The tradition of posting all the recent monthly search changes and updates on the first Friday of the month by Google for the sake of transparency, continued this month as well- Google has published a long list of more than 50 search updates for April.
Of course the big update this month was the Penguin update, but there were also many other changes that may have affected pretty significantly the results. Interestingly enough, even though there were two Panda updates on April (3.5 and 3.6) they aren’t mentioned at all.
Here’s a summary of all the main search updates and changes that happened on April:
Apparently, Google made some significant changes to the search index. Even though that the index is constantly growing as Google indexed more and more pages, Google now stating that the index grown in April by 15 percent which seems rather meaningful.
Additionally, If you already knew or not, Google index is divided by different “tiers” in order to serve more relevant queries. On April, Google created additional tier for better relevancy.
Google tweaked and updated some of the classifiers and signals that identifies fresh results. Other freshness-related changes are that now Google isn’t offering low quality content and low quality sites the boost in rankings frequent fresh content drives.
Google made some changes that are SEO-related: Improvement of identifying how a certain term that appears in a page is being scored, bringing more results from authoritative sources and improvement to the keyword stuffing classifier (separate from the Penguin).
Google are also mentioning they’ve fixed some bug related to anchor text. It is unclear if this is related to the parked-domain bug or it is a whole other bug.
There were bunch of updates to websites’ sitelinks- Creating a second layer of sitelinks when presenting megasitelinks (haven’t saw it yet), change in the score of URL appears in the megasitelinks, data refresh for sitelinks and a new method to reduce duplications on sitelinks.
Google made in April many changes that relates to local results- Improvement of general website-country association or specific organization-country association and promotion of local pages even if the exact location isn’t mentioned on the page.
Autocomplete and Spelling Correction
Google will display less autocomplete prediction queries for low quality pages, better prediction of local search results and autocomplete spelling correction been expanded to cover over 60 languages.
Spelling corrections have been expanded to appear even if the term is longer than 10 words, the spelling model has been refreshed and updated in 27 languages and there’s been a reduction in bad spell corrections internationally.
There have been improvements to the SafeSearch signals to decrease the likability to come across an adult contents on video or image search. The SafeSearch model classifier has been improved for more than 40 languages. Google specifically mentions an improvement of SafeSearch in Russian.
The ability to produce better alternative titles with less CPU resources has been improved. Google also improved its ability to generate succinct and informative title.
Few updates to improve sports-related search experience: New search features for MLB, Spanish football (soccer) and Formula 1 racing. In addition, an improvement for the NHL search feature.
Those were the major search updates for April. You can read about all the changes in Google’s blog post.