Every SEO out there knows that Google updates their algorithm hundreds of times of year. This year, the big updates have been in conjunction with Google Panda. Google Panda rolled out around February, 2011 and has since been adjusted in order to attempt to answer many of the complaints received by various users.
Google Panda was developed by engineer, Navneet Panda. This update to the Google algorithm was done so with four major components in mind:
- Fresh Content
- The Overall User Experience
- Website Traffic
Shortly after its release, the new method developed by Panda hit a roadblock – scrapers. People were complaining that various blogs using duplicate content were ranking better than sites that had originally posted the content. These complaints combined with various others caused Google to ask for “data points” (these data points are the blogs that were scraping or copying material from other sites). After utilizing the information from these data points, Google began to initiate additional updates to Panda in order to mend their functional/adapting algorithm.
Unfortunately, Panda is not as fine-tuned as Google would like it to be. The indexing method is manually run every few weeks (Source). This means that website owners are given time between runs to make sure that their content is not being scraped by bloggers or by SEO’s who use Black Hat tactics.
Since Google Panda, Google has ushered in many different versions that claim to affect scrapers more or less. Just a couple of weeks ago, Google introduced 10 changes to their search algorithm.
The new updates include:
- Information Translation – For search queries where web content is minimal in regards to specific languages used, Google will translate English titles to that specific language.
- Snippets – Google is more likely to use snippets of information from actual site content rather than the meta description from the header or menu.
- Page Titles Change – By getting rid of duplicate boilerplate anchor links, Google looks to increase the relevancy of page titles in regards to the site’s content.
- Russian Autocomplete predictions – Google will no longer provide extremely long autocomplete predictions in Russian. For example, when you begin searching for something in English, Google tries to guess the end of your search. This same concept is used for most if not all languages but for Russian users, the autocomplete was usually arbitrary and extremely lengthy in nature.
- Rich Snippets For Applications – This allows people who are searching for specific software to see associated reviews and costs within search results.
- Retired Image Signal – Over the years, Google decides to not include specific signals that were once necessary to determine a sites relevancy in regards to a search query. In this case, Google removed a specific image signal that revolved around the value an image had when referenced by multiple docs throughout the internet.
- Fresher Results – This update alone affects nearly 35 percent of all searches. Fresh content is more valuable to rankings now.
- Official Page Detection – If you are an official page of a specific service or product, Google is trying to refine this by determining which pages are official and which ones are not.
- Search Queries Using Specific Dates – When someone uses a specific date in their search, Google is trying to provide a reliable database of information for these searches.
- Autocomplete Fix for Non-Latin Characters – Often times, when someone used non-latin characters in their search queries, Google would attempt to autocomplete but would do so with results similar to those in the Russian example above. This problem has apparently been fixed.
The ten examples above are just a few of the changes Google has made this year in regards to their search engine.