Jonathan Saipe

5 Changes To Google’s Algorithm In May

15 June 2012, Jonathan Saipe

As usual, Google has been busy refining and modifying its algorithm, making improvements to the whole search experience and keeping SEO’ers on their toes!

Out of the 39 changes it made in May, we’ve summarised 5 changes that we feel are most relevant:

1. Improvements to Penguin

Under the appropriately named project codename “Page Quality”, in May Google made a couple of smaller modifications to improve signals and refresh the data used by its penguin algorithm. This once again points to the need to focus on high quality, rich and unique page content as part of your SEO strategy.

2. Modification to the way the title tag is treated

In a quest to make SERPS more relevant to user search queries, Google tweaked its algorithm triggering an alternative title when the HTML title is truncated. This change will display a more succinct title in search results where the current title is so long that it gets truncated.

Google has been playing around with how titles are displayed in search results for a while and this will no doubt continue to change in a bid to increase relevance.

3. Updates to how fresh content is calculated

Google has continually recommended that fresh content is an integral component in any SEO strategy. May saw quite a few changes relating to content freshness as follows:

  • Improved detection of major new events. When a significant news event occurs, Google can display relevant results as quickly as possible. It illustrates the need to consider how we – as publishers or website owners – can create topical relevant content as frequently as possible.
  • Smoother ranking functions for freshness and better detection of searches looking for fresh content. These modifications relate to how Google identifies fresh content or searches for content, again highlighting the need for website owners to consider their web content strategy.

4. Updates to +Pages in right-hand panel

Under codename “Social Search”, Google has improved its signals for identifying relevant +Pages to display in the right-hand panel in SERPS.

With the recent announcement of Google+ Local, Google’s been busy improving the whole Google+ social experience, putting more and more emphasis on the need to consider how much Google+ impacts on SEO.

5. Improvements to mobile search performance

Google has made improvements to local search on tablets. For a while searchers on mobile devices have had the option to receive personalised search results relevant to their precise mobile location. In May, Google’s commitment to mobile progressed further, and this feature is now available on tablets.

Google also made improvements to autocomplete on mobile, making predictions works faster.