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Google Launches Major Update that Will Impact 1 Out of 3 Searches

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Google today announced a wide-reaching update to its search ranking algorithm that will impact about 35% of all search queries. This improved algorithm will put a stronger emphasis on how recently a page was posted or updated. As Google puts it, “Search results, like warm cookies right out of the oven or cool refreshing fruit on a hot summer’s day, are best when they’re fresh.” Today’s update, says Google, will especially ensure that you will get more relevant results for searches related to recent events, regularly recurring events (think annual conference, elections, sports scores, information about TV dramas etc.) and when you search for topics where information is frequently updated (Google uses car and gadget reviews as examples here).

Bigger Than Panda

It’s worth noting that this update should be more noticeable for users than the so-called Panda updates Google rolled out earlier this year in order to combat the growing influence of low-quality pages from content-farms like Associated Content and Demand Media. The first of these updates, according to Google, only affected about 12% of all queries “to a noticeable amount” and a second, smaller update, changed about 6-9% of all queries.

Here is an example of what these fresher search results will look like when you search for a recent event:

It’s no secret that Google is obsessed with speed. While getting search results to users faster is one way of making search better, having more recent search results to begin with is obviously another way for Google to make its ten blue links more relevant. Google will have to ensure that its new algorithm doesn’t value freshness over relevance, though.



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Better Search Results for All: Google’s Panda Update Goes Global

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In its efforts to preserve the quality of its search results, Google rolled out the so-called Panda and Panda 2.0 update to its algorithm for searches in English earlier this year. Until now, however, these changes didn’t impact searchers outside of the English-speaking world. That’s changing today, however. Earlier this morning, Google announced that it has now brought its “algorithmic search improvements” to all other languages, with the exception of Chines, Japanese and Korean.

Impact: 6-9% of All Searches

According to Google, these changes will impact about 6-9% of all queries to the degree that users will notice the difference. The earlier Panda update for English queries was decidedly more aggressive, as it affected a good 12% of all searches.

While Google doesn’t explicitly say so, the originally Panda update was – for a large part – motivated by the proliferation of content farms that pollute search results with low-quality content written by badly paid freelancers. Indeed, companies like Demand Media were strongly affected by this change and lost a good amount of traffic because of it.

The content spam problem isn’t quite as bad in the rest of the world. It looks like Google clearly felt that the Panda update improved search algorithm worked well enough in other languages as well to roll it out globally.

Image credit: Flickr user Stéfan



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