Google's 30 Most Recent Search Quality Changes

Jan 6, 2012 • 8:39 am | comments (10) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates
 

Google LogoGoogle provided an update with the 30 or so most recent search quality updates.

They also added in the code names, when applicable, used internally at Google for each of these updates. They include words like concepts, leaf, simple, greencr, Megasitelinks, foby, baschi and many many more.

I tried to categorize the updates for you below:

Rankings:

  • Image Search landing page quality signals. [launch codename “simple”] This is an improvement that analyzes various landing page signals for Image Search. We want to make sure that not only are we showing you the most relevant images, but we are also linking to the highest quality source pages.
  • Better spam detection in Image Search. [launch codename “leaf”] This change improves our spam detection in Image Search by extending algorithms we already use for our main search results.

Search Results:

  • More relevant sitelinks. [launch codename “concepts”, project codename “Megasitelinks”] We improved our algorithm for picking sitelinks. The result is more relevant sitelinks; for example, we may show sitelinks specific to your metropolitan region, which you can control with your location setting.
  • More accurate country-restricted searches. [launch codename “greencr”] On domains other than .com, users have the option to see only results from their particular country. This is a new algorithm that uses several signals to better determine where web documents are from, improving the accuracy of this feature.
  • More rich snippets. We improved our process for detecting sites that qualify for shopping, recipe and review rich snippets. As a result, you should start seeing more sites with rich snippets in search results.
  • More accurate byline dates. [launch codename “foby”] We made a few improvements to how we determine what date to associate with a document. As a result, you’ll see more accurate dates annotating search results.
  • Google Instant enhancements for Japanese. For languages that use non-Latin characters, many users use a special IME (Input Method Editor) to enter queries. This change works with browsers that are IME-aware to better handle Japanese queries in Google Instant.
  • Related query improvements. [launch codename “lyndsy”] Sometimes we fetch results for queries that are related to the original query but have fewer words. We made several changes to our algorithms to make them more conservative and less likely to introduce results without query words.
  • Tweak to +1 button on results page. As part of our continued effort to deliver a beautifully simple user experience across Google products, we’ve made a subtle tweak to how the +1 button appears on the results page. Now the +1 button will only appear when you hover over a result or when the result has already been +1’d.
  • Better spell correction in Vietnamese. [project codename “Pho Viet”] We launched a new Vietnamese spelling model. This will help give more accurate spelling predictions for Vietnamese queries.
  • Improvements to image size signal. [launch codename “matter”] This is an improvement to how we use the size of images as a ranking signal in Image Search. With this change, you’ll tend to see images with larger full-size versions.
  • Improved Hebrew synonyms. [launch codename “SweatNovember”, project codename “Synonyms”] This update refines how we handle Hebrew synonyms across multiple languages. Context matters a lot for translation, so this change prevents us from using translated synonyms that are not actually relevant to the query context.
  • Encrypted search available on new regional domains. Google now offers encrypted search by default on google.com for signed-in users, but it’s not the default on our other regional domains (eg: google.fr for France). Now users in the UK, Germany and France can opt in to encrypted search by navigating directly to an SSL version of Google Search on their respective regional domains: https://www.google.co.uk, https://www.google.de andhttps://www.google.fr.
  • Faster mobile browsing. [launch codename “old possum”, project codename “Skip Redirect”] Many websites redirect smartphone users to another page that is optimized for smartphone browsers. This change uses the final smartphone destination url in our mobile search results, so you can bypass all the redirects and load the target page faster.

Webmaster:

  • Soft 404 Detection. Web servers generally return the 404 status code when someone requests a page that doesn’t exist. However, some sites are configured to return other status codes, even though the page content might explain that the page was not found. We call these soft 404s (or “crypto” 404s) and they can be problematic for search engines because we aren’t sure if we should ignore the pages. This change is an improvement to how we detect soft 404s, especially in Russian, German and Spanish. For all you webmasters out there, the best practice is still to always use the correct response code.

Backend:

  • Better infrastructure for autocomplete. This is an infrastructure change to improve how our autocomplete algorithm handles spelling corrections for query prefixes (the beginning part of a search).
  • Improved dataset for related queries. We are now using an improved dataset on term relationships to find related queries. We sometimes include results for queries that are related to your original search, and this improvement leads to results from more relevant related queries.
  • Safer searching. [launch codename “Hoengg”, project codename "SafeSearch"] We updated our SafeSearch tool to provide better filtering for certain queries when strict SafeSearch is enabled.

Answers:

  • Live results for NFL and college football. [project codename “Live Results”] We’ve added new live results for NFL.com and ESPN’s NCAA Football results. These results now provide the latest scores, schedules and standings for your favorite football teams.
  • Better lyrics results. [launch codename “baschi”, project codename “Contra”] This change improves our result quality for lyrics searches.
  • Upcoming events at venues. We've improved the recently released places panel for event venues. For major venues, we now show up to three upcoming events on the right of the page. Try it for [staples center los angeles] or [paradise rock club boston].

Forum discussion at Cre8asite Forums.

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Comments:

sengroo

01/06/2012 02:32 pm

Oh wow, very cool indeed. Good stuff. www.Total-Privacy dot US

Dude

01/07/2012 10:07 am

It's nice that they've inhibited the +1 button except on mouse over. They need to do the same thing to the +1 buttons on AdSense ads. The buttons add a great deal of clutter, and on many sites, it is not clear what they are intended to annotate, because of their placement. I've turned them off completely on my own site.

Neti Pot

01/08/2012 06:56 pm

Good round up - I clearly need to learn more about rich snippets.

kevin anchi

01/09/2012 03:57 am

Good Info, google is tring to get better and better every day

pervezalam

01/09/2012 04:36 am

It will helps to find effective results when user will search with query

seocompany delhi

01/09/2012 08:49 am

Thanks for letting us know.

seo expert india

01/09/2012 09:48 am

In the Latest change of Google, it has focused on quality content plus link building where it was before only link building was in priority.

Adrian Grossett

01/10/2012 10:58 am

This is great - very useful breakdown - and vital for any SEO Consultants - thanks

Jeff

01/12/2012 06:24 pm

True Adrian, SEO guys can learn a lot from this. My favorite is when they "undo" stuff, there is a great example right here in this update. If you read in-between the lines of the “Related Query Improvements” you'll see that keyword rich content, descriptions and headlines still carry a lot of weight. It's explain a bit clearer here >>

Dedicated SEO

03/16/2012 01:41 pm

As Google updates its algorithms for search result it is become more competitive for SEO companies and I think it's a healthy competition.

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