December 13, 2011

What does Google’s latest algorithm update mean for you?

Google has released yet another algorithm update and – in terms of updates – this is a big one, affecting around 35 percent of all searches. Compared to Panda which affected 12 percent of searches this could have a major impact on where your business ranks. Let us tell you more…

Basically a ranking change, this development improves search ‘freshness’ and provides more up-to-date relevant results per search. It specifically applies to recent events/hot topics, regularly occurring events and frequent updates.

Surprisingly up until now – when searching for ‘breaking news’, for example, you haven’t necessarily been provided with the latest news. In most cases it will be the most popular news you’re supplied with. The reason for this is the technology required to sort and filter the news just hasn’t been up to scratch, and the large volume of information the ‘spiders’ have to trawl through within the given time frame has resulted in the prioritisation of downloads.

Now, when searching for current events, you’ll see more high-quality pages which may only be minutes old and when searching for regularly recurring events you’ll see the latest developments. Frequent updates apply to searches that change often, for example, product information, which is particularly relevant when using the internet to research the best product on the market such as a camera or car.

But freshness is not the only thing being rewarded with this update as Graeme Knights, search account manager, comments; “The idea behind this latest update is to provide users with the very latest content. It hasn’t reached all search terms yet though and a search for a favourite recipe posted a few years ago may still be popular enough to rank highly. Searches for an unfolding news story however or the latest review of the iPhone 4S should bring the newer, fresher content first, followed by older results.

“Freshness is one aspect to this update but with it also comes a review into the topicality and quality of the content. This is essential to prevent misuse involving making a minor update to an existing page simply to rank higher in the search results. The content would have to be significantly improved or amended to achieve that.”

But this does give the opportunity to improve your ranking through regularly updated and improved copy. It also adds extra weight to a quality Twitter presence. Frequent, well worded price and offer updates could significantly help positioning.

Regular review of your onsite content is something that our SEO team would always recommend. Adding quality and user orientated content, along with regular page updates, can only assist you in becoming an authority website.