Last week Google published another round of search improvements. They advised that this was the first of a monthly series where they will be sharing information about their algorithm and feature enhancements. Their new monthly blog posts will be highlighting the approximate 500 search improvements Google makes each year. So you don’t have to add another blog feed to your home page, each month we’ll be summarizing the posts for you.
Here are the Google SEO updates (and feature updates) for December 2011:
- Related query results. Google sometimes shows results that are similar to the search terms that you used. It has refined the algorithm so that it is now less likely that related results will rank highly if the original search term had a rare word that was not in the alternate query.
- More comprehensive indexing. Google is now including more long tail documents in its index. As we always tell our clients, going after long tail terms – such as “birthday party places in orange county ny” – is a great SEO strategy, especially for new websites or competitive markets. This refinement will make it even easier for searchers to find you.
- A “parked domain” classifier. Parked domains are really placeholder sites for companies that have not yet created a website to go with a domain name. They can also be placeholders for companies that buy up domains as a competitive strategy, which they never even plan to use. These “placeholders” typically are filled with ads and are really not at all relevant to a search. This new classifier will help weed out parked domains from the search results.
- Autocomplete predictions. As you may have noticed when you type in your search terms, Google tries to predict what you are typing and provides a list of search terms that may match what you are looking for. They have refined their prediction algorithm, making it a little more flexible.
- Blog search results. Google changed its blog search index. Now it provides blog results that are more current and comprehensive.
- The original content battle. In the last six months, Google has been addressing the duplicate content issue. They just added some new signals to its algorithm the help them determine which web page has the original content and which sites merely duplicated it.
Image freshness. A change will not make it easier for Google to find the most recent images for news searches.