Below are the first of a series of recent updates to Google’s search engine.
These adjustments to Google’s algorithms aim to ensure faster and more
efficient searching and more advanced refinement of search queries and results,
both for the end user and also for website developers and SEO’s. It is of high
importance that SEO’s are always aware of these updates within the search
engine, so that their SEO techniques can be adapted and enhanced as necessary
to ensure that their websites stay ahead of their competitors.
These are the first ten updates to Google’s algorithms, with three more blogs to follow with further updates.
More Coverage for Related Searches
If a user cannot locate what he requires from a website listed within the first page of the search engine results, the “Search Related To” section can now provide eight related phrases to the initial phrase searched, and a user can choose to go to the next phrase or select a related one instead of the first page results.
This new feature allows users to aim for more specific or similar phrases, whilst it may be detrimental to small businesses as it will reduce users going to page two and further for their results. This feature is especially useful when the exact phrase is not used, for example, a specific keyword is forgotten. Apart from a faster and more relevant experience for the user, Google itself can also benefit by further controlling lost searchers and guiding them to competitive phrases where PPC rates are higher, thus producing greater income for the search engine itself. SEO will also be effected, and this is a window of opportunity to begin planning and optimising for these related searches.
Tweaks to Categoriser for Expanded Sitelinks
Duplicate snippets (the description found beneath the titles on a search engine results page) were becoming a problem for Google, and so steps have been taken to eliminate this problem. Each sitelink now has its own content and URL displaying, and more complex site ranking metrics now feed into the search ranking for a particular web page. If sections of the website directly feed and boost the relevancy of a particular webpage, search results will be optimised over another similar page that is unsupported by these relevant sitelinks.
Less Duplication in Expanded Sitelinks
Underneath the top result of the SERP (search engine results page) there are site links that are relevant to the search that the user has initiated. These listings have been growing rapidly as low quality open-source coded websites with common head in the HTML (such as the Meta Descriptions) were creating duplicates in the sitelinks. However, Google can now identify these duplicates and can dispose of them in the expanded search results.
More Consistent Thumbnail Sizes on Results Pages
Google has adjusted the thumbnail size for most images found within the results pages, and using rich snippets that supplement the displaying of images for recipes, applications, etc by tagging data to the type of information required. This change may require businesses to adjust their image sizes to make them more consistent, and so that they will be visually appealing in the Google image search, increasing the number of users that will access a particular website. Google will adjust the images as necessary, but setting standards within websites and blogs will provide advantages in the future.
More Locally Relevant Predictions in YouTube
Suggestion queries are already highly utilised throughout Google Search, and allow users to seek their intended item quicker. YouTube is adapting its suggestions to add a local component, so that Google can find more relevant suggestions based on your Search location. Businesses will be able to take advantage of this change by optimising the location, title, description and tags of a video based on its location, and can therefore target more specific markets.
More Accurate Detection of Official Pages
Google is always keen to ensure that the official pages and brands, such as the large corporations and worldwide companies are prioritised in Google’s search algorithm. This small update will also aid Google in finding the correct official Google+ page of a particular business.
Refreshed Per-URL Country Information
Google is aiming to increase localisation in its search results by targeting websites if there are relevant to a country specific search, and where it is based. For example, Google does not wish to display UK websites in a search targeting websites in Malta. TLDs (Top Level Domains) are often the best identifiers of a websites location (.com.mt, .uk, .us etc). Country specific domains however are not relevant if a business is not based in one of those locations, however more recent data is improving these search results.
Google UK search for ‘website design’:
Google Malta search for 'website design':
Expanding the Image Size Index in Universal Search
Universal Search is going to implement a larger index of images from more search topics, which will surely increase Image Search in the future. Google currently has two image searches, the Universal Search and Dedicated Image Search, and often these results do not match, as Google has two different image indexes. Google seems to be limiting the results of the Universal Search images to those that are clearer and more concise. Increase in the utilisation of Image Search is a message to SEO strategists to begin optimising images, as well as text content, in preparation for these changes.
Universal Search Result for 'laptop':
Image Search Result 'laptop':
Minor Tuning of Autocomplete Policy Algorithms
Keeping the algorithm up to date the produces queries and suggestions to a search as a user is still typing is essential for Google’s public image. Google is constantly adjusting this algorithm to remove any terms that are offensive, pornographic, violent, infringe copyright or are unsuitable in any other way. Autocomplete will be even faster, more accurate and will continue to work even if Google Instant is disabled on your computer.
“Site:” Query Update
Most webmasters have utilised the site:http://mysitename.com search in order to view what Google has indexed on your particular website. Some sensitizing and fine tuning allows webmasters and curious users to gain a clearer picture of what is indexed, and is particularly essential to SEO’s who use this query to scope a particular domain and its sub domains. The results will now be diversifying to show a greater variety of page types and sub domains instead of simply a dominate sub domain that makes results harder to analyse. SEO’s can take advantage of one of the finest page-detection tools and discover exactly how their particular websites are indexed.
As these changes are seamlessly integrated into the existing search engine, day to day users are unlikely to notice the change, however, website developers and SEO’s should expect to see their search results changing. Do you think that these changes are improving Google’s search experience? How are they changing your own personal user experience?