David Amerland has outlined 39 Google algorithm changes that took place in May and what they really mean. Most of them are very specific and will only help or hurt specific geographic areas or niches. For instance, one of the changes addresses mobile autocomplete. Another addresses Japanese language search. And there are a couple of changes that deal with improvements to Soccer Search and NBA Search, specific search verticals that only a small percentage of searchers actually use.
The following improvements, however, affect a lot more than just a few searchers. They potentially could affect us all, so you should know about them.
- Improvements to Penguin. The Penguin Update was a broad, sweeping Google algorithm change that re-ordered much of the web. The purpose was to target web spam and send it reeling to the search engine pit. It did this and took out some non-spam sites as well. These improvements saw some of those sites that didn’t deserve to drop in rankings come back up.
- Improvements in alt title generation. There were actually three changes in Google’s algorithm in May that addressed alt titles. Long titles can get cut off in the SERPs leading to low click through rates. One change allows Google to come up with an alternative page title base on on-page elements. Another change allows Google to come up with alternative titles faster. A third change addresses boilerplate content in the title – such as “Go Back” or “Click here.” The change will help Google better sort those content words out of titles.
- Smoother ranking functions for freshness. If you create a lot of fresh documents, this change will allow Google to include them in their SERPs more efficiently.
- Better detections for freshness. One very important task for Google is determining when a searcher is looking for fresh content vs. accurate content of any age. This change allows the search engine to better detect when a searcher is looking for fresh information – such as when your next industry conference is scheduled.
- Updates to +Pages in right-hand panel. This one will likely prove to be more important than anyone can guess. Google’s social network is more than a social network. With this algorithm change, you will likely see relevant Google+ pages in the SERPs when you are searching for a particular topic. If you are the owner of that page, then this is another way searchers can find you.
Some of these changes are small in comparison to others, but I’d say they could be significant to the way you promote your website through SEO in the future. Pay them some mind.