Google recently produced a list of updates and improvements they made to their search in the month of December 2011 and its well worth a quick scan for anyone who is serious about their website’s Google ranking.
The list contains 30 improvements and the associated codenames with a sneak peak into how the company comes up with the unique internal codenames for each improvement made that makes it easier for them and us to talk refer and remember them individually.
The December list includes:
- Image Search landing page quality signals: This was an update that analyzes various landing page signals for Image Search that not only gave users the most relevant images, but also is linked to the highest quality source pages. Launched with codename “simple”
- More relevant sitelinks: [project codename “Megasitelinks”] Changes in the Google algorithm for picking sitelinks to get more relevant sitelinks; that users could control with their location settings. Launch codename “concepts.”
- Soft 404 Detection: A status code returned to users when someone searches for a page that doesn’t exist. soft 404s (codenamed “crypto” 404s) have always been a problem area for search engines because users might get this code due to a mix of reasons instead of mere code errors. With the soft 404s update Google improved its method of detecting soft 404s, especially for pages in Russian, German and Spanish.
- More accurate country-restricted searches: Users who want to see results only from their particular country other than the domains on .com will benefit from this a new algorithmic update by Google that uses several signals to enhance & determine where are web documents coming from, improving the precision of this feature. [launch codename “greencr”]
- More rich snippets: Users should look forward to see more site with rich snippets after this improvement as Google will now detect sites that qualify for shopping, recipe and review rich snippets.
- Better infrastructure for autocomplete: An infrastructure change to improve how Google’s autocomplete algorithm handles spelling corrections for query prefixes (the beginning part of a search).
- Better spam detection in Image Search: Google fortified its spam detection in Image Search by extending algorithms that are already being used for main search results. [launch codename “leaf”]
- Google Instant enhancements for Japanese: This update will work with browsers that are IME (Input Method Editor)-aware and will cater to return better results for Japanese queries in Google Instant.
- More accurate byline dates: An update that allows Google to better establish an association with a date and a document. As a result, users will see more accurate dates explaining search results. . [launch codename “foby”]
- Live results for NFL and college football: There is good news for all football fans; Project codename “Live Results”; an update by Google on NFL.com and ESPN’s NCAA Football results that allows real time relay of scores, schedules and analysis of your favorite football teams.
- Improved dataset for related queries: Google often returns results that are related to the original search. Google has now introduced an improved dataset on term relationships to find related queries that will lead to results from more relevant related queries.
- Related query improvements: You must have often received results for your search query that have fewer words and are less related to your original query. Google has now made several changes to its algorithms so that you get fewer results that do not include your main search words. [launch codename “lyndsy”]
- Better lyrics results: This change improves the result quality for lyrics searches on Google. [launch codename “baschi”, project codename “Contra”]
- Tweak to +1 button on results page: To make search a simple, quick and well displayed experience, Google has made a minor change to how the +1 button appears on the results page. Unlike before, the +1 button will only appear when you hover over a result or when the result has already been +1’d.
- Better spell correction in Vietnamese: A new Vietnamese spelling model launched to return more accurate spelling predictions for Vietnamese queries. [project codename “Pho Viet”]
- Upcoming events at venues: An update to the places panel for event venues. For major venues, users will now see up to three upcoming events on the right of the page. Give it a go for search terms like [staples center los angeles] or [paradise rock club boston].
- Improvements to image size signal: An improvement to how Google uses the size of images as a ranking signal in Image Search. Following this update, users will see more full-sized, larger versions of an image. [launch codename “matter”]
- Improved Hebrew synonyms: [project codename “Synonyms”] as context matters a lot for translation, Google has updated its way of handling and refining searches for Hebrew synonyms across multiple languages. This change will omit the use of translated synonyms that are not actually relevant to the query context [launch codename “SweatNovember”].
- Safer searching: [project codename "SafeSearch"] an updated to Google’s SafeSearch tool to provide better filtering for certain queries when strict SafeSearch is enabled. [launch codename “Hoengg”]
- Encrypted search available on new regional domains: Following this update users in the UK, Germany and France can opt in to encrypted search by navigating directly to an SSL version of Google Search on their respective regional domains: https://www.google.co.uk, https://www.google.de andhttps://www.google.fr because Google now offers encrypted search by default on google.com for signed-in users.
- Faster mobile browsing: [project codename “Skip Redirect”] There is some good news for mobile users, Google’s latest update to mobile version of a websites will allow Smartphone users to bypass all redirects and load the target pages faster [launch codename “old possum”].
Have you noticed an improvement to your ranking recently that could be a result of these changes? Feel free to share your thoughts below.