Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Official Google information: 10 recent algorithm changes

Last week, Google's Matt Cutts published a list of 10 recent ranking algorithm changes in an official Google blog. Do these changes affect your website rankings? Do you have to adjust your web pages for the new algorithm?

What is new in Google's ranking algorithm?
Here's the official list:
    1. For queries in languages where limited web content is available (for example Hind or Icelandic), Google will translate relevant English web pages and display the translated titles directly below the English titles in the search results.
    2. The snippets on the search result page now show more page content and less header/menu content.
    3. Google finds that boilerplate links with duplicated anchor text are not as relevant, so they are putting less emphasis on these. The result is more relevant titles that are specific to the page’s content.
    4. Autocomplete predictions in Russian have been improved.
    5. People who are searching for software applications will see more rich snippets, like cost and user reviews, within their search results.
    6. Google retired a signal in Image Search related to images that had references from multiple documents on the web.
    7. Some queries get fresher results. This change impacts around 6-10% of search results to a noticeable degree and better determines the appropriate level of freshness for a given query.
    8. Google adjusted how they attempt to determine which pages are official. This will tend to rank official websites even higher on Google's result page.
    9. Date-restricted queries have been improved to ensure that users get the results that are most relevant for the date range that they specify.
    10. Autocomplete predictions for Hebrew, Russian and Arabic have been improved.
    Matt Cutts does not go into detail. The most important change seems to be that boilerplate links with duplicated anchor text are not as relevant as before. This probably affects the texts in your website navigation most. If the navigation text was "green widgets" before, this would give the linked page a boost for the term "green widgets". Matt Cutts says that this has changed.
How do you have to change your web pages?
Google says that you shouldn't focus on the ranking factors above:
"Before you go wild tuning your anchor text or thinking about your web presence for Icelandic users, please remember that this is only a sampling of the hundreds of changes we make to our search algorithms in a given year, and even these changes may not work precisely as you’d imagine."
Google uses many different elements to specify the position of your web pages on the search result pages. The Top 10 Optimizer analyzes all important elements that determine the position of your web pages and it also tells you how to adjust your pages so that they get the best possible rankings.
Google is continually improving the ranking algorithms. If you want to keep your rankings, and if you want to get better rankings, regularly check your web pages to make sure that they are compliant to Google's latest ranking algorithm.


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