The Search Quality Highlights for May feature many changes designed to enhance the search experience for users, from increased speed in mobile autocomplete to improving the soccer search figure for the UEFA Euro 2012. We’ve narrowed the changes further to highlight changes that concern the online business webmaster:
Further reduction of spammy websites designed to manipulate Page Rank
2. Improvements to Penguin. [launch codename "twref2", project codename "Page Quality"]
A refresh of the Penguin update – used to promote sites using “white hat” SEO techniques and demoting sites suspected of using link schemes, keyword stuffing and other techniques considered “black hat”.
3. Trigger alt title when HTML title is truncated. [launch codename "tomwaits", project codename "Snippets"]
(On Page SEO) Push to get webmasters using more succinct alt titles – an indication that the alt attributes are still a ranking factor.
4. Efficiency improvements in alternative title generation. [launch codename "TopOfTheRock", project codename "Snippets"]
(On Page SEO) Alt title generation performed by Google at an increased speed. It is therefore wise for webmasters to provide alt title tags on links and images as a best practice so that the search robots don’t have to generate them for you.
Improvement in detecting fresh content on website. You may have heard us mention this before, but content is king! If you aren’t an authoritative site yet, blogging is your friend. It’s free and more simple than you’d think. Google doesn’t tailor updates around fresh content for nothing, so get cracking!
6. Freshness algorithm simplifications. [launch codename “febofu", project codename "Freshness"]
Another update in the ‘Freshness’ signal, as above.
7. Updates to +Pages in right-hand panel. [project codename “Social Search”]
Google+ Pages are increasing in their search presence. It won’t be long before this is a strong factor in Google’s search algorithms, particularly with the launch of Google+ Local Pages. This highlight refers to the inclusion of Google+ Pages in the right hand side search preview. I predict the replacement of Google Business Places with Google+ Business Pages, so it may be worth while creating and/or optimising your Google+ Page now.
While most business websites don’t feature music, we couldn’t help ourselves when we saw the following launch codename:
Internationalizing music rich snippets. [launch codename "the kids are disco dancing", project codename "Snippets"] - Uses markup so that users discover sites where users can listen to and/or preview songs.
Each monthly update reveals the ever changing nature of search and SEO. You can read about previous changes from April here and March here. Feel free to drop me a line in the comments if you have any questions concerning these updates.