Google search engine update highlights for March
Google has rolled out its new search engine updates yet again and most industry experts are of the opinion that they are a bit towards the confusing side. The official reports on the Official Google Search Blog from Google regarding these new updates list out a total of 50 updates.
Many Search Engine experts are of the opinion that it is difficult to grasp the true meaning of March’s Google search engine updates as often they seem contradictory. But the best part about these changes is that they make for constructive discussions among the search engine industry experts and amateurs alike. We will be discussing the main points of the latest search engine updates provided to us by Google.
Changes in anchor text
Below are the two points on the Official Google Search Blog in regard to the way the search engine giant aptly develops anchor text:
“Tweaks to handling of anchor text. [launch codename "PC"] This month we turned off a classifier related to anchor text (the visible text appearing in links). Our experimental data suggested that other methods of anchor processing had greater success, so turning off this component made our scoring cleaner and more robust.
Better interpretation and use of anchor text. We’ve improved systems we use to interpret and use anchor text, and determine how relevant a given anchor might be for a given query and website.”
The primary part makes note of the fact that Goggle has done away with a signal or classifier, whereas the second half states that the search engine might be making use of a new mechanism to resolve on the importance of anchor text. Industry insiders are not exactly clear as to the precise meaning of these changes but most agree that anchor texts have not been done away with and Google might have refined the way anchor text is scored.
Changes in image search
There has been mention of changes with relation to image search as well and these changes explicitly deal with the page quality of the image search results as mentioned in the updates.
“More relevant image search results. [launch codename "Lice"] This change tunes signals we use related to landing page quality for images. This makes it more likely that you’ll find highly relevant images, even if those images are on pages that are lower quality.
Improvements to Image Search relevance. [launch codename "sib"] We’ve updated signals to better promote reasonably sized images on high-quality landing pages.”
What is perceivable from the above mentioned updates is that the former part, pages with a lower quality would benefit hereon, while the latter states that pages with a better overall quality would remunerated further.
It can be argued that Google is bent on confusing the SEO world as they seem to be putting their energies towards the promotion of lower quality pages by yielding more images from them. At the same time they seem to be lauding higher quality pages that may have images that are reasonably sized.
Indexing of symbols
Most industry experts are of the belief that Google has completely done away with ignoring most of the symbols and punctuation marks that constitute most searches. This is great news for websites that make use of such symbols and punctuation marks as well.
“Improvements to handling of symbols for indexing. [launch codename "Deep Maroon"] We generally ignore punctuation symbols in queries. Based on analysis of our query stream, we’ve now started to index the following heavily used symbols: “%”, “$”, “\”, “.”, “@”, “#”, and “+”. We’ll continue to index more symbols as usage warrants.”
What we understand from this is that this may connect to searches for other things such as usernames on social networking websites like Twitter as well. In the broader picture, it may even take note of Twitter hashtags that have become so popular these days. But this has not been confirmed by Google and must be open to speculation.
Inquiries regarding navigation
Interesting updates regarding navigation queries were noted on the blog as well:
“Improvements to results for navigational queries. [launch codename "IceMan5"] A “navigational query” is a search where it looks like the user is looking to navigate to a particular website, such as [New York Times] or [wikipedia.org]. While these searches may seem straightforward, there are still challenges to serving the best results. For example, what if the user doesn’t actually know the right URL? What if the URL they’re searching for seems to be a parked domain (with no content)? This change improves results for this kind of search.”
Better handling of queries with both navigational and local intent. [launch codename "ShieldsUp"] Some queries have both local intent and are very navigational (directed towards a particular website). This change improves the balance of results we show, and helps ensure you’ll find highly relevant navigational results or local results towards the top of the page as appropriate for your query.
These changes are quite straightforward and can be illustrated with a simple example. When a Google search is made for a word like “coffee”, with the location being set to your actual location then the search results would possibly have a location such as a coffee place in your hometown. On changing of the location to a different place the same would be reflected and the new location’s coffee shops would take preference in the search results.
Interestingly, pages dealing with the word coffee and not just the places providing coffee would be showcased towards the bottom end of the search results. This seems to be the conclusion from the navigation query updates rolled out by Google.
To read about all of the 50 updates rolled out by Google in the month of March please visit the Official Google Search Blog. The blog seems to be progressing with every post as Google is trying to make these monthly search engine updates more accessible to the average internet user. Google has even included a video to take the viewers further into how the decisions regarding these updates are taken.