Google Announces Changes to Search Algorithm

Google started rolling out forty changes to their search algorithm in early February.  The company is constantly making subtle changes and altering their search engine, but this is one of the largest groups of changes to take place in a while. Each of the changes may be small but each have an exponential impact on the nature of the search engine itself. Here are some of the changes that took place in February. In Google’s blog they listed all forty changes, below we summarize the major items in layman’s terms:

Related Searches – Basically Google has added data to help generate better-related searches. This data most likely will incorporate the use of Google Plus Your World and social data from Google+.

Sitelink Changes – Sitelinks were previously duplicating search results because its categorizer was not identifying duplicated snippets. Google has adjusted these and expanded sitelinks so that they are based more on page content and less on the query.

YouTube will add predictions using Local – Google will factor in your location when providing search results in YouTube. If you searched for “American Idol” it would generate different searches in the United States version if you are in Los Angeles versus the UK version if you searched from London.

Accuracy of Official Pages- Google has changed how they determine official pages and will provide more accurate identification of official pages.

Expanded Image Index – Google has expanded its image index so that it can provide relevant images on more queries than before. As seen by Pinterest, relevant images have proven to drive traffic successfully.

Site Query Update – Google has not given a source of these updates for query results but will strive to improve the diversity of the results.

Data Refresh for Related Searches –This update provides related search information for users searching for successive searches. For example, if a user is searching for green beans then onions and then tomatoes, Google can interconnect each of those via related searches and provide links to gardening or cooking instead of specific products.

Also worth noting is the changes to the international launch of shopping snippets. Google improved these snippets for video and changes related to freshness of the index. The index now features a better combination of signals for spiking topics. Again Google generates relevant snippets based more on content and less on query.

Thumbnails sizes will be more consistent on page results – Google has adjusted the size for most of the image content on the results page. This provides more consistency across all result types and mobile or tablet searches. It will give sizes applying rich snippets to searches for recipes, applications, movie posters, and shopping results.

Improvements to foreign language synonyms – This change uses synonyms for your query items to find more relevant pages.

Updated Google bar – Google replaced the drop-down menu of the November redesign with a larger set of links that will be more consistent and relevant, and it will run across the top of the page.

Travel Search Improvements- Flight-related searches have been improved and will provide users more accurate flight results.  If you search for “flights from LAX to Denver” you will see available flights, duration, and prices. This is currently for US domestic flights and will be adapted for flights around the world in eleven languages. It will also be rolling out mobile feature to airports that provide their floor plans for consumers to see where they are and what’s around them.

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Eric Wagner

Eric is a CEO with a background in marketing and search engine optimization specialist (SEO). In his free time, Eric enjoys exercise, gardening, technology, a good book, and spending time with family and friends.

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