Any time there is an update to Google’s search algorithm its big news. Our readers work themselves into a fluster speculating what aspects have changed and the impact it will have on their website’s ranking.
Brace yourself – Google is at it again. There have been some recent changes from Google, but the good news is that there is no need to guess this time, Google has (for once) released details of ten new algorithm changes it has made to how it shows and ranks search results.
In no particular order (and directly from Google), here they are:
- 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.
What this means for webmasters: You will now be able to reach new markets that you couldn’t previously due to language boundaries.
- 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.
What this means for webmasters: Ensure you have relevant and quality content on the right pages of your site and spend less time manipulating your header descriptions, and alt and meta tags.
- 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.
What this means for webmasters: 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.
- 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.
What this means for webmasters: Good news for Russian users, but pretty useless for the majority of searchers who use 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.
What this means for webmasters: software applications must now include descriptive rich snippets in order to get a higher ranking.
- 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.
What this means for webmasters: This tweak is aimed to improve image search function. But maybe Google is trying to decrease the link juice from sites like Flicker, Dailymotion etc.
- 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.
What this means for webmasters: In order to rank well in the SERPs, you must be updating your content almost daily especially on blogs.
- 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.
What this means for webmasters: Basically, this is good news for long-established brands. The official sites will get better rankings and the industry giants get a stronger hold on search results too!
- 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.
What this means for webmasters: If your company’s news is in Google News then expect it to be given more prominence now during the time that the news is still relevant.
- 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.
What this means for webmasters: Nothing specific, just that the user experience for non English speaking users will get better.
What’s significant from this news is that Google is now providing additional details on both large and small algorithm alterations. Do you think this is a sign of things to come? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.