Have you checked out Google's May search quality highlights over at Inside Search? Here are just a couple to which to pay particular attention:
- Improvements to ranking for news results. [project codename "News"] This change improves signals we use to rank news content in our main search results. In particular, this change helps you discover news content more quickly than before.
- Better application of inorganic backlinks signals. [launch codename "improv-fix", project codename "Page Quality"] We have algorithms in place designed to detect a variety of link schemes, a common spam technique. This change ensures we’re using those signals appropriately in the rest of our ranking.
- Improvements to Penguin. [launch codename "twref2", project codename "Page Quality"] This month we rolled out a couple minor tweaks to improve signals and refresh the data used by the penguin algorithm.
- Trigger alt title when HTML title is truncated. [launch codename "tomwaits", project codename "Snippets"] We have algorithms designed to present the best possible result titles. This change will show a more succinct title for results where the current title is so long that it gets truncated. We’ll only do this when the new, shorter title is just as accurate as the old one.
- Efficiency improvements in alternative title generation. [launch codename "TopOfTheRock", project codename "Snippets"] With this change we’ve improved the efficiency of title generation systems, leading to significant savings in cpu usage and a more focused set of titles actually shown in search results.
- Better demotion of boilerplate anchors in alternate title generation. [launch codename "otisredding", project codename "Snippets"] When presenting titles in search results, we want to avoid boilerplate copy that doesn’t describe the page accurately, such as “Go Back.” This change helps improve titles by avoiding these less useful bits of text.
- Smoother ranking functions for freshness. [launch codename "flsp", project codename "Freshness"] This change replaces a number of thresholds used for identifying fresh documents with more continuous functions.
- Better detection of searches looking for fresh content. [launch codename "Pineapples", project codename "Freshness"] This change introduces a brand new classifier to help detect searches that are likely looking for fresh content.
- Freshness algorithm simplifications. [launch codename “febofu", project codename "Freshness"] This month we rolled out a simplification to our freshness algorithms, which will make it easier to understand bugs and tune signals.
- Updates to +Pages in right-hand panel. [project codename “Social Search”] We improved our signals for identifying relevant +Pages to show in the right-hand panel.
- Performance optimizations in our ranking algorithm. [launch codename "DropSmallCFeature"] This launch significantly improves the efficiency of our scoring infrastructure with minimal impact on the quality of our results.
- Improvements to local search on tablet. [project codename “Mobile”] Similar to the changes we released on mobile this month, we also improved local search on tablet as well. Now you can more easily expand a local result to see more details about the place. After tapping the reviews link in local results, you’ll find details such as a map, reviews, menu links, reservation links, open hours and more.
If you've been regularly following search quality highlights, you'll notice patterns emerging that demonstrate where Google search quality engineers are focusing the majority of their efforts, mainly: news, backlink signals, freshness, social, local and mobile.
And so, you should work on getting into Google news, review your back link profile and stop building crapping back links, focus on your content, join online conversations and make sure your local data is consistent.
Have you noticed the impact of any of these updates in your site's performance in search? Have the results been negative or positive? What about your search landscape? In your opinion, is Google serving up good sites related to your practice?
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