Late last Friday, Google announced over 50 new changes that are set to change how search results are displayed in some big ways.
The big topics of focus with this update are on how Google handles spelling errors, classifies keyword stuffing, focuses more on freshness being factored into SERPs and adding a larger website index size. Other features that have been added and upgraded in this month’s list of updates include tweaking results for images and video, altering how local search results are displayed and fixing some minor bugs.
You might recall that April saw the release of Penguin, Google’s latest ranking algorithm update (not to be confused with Panda).
More spelling corrections are to be added globally to the search engine. The same type of autocomplete spelling correction already available in English is to be added to over 60 different international languages. On the other hand, there are supposed to be less unproductive spelling changes, such as those for phrases like “mint tea”.
On a related note, the “did you mean?” feature will now be suppressed in non-English search results. This is meant to happen when an auto correction to a search term is found that a user doesn’t find helpful.
The flags Google use to classify a page as stuffing for a keyword have been altered and improved. This should further encourage the use of keyword variations and synonyms. It should also bring a marked decrease to pages that are solely spam. Ranking has been altered for fresh results and for search terms to better display relevant results.
Freshness is a major focus for this month’s update. The algorithms that detect freshness have been tweaked to be able to better detect fresh results. Another modifier has been added that will prevent freshness from being added to low-quality content and therefore keep it from flooding result pages by taking advantage of the freshness signal.
The base index size for Google’s searches is to be increased by 15%. This means that the very same index that is used to search for results when a query is entered is meant to become much, much larger. Indexing will also have another “tier” added. This latter update will change how often pages are indexed.
SafeSearch is to be improved for both image and video results. This improvement will also spread to over 40 different languages.
The likelihood that a user will find search results from a local region’s website will also be increased when compared to finding a global site.
So, as you can see, April was a busy month for the team at Google. However, I have a sneaky suspicion that May is going to be just as hectic. You can see the full list of changes here.