Google Inside Search have reported on changes put into affect during the month of April. Here we’ve outlined the most important changes that are relevant for online businesses.
Search Algorithm Highlights
1. Categorise paginated documents. [launch codename “Xirtam3”, project codename “CategorizePaginatedDocuments”] .
For keywords with multiple pages (often seen on e-commerce product searches), Google wants to reduce the amount of results a domain can have on a page, and sort them into more user-friendly categories. In the above example, we can see shirts from the ASOS site categorised in the search engines by the type of shirts available – vests, prints, plain and striped. Sites with optimised architecture will be the winners here.
2. More domain diversity. [launch codename “Horde”, project codename “Domain Crowding”]
Similar to the first change, domain diversity looks to reduce the number of pages one domain can hold over a keyword. The losers here will be sites who have created multiple over optimised pages targeting the same/related keywords.
3. Smoother ranking changes for fresh results. [launch codename “sep”, project codename “Freshness”]
Not to sound like a broken record, but content is KING! No matter which industry you are in, if you want the best search engine results, updating your website’s content is an essential part of your SEO strategy. Blog posts, latest news, industry updates – whichever option(s) you choose, make sure each is optimised for the user experience. Some of the best conversions you’ll get will be from less competitive but highly relevant long tail searches.
If this has been something you have struggled with, we’ve previously written on tips on getting social, no matter what industry you’re in. Alternatively, you may want to consider the services of a professional copywriter.
4. No freshness boost for low-quality content. [launch codename “NoRot”, project codename “Freshness”]
This is one of the biggest changes to affect sites globally (mainly in the US and Europe) due to the abuse of content link schemes. Google continues to remove and lower the quality scores of links being sent out from link scheme sites.
5 & 6. More efficient generation of alternative titles. [launch codename “HalfMarathon”] / More concise and/or informative titles. [launch codename “kebmo”]
Have you optimised your title for the search engines but your content has no or little relevancy to that title? This change sets out to look at other signals to generate your title content – something I suspect could include external anchor text and text used during social sharing.
7 & 8. “Sub-sitelinks” in expanded sitelinks. [launch codename “thanksgiving”] /Sitelinks data refresh. [launch codename “Saralee-76”]
This change delves deeper into site structures to look for more specific pages that users may want to access straight from the SERPs through sitelinks. Again, sites with clear and easy site architecture optimised for users will come out on top.
9. Keyword stuffing classifier improvement. [project codename “Spam”]
Nothing entirely new here – keyword stuffing has long been ruled out of any smart SEO strategy. Just a reminder for any business that may be new to SEO.
10. More authoritative results
Google have made additional changes to the algorithm to help improve the detection of sites authoritative for a particular industry. Another reason for businesses to step up their content and social strategies.
Of all the 52 changes, only one change focused on mobile (Better HTML5 resource caching for mobile).
April was a big month for change and Google’s focus has been a dramatic shift to demote low quality and over optimised content once and for all to give users a better and shorter experience with its search results.
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