I’ve been trying to avoid this post for about a week now. Google updates certain things every day, and believe me… search is changing at the speed of sound. On October 4, Google published the sixty-five changes that they made to their search algorithms in the two months prior. Most of them are slight and don’t impact marketers the way others will. So, I’ve taken some time to digest what happened, and want to let you know about changes that may impact your business. The others can be found at Google’s Inside Search Blog.
August Google Updates:
- #82862. [project “Page Quality”] This launch helped you find more high-quality content from trusted sources
Google is weeding out crap sites. If you have a blog that you haven’t updated in six months, you could be victim. Or, if you’re scraping content or have a nasty, ugly site where the noise far exceeds the signal, you’re probably going to wake up one day and find your site toast — at least in Google search.
- LTS. [project “Other Ranking Components”] We improved our web ranking to determine what pages are relevant for queries containing locations.
If your site is optimized for local search then you should pay attention to this one. When you have a local presence in Bradenton, Florida like I do, it’s not smart to try and optimize for every city in the state of Florida or any other location. Rather than keywords stuffing, although this is a form of stuffing, if you’re location stuffing, you’re going to feel the pinch. Just don’t do it.
On the other hand, if you have stores in Bradenton, Sarasota, and St. Pete, it would make better sense. Google wants to make sure that people aren’t just stuffing locations to try and get traffic from more places than those where their businesses exist. I’d still have separate pages for the three locations, and optimize them appropriately.
- #83105. [project “Snippets”] We refreshed data used to generate sitelinks.
If you had sitelinks for your site, like these:
You may have seen a change, either positive or negative.
- Imadex. [project “Freshness”] This change updated handling of stale content and applies a more granular function based on document age.
Google wants fresh content, so it’s important to keep updating your site. One way to accomplish this for a store, for example, is to add a blog to your domain and update it religiously.
- #83442. [project “Snippets”] This change improved a signal we use to determine how relevant a possible result title actually is for the page.
Is the title fitting for the page? If you’re stuffing keywords into a title that isn’t relevant to your content look out. Remember, you may not be hit the first time one of these updates run, but Google is running them periodically. Over time, I’m guessing you’ll feel the pinch.
- #84010. [project “Page Quality”] We refreshed data for the “Panda” high-quality sites algorithm.
Precisely what I was talking about above. Panda is running monthly these days. Eventually, Google hopes to weed out all crappy sites on the Web from their search results.
September Google Updates
- #84394. [project “Page Quality”] This launch helped you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
There we go again. This is the first time in September that this was run, but the third time from August 1. It’s all about the high-quality content from trusted sources issue. If you’re not spending time producing high-quality content, you’re not going to do well in Google search.
- #83761. [project “Freshness”] This change helped you find the latest content from a given site when two or more documents from the same domain are relevant for a given search query.
There’s that freshness thingy again. In the past, you could create all kinds of content and it would be on the Web forever. Well, it still will be, but it may not show up in search if there’s something just as relevant and newer to replace it#84460. [project “Snippets”] This change helped to better identify important phrases on a given webpage. And…
- #83901. [project “Synonyms”] This change improved the use of synonyms for search terms to more often return results that are relevant to the user’s intention.
Seem like LSI (latent semantic indexing) updates. Eventually, keywords will be obsolete because search spiders will just “get” what you’re writing about without you needing to include certain terms to rank. Simply writing about your niche will be enough. This is already working. I’m ranking in some position for 1,833 terms, and if you’ve been writing a long time, you probably are, too. Some of the terms are whack, like “bad meat” and “nice looking guy.” I’m guessing they get loads of targeted traffic for me, eh? LOL In time, I expect this will improve as Google continues to update.
Those are just a few of the Google updates for the past couple of months. The rest have mostly to do with Autocomplete, Universal search, the Knowledge Graph, and other things that don’t really impact marketing.
So, what’s the takeaway?
Write good stuff, write more good stuff, and then, write more stuff again. Make videos, too, so you don’t get bored.