I talked about Google’s promise to be more transparent with its updates and improvements in the article How to Win the SEO Game, but is Google really sharing its “secret sauce”? That’s for you to decide.
You can read the entire post here, but for the sake of brevity, I will outline the most important updates.
The Link Evaluation update was vague at best. Here is what Google says…
“We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable.”
Did you understand that? Neither did I.
In a recent article, Search Engine Land explained how they requested for Google to explain some of this ambiguous language in the past, but Google declined. Maybe Google isn’t being as transparent as we once thought? Or maybe some things just need to be kept top secret.
Google made only a slight reference to a Panda update…er, that is refresh.
“This launch refreshes data in the Panda system, making it more accurate and more sensitive to recent changes on the web.”
It seems as if the change was simply a data refresh like the one that occurred in January, not an entirely new update. A data refresh does not include algorithm changes, but refers to Google running the algorithm again which refreshes the search results. Some marketers were downgraded dramatically and others saw a boost in rankings. Was your site affected?
It seems that Google is improving local search with main ranking signals playing more of a part.
Here is what Google had to say on the matter:
“Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename “Venice”] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal.”
Also, Google improved local search so the user can experience more reliable results for city searches.
If you read this article on the latest Google algorithm change, you are already aware of the freshness update.
Google has improved upon this update even more. If you haven’t started blogging, I suggest you do so.
“Improvements to freshness. [launch codename “iotfreshweb”, project codename “Freshness”] We’ve applied new signals which help us surface fresh content in our results even more quickly than before.”
Google also mentioned an adjustment to the freshness of images as well.
Google updated the Google bar replacing the drop-down menu with a set of links across the top of the page. Also, travel-related search received an improvement with changes made to the “Flight Search Feature” so users can obtain more accurate results.
The Flight Search Feature displays a table of available flights with their prices directly on the search page. Adjust dates and times or click on a flight to research it more. Users can also click on “Flight” in the left side menu.
Google released many other changes such as more accurate detection of official pages, related search updates, images index expansion in universal search, shopping rich snippets available internationally and updates to the results obtained from the “Site:” query function.
Do you think Google is really becoming more transparent? Have you noticed any website changes as a result of these updates/improvements?