Google's 65 Search Updates For Aug & Sep Is Missing Updates

Oct 5, 2012 • 8:18 am | comments (12) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google LogoI have to say I am a bit concerned and I didn't think about this when I covered the 65 changes announced by Google yesterday on Search Engine Land.

None on the specific changes or updates listed specifically mention the EMD update and in September, when Google made a significant change to the Panda algorithm, again, no mention of it in the list of search quality changes. Go look yourself over here.

Only one mention of "domain" as:

#83761. [project “Freshness”] This change helped you find the latest content from a given site when two or more documents from the same domain are relevant for a given search query.

Only one mention of "Panda" and that was the "data refresh in August:

#84010. [project “Page Quality”] We refreshed data for the "Panda" high-quality sites algorithm.

Why is there no mention of the EMD update and Panda algorithm update?

Are these search quality updates all that transparent or did Google forget to add them? They were significant, I mean, Matt Cutts tweeted about the EMD update and gave me a "on the record" comment about the Panda update. Maybe Google will add them to the October search quality announcement? But that was not done in October, well maybe Panda was since it is still being pushed out?

Anyway, this concerns me a bit - especially the lack of EMD mentions.

Here is what I pulled out as what I thought was significant:

Web Ranking & Indexing

  • LTS. [project “Other Ranking Components”] We improved our web ranking to determine what pages are relevant for queries containing locations.
  • #82279. [project “Other Ranking Components”] We changed to fewer results for some queries to show the most relevant results as quickly as possible.
  • #83709. [project “Other Ranking Components”] This change was a minor bug fix related to the way links are used in ranking.
  • #82546. [project “Indexing”] We made back-end improvements to video indexing to improve the efficiency of our systems.
  • #84010. [project “Page Quality”] We refreshed data for the "Panda" high-quality sites algorithm.
  • #83777. [project “Synonyms”] This change made improvements to rely on fewer "low-confidence" synonyms when the user's original query has good results.
  • #84586. [project “Other Ranking Components”] This change improved how we rank documents for queries with location terms.
  • #83901. [project “Synonyms”] This change improved the use of synonyms for search terms to more often return results that are relevant to the user's intention.

Page Quality & Scoring

  • #82862. [project “Page Quality”] This launch helped you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
  • #83135. [project “Query Understanding”] This change updated term-proximity scoring.
  • Imadex. [project “Freshness”] This change updated handling of stale content and applies a more granular function based on document age.
  • #83689. [project “Page Quality”] This launch helped you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
  • #84394. [project “Page Quality”] This launch helped you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
  • #83761. [project “Freshness”] This change helped you find the latest content from a given site when two or more documents from the same domain are relevant for a given search query.

Sitelinks & Snippets & UI

  • #83105. [project “Snippets”] We refreshed data used to generate sitelinks.
  • #83442. [project “Snippets”] This change improved a signal we use to determine how relevant a possible result title actually is for the page.
  • #83443. [project “Knowledge Graph”] We added a lists and collections component to the Knowledge Graph.
  • #83012. [project “Knowledge Graph] The Knowledge Graph displays factual information and refinements related to many types of searches. This launch extended the Knowledge Graph to English-speaking locales beyond the U.S.
  • #83304. [project “Knowledge Graph”] This change updated signals that determine when to show summaries of topics in the right-hand panel.
  • Knowledge Graph Carousel. [project “Knowledge Graph”] This change expanded the Knowledge Graph carousel feature globally in English.
  • #82407. [project “Other Search Features”] For pages that we do not crawl because of robots.txt, we are usually unable to generate a snippet for users to preview what's on the page. This change added a replacement snippet that explains that there's no description available because of robots.txt.
  • #83670. [project “Snippets”] We made improvements to surface fewer generic phrases like "comments on" and "logo" in search result titles.
  • #84652. [project “Snippets”] We currently generate titles for PDFs (and other non-html docs) when converting the documents to HTML. These auto-generated titles are usually good, but this change made them better by looking at other signals.
  • #84211. [project “Snippets”] This launch led to better snippet titles.

Image Search

  • Maru. [project “SafeSearch”] We updated SafeSearch to improve the handling of adult video content in videos mode for queries that are not looking for adult content.
  • Palace. [project “SafeSearch”] This change decreased the amount of adult content that will show up in Image Search mode when SafeSearch is set to strict.
  • #82872. [project “SafeSearch”] In "strict" SafeSearch mode we remove results if they are not very relevant. This change previously launched in English, and this change expanded it internationally.
  • Sea. [project “SafeSearch”] This change helped prevent adult content from appearing when SafeSearch is in "strict" mode.
  • Cobra. [project “SafeSearch”] We updated SafeSearch algorithms to better detect adult content.
  • #84460. [project “Snippets”] This change helped to better identify important phrases on a given webpage.

