39 Changes to Google Search in May 2012
May was a busy month for Google as they rolled out 39 changes to their Google search algorithm. Changes include the introduction of the Knowledge Graph, upgrades for Asian users, a retooled search app for the iPhone, and better hacked page detection
Additional updates include changes that are intended to reduce the visibility of junk pages and make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for. In his official blog post detailing the changes, Google engineering director Scott Huffman was expectedly vague in describing many of the changes.
More specifically, Scott Huffman left several of the new improvements and tweaks open to interpretation by SEO’ers and website developers around the world. Read on for a breakdown of some of the more interesting updates.
Fresher is Better
Many of the changes deal directly with ensuring easy access to fresh content, making it clear that posting new, original content on your site is one of the best moves you can make:
“Better detection of major new events.” – Google says it will now return appropriate web results about a new major event “seconds after” that event occurs.
“Better detection of searches looking for fresh content.” – Google is introducing a “new classifier” that will make it easier to detect whether a search is seeking fresh content.
“Smoother ranking functions for freshness.” Google is replacing old thresholds for identifying fresh content with newer, more continuous thresholds.
Updates to Penguin
Everybody just loved Penguin, so it’s amazing that Google is trying to change it:
“Improvements to Penguin.” – Google says they’ve implemented some “minor tweaks” to the oft-maligned Penguin update, specifically pertaining to “improving signals and refreshing the data” used by the algorithm.
“Better application of inorganic backlinks signals.” – Although Google didn’t actually list this as a Penguin change in their blog post, odds are good that it’s related. Google’s wording for this specific change reads as follows:
“We have algorithms in place designed to detect a variety of link schemes, a common spam technique. This change ensures we’re using those signals appropriately in the rest of our ranking.”
Here’s hoping that by “using those signals appropriately” Google is referring to the complaints of Penguin downranking sites with spammy inbound links, even when the owner of said site has no control over who links to his or her site. Could it be that Google has figured out a way to differentiate between intentional and unintentional poor inbound links?