relevant for the term “Private Jets”. Or look at the bottom of a page for other search terms that Google is suggesting.
3) Fresher, more recent results
“As we announced just over a week ago, we’ve made a significant improvement to how we rank fresh content. This change impacts roughly 35 percent of total searches (around 6-10% of search results to a noticeable degree) and better determines the appropriate level of freshness for a given query.”-Matt Cutts
Business websites that have news in their content will benefit from this. This means that you need your update your content more often now. We would suggest you to get a list of your most read or visited / converting pages from Google analytics and create a schedule to update these every 30 days or so. You can make slight changes to the content of a page. If you do not update content, you might see your search rankings drop, as fresher content becomes available elsewhere. It will help if you have a dynamic sitemap, which will reflect the “last update” dates and times. This is very important algorithm change. These are just a few of the 500 algorithm changes that have happened over this past year. It is good to stay up search engine news in order to protect your business online. We would like to know what other website owners think about these changes?
Below is a copy of the changes as worded by Google webmaster Matt Cutts:
- Cross-language information retrieval updates: For queries in languages where limited web content is available (Afrikaans, Malay, Slovak, Swahili, Hindi, Norwegian, Serbian, Catalan, Maltese, Macedonian, Albanian, Slovenian, Welsh, Icelandic), we will now translate relevant English web pages and display the translated titles directly below the English titles in the search results. This feature was available previously in Korean, but only at the bottom of the page. Clicking on the translated titles will take you to pages translated from English into the query language.
- Snippets with more page content and less header/menu content: This change helps us choose more relevant text to use in snippets. As we improve our understanding of web page structure, we are now more likely to pick text from the actual page content, and less likely to use text that is part of a header or menu.
- Better page titles in search results by de-duplicating boilerplate anchors: We look at a number of signals when generating a page’s title. One signal is the anchor text in links pointing to the page. We found that boilerplate links with duplicated anchor text are not as relevant, so we are putting less emphasis on these. The result is more relevant titles that are specific to the page’s content.
- Length-based autocomplete predictions in Russian: This improvement reduces the number of long, sometimes arbitrary query predictions in Russian. We will not make predictions that are very long in comparison either to the partial query or to the other predictions for that partial query. This is already our practice in English.
- Extending application rich snippets: We recently announced rich snippets for applications. This enables people who are searching for software applications to see details, like cost and user reviews, within their search results. This change extends the coverage of application rich snippets, so they will be available more often.
- Retiring a signal in Image search: As the web evolves, we often revisit signals that we launched in the past that no longer appear to have a significant impact. In this case, we decided to retire a signal in Image Search related to images that had references from multiple documents on the web.
- Fresher, more recent results: As we announced just over a week ago, we’ve made a significant improvement to how we rank fresh content. This change impacts roughly 35 percent of total searches (around 6-10% of search results to a noticeable degree) and better determines the appropriate level of freshness for a given query.
- Refining official page detection: We try hard to give our users the most relevant and authoritative results. With this change, we adjusted how we attempt to determine which pages are official. This will tend to rank official websites even higher in our ranking.
- Improvements to date-restricted queries: We changed how we handle result freshness for queries where a user has chosen a specific date range. This helps ensure that users get the results that are most relevant for the date range that they specify.
- Prediction fix for IME queries: This change improves how Autocomplete handles IME queries (queries which contain non-Latin characters). Autocomplete was previously storing the intermediate keystrokes needed to type each character, which would sometimes result in gibberish predictions for Hebrew, Russian and Arabic.