Google has just released two major updates to its popular search engine. While all updates come and go virtually unnoticed, the Core Algorithm Updates are substantial and marked a major shift in search results. The updates, which begin on October 31st, are aimed at improving the quality of search results, particularly for individuals searching via Google. The changes primarily affect searches conducted via Google mobile. In addition, Google has also begun testing the new features on Gmail, although the full release of these updates is predicted in the not-so-distant future.
To understand what the March update means for SEO, one must first understand how Google measures the quality of results. In March, Google made changes that affect nearly every aspect of how Google visitors are found. For example, Google has always ranked websites according to the quality of their links, but in March, this changed. Prior to this update Google prioritized site relevancy and the number of inbound links to a site over internal linking. This change, or algorithm change, is referred to as the Panda algorithm.
The results Google received in terms of overall traffic last year were not good. Google received a record number of requests for site visits, but the quality of those visitors is in question. Many users expressed frustration with Google’s ability to index their pages and make selective judgments about what their relevance actually was. In some cases, Google assessed a site’s relevancy based on keyword popularity. For example, if a keyword was used five times on a page, Google would consider the link as relevant. However, Google did not take into consideration how often other sites with the same keywords were indexed, which may have diluted the value of links received.
Google’s first reaction to these results was to implement algorithms updates to try to make their search results more relevant. The Panda update introduced a Panda Update toolbar that offers suggestions when a user enters a search term that is highly specific. Users can also see a list of highly searched keywords to help them decide what search engines they should use. Google introduced a second toolbar in the fall called the Search Results Styled Toolbar. This toolbar offers a better overview of the overall search results, as well as a breakdown by category, search engine, and search ranking. Google claims that this will allow users to get a better idea of which search engines they should use to find specific information.
Google released another toolbar called the Panda Search Enhancement Suite in December of 2021. The Suite includes the Panda Web Inspector, Panda Insights, and the Panda Mobile Reading Viewer. This toolbar provides better insight into how Google indexes text content across the web so that the search results are more helpful to users.
Google has not yet provided details on when or if these updates will be implemented. In June, Google stated that it will begin rolling out Panda and Penguin changes gradually over a number of months. In July, Matt Cutts indicated that Google will be releasing “a few more big updates” with Penguin and Panda. Google made no mention of having any new algorithm updates with respect to Penguin or Panda.
There are many theories as to why Google might be changing the algorithm. Many believe it is because they are tired of getting negative criticism from the SEO community for all the spam that was found on their search results pages. Other people believe that Google is trying to make their search results appear more authoritative because in Sept. 2021, Google purchased the company that owns Google Places. Google Places is an advertising platform owned by Google. Google has recently stated that they will discontinue Google Places in October.
Currently, according to Google’s current ranking algorithms, Google has awarded page one rankings to twenty of the top twenty websites. Page two received page one rankings for twenty of the twenty sites. Page three received page one rankings for twenty-one of the twenty sites. Google will be releasing several algorithm changes during the next couple of months with regards to their search results.