Forums threads started appearing on Thursday morning about a potential Google update underway. As many webmasters started noticing movements in Google’s results, the speculation of a Google data refresh began.
So what is a data refresh? A data refresh is like a mini Google update. Google updates generally reflect a significant change to the Google algorithm, whereas a “Data Refresh” is simply a re-jig of the data based on the same algorithm.
The notable consequence of the data refresh is the movement of many web pages into Google’s supplemental results. The official Google explanation as noted on the Search Engine Journal is:
“Supplemental sites are part of Google’s auxiliary index. We’re able to place fewer restraints on sites that we crawl for this supplemental index than we do on sites that are crawled for our main index. For example, the number of parameters in a URL might exclude a site from being crawled for inclusion in our main index; however, it could still be crawled and added to our supplemental index. The index in which a site is included is completely automated; there’s no way for you to select or change the index in which your site appears. Please be assured that the index in which a site is included does not affect its PageRank.”
Many webmasters dread having their pages relegated to Google’s supplemental results as it means that Google, while indexing your site, hasn’t visited it in some time. This also means that the results can contain quite dated information. This further reinforces the need to update and be SEO conscious of all your pages.
While there has been no official word from Google on the data refresh, the forum buzz certainly confirms that something is going on. If you have encountered any results changes for your website, or you know something about the data refresh beyond the forum discussions, share your insights in a comment below.