For the last update announcement, see June & July.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

Update: Google sent us a statement on why some items may be perceived as missing, in short, the blog post was written prior to these being released. Here is a statement:

These changes rolled out very recently, and their launch language was approved after the cutoff date where we were finalizing the blog post. We tweeted these changes and were also planning to include those launches in future updates.

Note that this blog post series is primarily a list of new algorithms that are launching rather than data refreshes of existing algorithms. For example, we would publish an entry when our synonym algorithm changes, but we wouldn't necessarily post if we were just refreshing the data that our existing synonym algorithm uses. That's a long way of saying that you will often see entries for when we update Panda or Penguin data, but in general we only intend to show entries when a new change went through the launch process for approval, and so you might not see every data refresh in our list. As we said last December, we're going to keep pushing the envelope when it comes to sharing how our search engine works.

Previous story: How Do You Know If Google Panda Or EMD Hurt Your Site?


Chris Crum

10/05/2012 12:57 pm

Wouldn't it also have been more transparent to have mentioned the most recent Panda update when the EMD update was announced (especially considering Cutts made a point to say that EMD was unrelated to Panda and Penguin)?

enough Barry

10/05/2012 02:24 pm

Google is making your blog pointless Barry and this post is a symptom of it. You have nothing to say so you pick a stupid point. Who cares that Google didn't mention a thing? Mentioning them means NOTHING. Even listing it means nothing. Their description means NOTHING, unless you can inspect the code (we can't). So who cares about what Google says? Their earnings increase speaks for itself and tells us about what really went on. Stop lying and spinning! Google is penalizing sites to force them to advertise and rewarding advertisers (brands)

Alex Becker

10/05/2012 03:37 pm

Every single thing that Google does is to either make money ("algorithm" updates) or to save money (closing down products). Yes, it is frustrating that Google constantly updates and tweaks things in an almost hypocritical kind of way (things matter one day for rankings, then don't, then do, etc.), but it's their way of keeping SEO in a black box. The bottom line is Google can show whatever it wants wherever it wants at any given time; it's THEIR website. The same way that you don't need to put your competitors on your website. I'm not saying it's right or fair, but Google can pick and choose how/when/where/why/what they want to show, and we all need to deal with that. The real solution is to start using Bing until Google stops diluting SEO results to favor paid search product(s).


10/05/2012 05:26 pm

I think you miss the point: Google made it's monopoly on the backs of those who create and maintain websites. For the majority of their 14 years they have made their fortune by aggregating and displaying the work of other people, which is fine. But now that they have enough data and a very complete market saturation they are destroying the livelihood of thousands. Something is just fine one day and without any warning it is an offense worthy of deindexing. They want to clean up their SERPs, that's fine. But when you release major changes to 'how things work' without any heads-up, you not only get rid of the intentional spammers, you get rid of those who were in compliance for years and now suddenly are not. Don't you think that those running 'legitimate' sites would heed the warning and make the changes? Those just spamming dozens of adsense blogs or link farms will move on to another facet of web spam...and Google would need to take more time and invest more effort in rooting out the bad but at least it wouldn't kill off the good as well as the bad. The fact that they choose to go the 'wide swath of destruction' route says all you need to know.

Barry Schwartz

10/05/2012 05:33 pm

I feel bad for you. I really do.

enough Barry

10/05/2012 06:15 pm

Don't. I have a clear conscience and always speak my mind /truth, something money cannot buy. I feel bad for you. I really do.

Barry Schwartz

10/05/2012 08:20 pm

At least I am not afraid to use my name. I always speak my thoughts. I never ever write something I don't believe.

enough Barry

10/05/2012 09:25 pm

afraid of what Barry? They are other reasons to be anon Maybe you should use an alias and be honest, ask real questions like Google's massively increased revenue after each "quality update"

Barry Schwartz

10/05/2012 09:29 pm

Go read a different site.

Ralph Anwar

10/09/2012 04:19 am

Sounds like you're wearing a tinfoil hat. Clearly, you're another one of those who violated their well-published guidelines (possibly even under the illusion it's "whitehat", because you spammed manually) and as a result lost rank and earnings (and maybe even their Adsense account). You only have yourself to blame, but you can't face reality and deal with it. Instead, blame Google (the easy option), rather than being objective and rectifying a clearly bad business plan.

Ralph Anwar

10/09/2012 04:23 am

The "heads up" has been there for a long-time and is very clear: their webmaster guidelines. It came to a point where they had to heavily enforce them due to the excess of spam tactics. If Google never bothered to do this then you would have a load of scammers at the top for high value finance keywords and people getting ripped off more often than they do already. Google's guidelines aren't hard to work within, just not as quick and easy as spamming. People are too lazy.

Ralph Anwar

10/09/2012 04:31 am

Could the EMD updates simply be related to this: "high-quality content from trusted sources"? After all, the update was about filtering out low quality (untrusted) EMDs, and by low quality I would assume in terms of content (and possibly quality of links?).

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