April was a tumultuous month for search engine optimization (SEO), especially in light of Google’s Penguin Update in addition to revisions for Panda. A few days ago, Google offered some assistance and clarity to SEO’ers everywhere by announcing a list of 52 search changes, all of which have already taken effect.
Although several of the specific changes lacked detail, as usual, website owners and bloggers should at least make themselves aware of the changes from a high level perspective. Below are several of the highlights from Google’s list of April search changes:
The Highlights – Google Search Algorithm Changes
Low-quality content will no longer receive freshness boost: “We have modified a classifier we use to promote fresh content to exclude fresh content identified as particularly low-quality.”
More domains per query: “Sometimes search returns too many results from the same domain. This change helps surface content from a more diverse set of domains.”
More penalties for keyword stuffing: “We have classifiers designed to detect when a website is keyword stuffing. This change made the keyword stuffing classifier better.”
Changes to scoring for search terms: “One of the most fundamental signals used in search is whether and how your search terms appear on the pages you’re searching. This change improves the way those terms are scored.”
Better visibility for non-optimized local pages: “For searches that include location terms, e.g. [dunston mint seattle] or [Vaso Azzurro Restaurant 94043], we are more likely to rank the local navigational homepages in the top position, even in cases where the navigational page does not mention the location.”
Location identification for pages, not just sites: “For a while we’ve had systems designed to detect when a website, subdomain, or directory is relevant to a set of countries. This change extends the granularity of those systems to the page level for sites that host user generated content, meaning that some pages on a particular site can be considered relevant to France, while others might be considered relevant to Spain.”
Predicting intentions based on very recent queries: “This launch helps us better interpret the likely intention of your search query as suggested by your last few searches.”
Significant boost to base index size: “The base search index is our main index for serving search results and every query that comes into Google is matched against this index. This change increases the number of documents served by that index by 15%.”
Although these are some of the more important changes for site owners (other changes are designed more for users), the full list is worth reading. Which of the changes will have the biggest impact on your site? Sound off in the comments section below.