Google Search Updates For May: Penguin, Inorganic Links, Freshness and Titles

Google Inside SearchAbout a week in June, Google finally released their monthly search updates blog post for May. On this latest edition Google reveals that there were 32 search algorithm changes over the passing month and a few more updates which had some association with search.

I first want to begin with what WASN’T on the list- Panda update. The last confirmed Panda update (data refresh 3.6) took place on April 27th which was about six weeks ago so this is definitely one of the biggest gaps between Panda updates. From the pattern of updates so far, I would say that there’s a big chance for a Panda update this weekend.

Anyway, let’s go over the important search updates for May that were actually on the list:

Penguin and Inorganic Backlinks

Google disclosed that there were a couple of tweaks to the Penguin update. We know that one of them was the 1.1 data refresh which was already confirmed, but apparently there was also another undisclosed tweak which was designated to improve the Penguin’s signals.

Separately from the Penguin, there was another inorganic links-related algorithmic change which was set to identify all sorts of link schemes. From what I understand, Google apparently operates other link schemes detectors besides the Penguin. Or perhaps they are working together? Currently, it isn’t clear.

Freshness and News

As usual, there were few freshness-related updates this month. Over the passing month, the Freshness algorithm has been improved to identify better fresh documents and a new classifier has been implemented to identify fresh content searches. Additionally, Google made the Freshness algorithm simpler so it would be easier to tune it.

In addition to the Freshness Algorithm itself, Google also made couple of changes to news-related results. There was some change designated to show news results faster and another change was set to identify “in realtime seconds” when a major new event bursts.


On May, Google made several changes to how it detects and displays page’s titles on the search results. Google will display more succinct title whenever the page’s HTML title is too long and it is possible to generate an accurate shorter alternative title.

More titles improvements: The efficiency of producing alternative titles has been improved (reduction in CPU usage) and the ability to identify and to ignore boilerplate useless texts was also improved.


Google made some interesting adjustment to autocomplete results- Whenever there are few possible autocomplete predictions for a query, Google might serve few of those predictions inside the results page itself instead of just one. There were also more general improvements for autocomplete predictions for desktop and for mobile.

These were the most significant search updates on May search updates list that I’ve found. The full list can be found on the blog post.