New month, new changes. This according to Google in the latest blog post on the search engine’s Inside Search blog. If you’re an SEO, you can start breathing again – it’s nothing too earth shattering (there’s no Panda-scale change!). However, these changes are still significant for us to pay attention to.
Usually, in some way shape or form, Google’s algorithm changes and updates impact our SEO strategy. That’s why it is so important to stay up to date with these changes and keep your eyes open for anything that may be changing in the industry (or changing the industry as a whole, as the Panda update did).
So, that’s why we’re blogging about Google’s most recent announcement about all the changes that have gone down recently (Google notes, in the Inside Search blog post, that they will be doing this monthly. So far, they have kept to that promise). The most drastic change was the “Freshness” change, though its projected impact on35% of queries was obviously not enough to keep this algorithmic change in the spotlight. The only reason it only had a short-lived “fifteen minutes of fame,” though, was because Google + Brand Pages were released shortly (only days) after the freshness algorithm change was announced.
Notable Algorithm Changes
The changes that received solo coverage include the verbatim search change (read about it here) and the revamped Google bar (read about it here), as well as an update to the Google IPAD search app. So we won’t be covering those here. The changes we will talk a little bit about concern original content, related query results, more long-tail indexing, top result selection and “parked” domains.
Matt Cutts hinted at PubCon 2011 that there would be an upcoming change related to content and scraper sites ( he proposed that in the future there would perhaps be a way to send information to Google when you publish content, so that scraper sites couldn’t rank higher than the original content). Google describes an algorithm search related to this comment: “We added new signals to help us make better predictions about which of two similar web pages is the original one.” We would guess such signals might include links, the authority of those links (obviously, the more authoritative, the better) and domain authority.
Related Query Results
This change will refine search results so that they are more closely related to the query you actually typed into the search box. Google uses the following example: “if you are searching for [rare red widgets], you might not be as interested in a page that only mentions ‘red widgets.'” For SEOs, this likely means that the pages on your website should be more specific – you should pay more attention to on-page optimization and URL structure for exact match keywords.
Referring to this change as “more comprehensive indexing,” the algorithm will now be able to index more long-tail documents so that they can rank more for relevant queries.
Top Result Selection
There is now extra attention and processing for top results, so that one website doesn’t take over all of the rankings for a specific query. This processing will work to make sure Google doesn’t “show too many results from one site (“host crowding”). We rewrote the code to make it easier to understand, simpler to maintain and more flexible for future extensions.”
“Parked” Domains (New Classifier)
Google describes the new parked domain classifier as follows: “This is a new algorithm for automatically detecting parked domains. Parked domains are placeholder sites that are seldom useful and often filled with ads. They typically don’t have valuable content for our users, so in most cases we prefer not to show them.” The focus on a better user experience and mention of ads is reminiscent of a comment Cutts made at Pubcon about Google looking to have a ” better page understanding” (he said that there is an algorithm change coming for improving page quality, specifically when it comes to the content above the fold – we took from this that, if you have a bunch of ads above the fold, the user experience is not good, so the algorithm won’t treat you well).
Jason and Chris Discuss The Changes
Keep in mind that all of these changes are small in the grand scheme of things. They are, however, positive changes for the most part, and are just small pieces of Google’s algorithmic update pie (the search engine says they make around 500 improvements to the algorithm per year). Further, these changes all add up to a better user experience, which is Google’s main goal, so we can expect to see more of these types of changes in the future!
Looking for more information about Google, algorithmic change, or about SEO and SEM in general? Check back with our blog on a regular basis to learn about the latest trends in the industry and to get some quick, free tips to help you with your own SEO and SEM efforts. If you have questions or concerns that are more directly related to your business, call our Atlanta SEO Company at 770-481-1766.