Search Quality Has Improved: Google Makes 40 Updates in February 2012
Google is always tweaking their processes to bring forth better search results for users and they recently announced in a blog post that 40 search updates were implemented for the month of February. That’s right, 40 in one month! This marks a new record for Google for their monthly series on search quality.
Google claims to be continuously trying to make small improvements to every aspect of their systems including related searches, autocomplete, sitelinks, indexing, synonyms, UI elements, and much more. “Each individual change is subtle and important, and over time they add up to a radically improved search engine,” says Google. You can see the complete list of Google’s updates on their blog, but here are some that caught my attention.
Google claims to have changed the way in which they evaluate links by turning off a method of link analysis they’ve been using for several years. Sad, but true, and I believe they just broke the hearts of every search marketing firm in the world. Just when we got close, they switch things around! Google claims it was necessary to re-architect certain parts of their scoring in order to maintain a clean and understandable system. Google won’t give specifics on any new link evaluation signals or any more information on the one they turned off, but that’s okay Google, we’ll recover!
Local Search Rankings
Along with the link evaluation signal, Google’s post says local results are being improved because of a “new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably.” Google has improved the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of their main search results as a signal. They’re now more capable of detecting when both queries and documents are local to the user.
More Local Relevant Predictions in YouTube
When it comes to the ranking for predictions in YouTube, Google wants to provide more locally relevant queries. In Google’s blog post, they use Lady Gaga as an example. The query “Lady Gaga in” would typically generate a variety of different predictions. Now, if that query is entered on the US version of YouTube, Google may predict “Lady Gaga in Times Square,” but if the query is performed on the Indian version of YouTube, you may see “Lady Gaga in India.” Don’t worry little monsters, Google will still bring you Gaga videos, only they’ll be from a town near you!
Now I know you don’t have all day, so here are some other updates you may want to know about…
“Site:” Query Update: Google improves the ranking for queries that use the “site:” operator by increasing the diversity of results.
Expanding the Size of Image Index in Universal Search: Google expanded the collection of image results that are shown in Universal Search.
International Launch of Shopping Rich Snippets: These snippets help users identify shopping sites that have the most relevant products according to the user’s needs. They typically display product prices, availability, reviews and ratings, etc. and for a while were only available in the United States, Germany and Japan. Google has changed that and shopping rich snippets have gone global!
In addition to these 40 updates, Google has also confirmed the Panda 3.3 update. Google isn’t saying much about the update, other than it refreshes data in the Panda system, making it more accurate and more sensitive to recent changes on the web.
As you can see, Google has been very busy this past month and with all of these updates at once, I’m sure some discussion will occur. Share your thoughts with Web Talent Marketing on Facebook or Tweet us @webtalentmktg.