17 Google Search Quality Changes from January

Rene LeMerle Posted by

Although Search Plus Your World dominated Google ‘s improvements in January there were quite a few minor but still important improvements that you should know about.

Here’s a full list of them:

  • Fresher results. [launch codename “nftc”] The freshness algorithm released back in November got a series or minor updates this January to make sure you continue to receive the freshest and most relevant results.
  • Faster autocomplete. [launch codename “Snappy Suggest”, project codename “Suggest”] Improvements in the autocomplete system to deliver your predicted queries much faster.
  • Autocomplete spelling corrections. [launch codename “Trivial”, project codename “Suggest”] Improvements to the spelling corrections used in autocomplete were made to make the autocomplete corrections more consistent with the spelling corrections used in search.
  • Better spelling full-page replacement. [launch codenames “Oooni”, “sgap”, project codename “Full-Page Replacement”] With this improvement Google will now show you the results as soon as it understands what you are exactly searching for. For example “Showing results for [cheetah]” (rather than, say, “cheettah”).
  • Better spelling corrections for rare queries. This improvement in one of the models used to make spelling corrections in a number of rare search queries.
  • Improve detection of recurrent event pages. [launch codename “neseda”] Changes in how Google determines the date of a document to get you fresh and the latest results, particularly for pages discussing recurring events.
  • High-quality sites algorithm improvements. [launch codenames “PPtl” and “Stitch”, project codename “Panda”] This January the Panda algorithm went through a few changes on how the algorithm interacts with the Google indexing and ranking systems to get you more integrated search results. Also the Panda 3.2 update to refresh the data for Panda.
  • Cross-language refinements. [launch codename Xiangfan] With this change users will see language specific search results based on the display language used by the searcher. For example now if a user types a query in French, he might see French query refinements, even if his language is set to English.
  • English on Google Saudi Arabia. Users in Saudi Arabia can now more easily choose an English interface to search on google.com.sa.
  • Improved scrolling for Image Search. Changes in the scrolling behavior when you do an image search will now make it consistent with the scrolling pattern of the main search result page.
  • Improved image search quality. [launch codename “endearo”, project codename “Image Search”] Minor change in the image search ranking algorithm that helps images with high-quality landing pages rank higher in the Google image search results.
  • More relevant related searches. The section “Searches related to” that comes up at the bottom of your search result page giving you some related queries you may want to try just got an update to generate related searches, resulting in more useful query refinements.
  • Blending of news results. [launch codename “final-destination”, project codename “Universal Search”] The new improved search algorithm that will now decide which search query should show news results, making it more responsive to real time trends and how the news is blended into your overall search will ensure that related news articles appear in your search results when they are relevant.
  • Automatically disable Google Instant based on computer speed. [project codename “Psychic Search”] Google Instant has long had the ability to automatically turn itself off if you’re on a slow internet connection. Now Instant can also turn itself off if your computer is slow. If Instant gets automatically disabled, we continue to check your computer speed and will re-enable Instant if your performance improves. We’ve also tweaked search preferences so you can always have Instant on or off, or have it change automatically.

Most of these changes are not so much about rankings as they are about search results tweaks – which can indirectly impact rankings.

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About the Author: Rene is the marketing manager of ineedhits.com - a global search engine marketing company. He also leads the marketing for Gooruze.com - a web 2.0 style community for online and digital marketers. Rene has been in the industry since 1997 with much of that time spent helping businesses embrace the best of the internet and digital world.