Google didn’t release their usual algorithm update news last month, so this week we have a plethora of juicy updates to look at. As with the trend in recent months, Google have been concentrating on tidying up the SERP page, improving their detection of high-quality content (Panda), and enabling better information to be made available on the search page rather than having to click through to the results.
Results Page Changes
One of the bugbears that’s been bothering the SEO community in recent weeks has been the way that many of the top results for searches have been from the same domains. In the worst cases, a search can result in almost all the results being from the same site. Google have made three improvements to their site clustering algorithms to hopefully improve the diversity of search results.
A couple of the changes address the detection of adult content and how it is displayed in results pages. The “Labradoodle” update improves the detection of adult searces, and “vuvuzela” allows for better filtering of thumbnails from adult videos in the SERPs.
Live Sports Results
Presumably related to the recent Olympics, during which related searches displayed medal tables and forthcoming fixtures, the “Answers” update allows for the display of “rich, detailed information about the latest schedule, medal counts, events, and record-breaking moments.”
Improved Ordering of Top Results
Not much specific information on this one, but the “ng2” update is a new ranking function, based on several key ranking features that’s intended to improve the order in which top results are shown. There’s no indication of what these “key ranking features” might be, so keep an eye out for changes to the ordering, and let us know what you see in the comments.
Sitelinks are the smaller links that appear under the main SERP result to help with navigation to specific site subpages. There were four changes to these in the last couple of months, mostly to do with altering the snippets to include more useful information than the site boilerplate they occasionally show. Also there have been some changes to the way links are clustered and ranked within the sitelinks.
As is par for the course these days, were seeing a lot of Panda-related updates targeted at improving the ranking algorithm’s detection of high quality content. There are numerous updates tagged with the description “This launch helps you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.” and a couple that that announce data refreshes for the Panda algorithm. As usual, Google are not forthcoming about exactly what they are up to with regard to detecting content and page quality.
Check out the full list of changes on Google’s blog. How have these changes affected the ranking of your sites? Do you think these changes are good news or bad? Let us know what you spot in the comments.