On April 3rd Google announced 50 changes to the core search algorithm. Many of them won’t impact you on a regular basis, but there are a handful that anyone working on the web needs to take notice of.
Anchor Text Changes
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.
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.
FEAR: Google will devalue links with highly targeted anchor text!
PROBABLE REALITY: Google seems to be dedicated to making an effort to sniff out seemingly unnatural clusters of highly optimized anchor text embedded in content that may not seem relevent (wow that sounded like corporate lawyer speak).
What that means to you is that if you have a link from a page talking about cupcakes that links back to your tire shop with the anchor text “world’s best tire shop” Google may not give that particular link it’s full serving of link juice.
On the other hand, if you have a link on a page about high performance cars and link out to the “world’s best tires” you’re probably ok. The truth is that Google has been moving in this direction for some time.
More proof that Google+ is here to stay
Better indexing of profile pages. [launch codename “Prof-2”] This change improves the comprehensiveness of public profile pages in our index from more than two-hundred social sites.
Improvements to name detection. [launch codename “edge”, project codename “NameDetector”] We’ve improved a system for detecting names, particularly for celebrity names.
If you haven’t taken the time to build out your Google profile, put it on your to-do list. In fact, you should take the time to build out all of your public profile pages so Google and anyone looking for you can receive an accurate picture of you and your skills – especially if you are looking for a new job or may be looking at some point in the future.
The Panda and Panda-like updates continue to roll out with regularity
High-quality sites algorithm data update and freshness improvements. [launch codename “mm”, project codename “Panda”] Like many of the changes we make, aspects of our high-quality sites algorithm depend on processing that’s done offline and pushed on a periodic cycle. In the past month, we’ve pushed updated data for “Panda,” as we mentioned in a recent tweet. We’ve also made improvements to keep our database fresher overall.
Remove deprecated signal from site relevance signals. [launch codename “Freedom”] We’ve removed a deprecated product-focused signal from a site-understanding algorithm.
All of the talk over the last few years of Google returning less-than-optimal results apparently hit a nerve in the Plex. Google seems bound and determined to give you better results.
If you are optimizing for news specifically or video there was also tweaks that you should be aware of.
So what are you doing to keep up with the latest changes?