Google Search Updates January 2012: Panda Integration, Page Layout and Social Search

Google Inside Search logoGoogle search team was busy in January. Very busy. In addition to (at least) three major search updates, many more smaller algorithm changes have been implemented to the biggest influential information seeking engine the world has ever seen and affects billions of people worldwide every month (emphasizing why the changes are important).

With such a great power, i have to give it for Google that began a tradition of an almost full disclosure about their search algorithm updates few months back. Continuing that tradition, Yesterday the company provided an overview of the algorithmic updates for January that contains no less than 17 new changes. I have summarized it up for you:

Freshness Update Update- The Freshness update received few minor “adjustments” for better fresher results.

Autocomplete and Spelling- The autocomplete feature has been improved to work faster and to provide better results whenever spelling corrections are needed.

Date Detection- An update that designated to identify better date of pages (which can also improve content scrappers detection).

Panda Algorithm Update- As already confirmed last month, Google is approving again the minor Panda “data refresh”. In addition, the Panda-indexing-ranking integration has been improved.

Languages- Related search queries will appear according to the query language itself regardless to the display language set. Also, English interface became more accessible for Saudi Arabia users.

Image Search- Images from better quality pages will rank HIGHER from images in low quality pages. Additionally, top and side menus won’t remain fixed when scrolling in image search results.

Related Searches- The related searches section at the bottom of the results page has been improved to offer more relevant and useful suggestions.

Better Mixing Of News Results- Few adjustments that improves the mix of new results whenever it is relevant to the query.

Google Instant Auto-Disable- Whenever the user’s internet connection is too slow, instant results will be turned off automatically (can be adjusted in the user’s search preferences).

Search Plus Your World- The new controversial social search that is basically based on Google+.

Page Layout Algorithm- The Page Layout algorithm acts (penalized) against too heavy ads sites above-the-fold. You can read a full analysis here.

Better Titles- More informative page titles will appear in the search results, whenever the page’s title tag is not sufficient.

This was just January and already Google have presented so many different updates as the SEO industry is changing fast accordingly. I have a feeling we are going to have a very exciting year ahead of us…