Important Google Algorithm Changes for SEO
January 25, 2012
Google has always kept its algorithm tweaks and changes somewhat of a secret; however, lately the Internet giant has made its most recent changes very public in an effort to inform Web users of the changes and methods that are most important. There is still a great deal of room left for interpretation though regarding specific search engine optimization protocol, however.
Google’s latest round of changes are important for digital marketers and SEO professionals to understand; the company has indicated that it is now more likely than before to pick text from actual page content for use in search result snippets, as opposed to content from headers or menus. In the past it has been known that Google largely ignored most page meta data like titles and descriptions, but this change in particular means that page content is more important than ever. Spending time optimizing page content is going to be key for SEO pros gaining better page rankings for their clients.
The most important Google algorithm change is the beginning of Google depreciating the value of anchor text that is part of inbound links when it comes to search result page titles. SEOs who have devoted a large amount of time to varying anchor text in link-building campaigns are going to find that those efforts have now largely been wasted. It is now best to focus on adding strong calls to action on Web pages instead of spending time varying anchor text.
Google has also made efforts to help mobile app developers provide additional information to help boost rankings. Google now includes application-rich snippets like app reviews, ratings and special offers, cost, file sizes and formats in the data that it uses to determine page rankings. Consumers will see in search results these snippets, along with the features provided, OS requirements and more.
As time progresses, consumers are going to notice less duplicate content coming up in search results too. Google has indicated that it has added new signals to indicate pages that are unique in content. Many search engine optimization professionals believe that this change may have come about as a result of the authorship markup, or rel-author tag, introduced in June of last year.
The issue of host crowding should improve with the recent algorithm changes from Google as well. Host crowding is when there are too many results from one site on search engine results pages, or SERPs. This will mean a more balanced and fair set of results being listed on pages. In addition, refinements have been made that will make pages that only partially match queries show up less often.
Other algorithm changes for Google are noteworthy as well. Google has improved how it handles date-based search results, which is when a user searches for something and uses a specified date range. Also, its blog search index is more comprehensive and now features better and more up-to-date results in the natural search results. The value of citations has depreciated, which are references from multiple documents online, and modifications have been made to better determine content that is new. Google is also working to increase the number of autocomplete predictions and has released a new algorithm for detecting placeholder sites and parked domains. Finally, there have been several changes to the layout in order to improve usability on tablet devices.
The bottom line here with all of this? If your website isn’t refreshing its content regularly, you are going to see it impact your page rankings, simply put. And even though the changes mentioned above are only a few out of the hundreds of changes that are made each year, it is best to remember that the best indication of website and page success is your own monitoring of search engine optimization campaigns, making adjustments when and wherever necessary to improve.