More Google algorithm improvements!

On first of December Google published another list of search improvements, beginning a monthly series where they will share more details about their algorithm and feature enhancements they make on a near-continuous basis.

Google believes people care about how search works and that is true particularly for those of us in the search/marketing business.

They say they want to push the envelope when it comes to transparency and have to date they have published almost 1,000 blog posts about search, more than 400 webmaster videos and thousands of forum posts.

For years now they have been blogging about some significant algorithmic updates like Panda/Farmer and recent freshness update.

So, why another blog series?

Essentially, they say, it is to make search even more transparent presumably to prove their commitment to making search results more relevant for all of us.

Google make about 500 changes to search algorithm every year

Given that there are about 500 improvements in any year there is always something to be shared.

In the new blog series, they will be highlighting many of the subtler algorithmic and visible feature changes they often make which in themselves are not significant or big enough to devote an entire blog post about them.

Below is a list of updates since those previously announced on November 14th:

  • Related query results refinements: Sometimes we fetch results for queries that are similar to the actual search you type. This change makes it less likely that these results will rank highly if the original query had a rare word that was dropped in the alternate query. For example, if you are searching for [rare red widgets], you might not be as interested in a page that only mentions “red widgets.”
  • More comprehensive indexing: This change makes more long-tail documents available in our index, so they are more likely to rank for relevant queries.
  • New “parked domain” classifier: This is a new algorithm for automatically detecting parked domains. Parked domains are placeholder sites that are seldom useful and often filled with ads. They typically don’t have valuable content for our users, so in most cases we prefer not to show them.
  • More autocomplete predictions: With autocomplete, we try to strike a balance between coming up with flexible predictions and remaining true to your intentions. This change makes our prediction algorithm a little more flexible for certain queries, without losing your original intention.
  • Fresher and more complete blog search results: We made a change to our blog search index to get coverage that is both fresher and more comprehensive.
  • Original content: We added new signals to help us make better predictions about which of two similar web pages is the original one.
  • Live results for Major League Soccer and the Canadian Football League: This change displays the latest scores & schedules from these leagues along with quick access to game recaps and box scores.
  • Image result freshness: We made a change to how we determine image freshness for news queries. This will help us find the freshest images more often.
  • Layout on tablets: We made some minor color and layout changes to improve usability on tablet devices.
  • Top result selection code rewrite: This code handles extra processing on the top set of results. For example, it ensures that we don’t show too many results from one site (“host crowding”). We rewrote the code to make it easier to understand, simpler to maintain and more flexible for future extensions.

Below is some further improvements they’ve announced in addition to those above:

Google say that the next regular report will be in early January and plan to continue on a monthly schedule after that.

Are you looking forward to it?

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