- Posted on 18 October 2012
Google Improves Diversity in Results
Matt Cutts tweeted back in September that they have released an algorithm change that had effectively improved the diversity of domains shown in it’s results. This correction was widely anticipated by many webmasters as the domain diversity bug has been well documented for the past few months.
Unfortunately, as yet we haven’t seen any real impact of this update reflected in the Google UK results so it may be that this is taking a little time to become fully visible. The bug still seems to be prevalent in Google’s top 10 and typically gets worse the deeper you drill into their results.
Google announced on Twitter on 18th September that they pushed out a Panda refresh that impacted “fewer than 0.7% of queries.” This is simply a refresh rather than an algorithm change however. The previous Panda refresh was on August 20, 2012 and labeled 3.9.1.
Google continues to invest in it’s higher quality sites algorithm and many of the search updates in August & September were related to page quality signals. The impact of many of these data refreshes and tweaks seem to be minimal however as Google fine tunes this part of their algorithm.
Google dials down the effectiveness of exact match domains
Matt Cutts also announced that Google would be reducing the effectiveness of low quality exact match domains in it’s results. This was something that webmaster’s had been expecting for some time as Google had stated 2 years ago that they would be looking into it.
Currently this looks like it has only been rolled out in US results however expect a wider roll out soon. This is yet another algorithm change that aims to target low quality domains although we are already seeing some fallout for legitimate client domains so I would expect Google to try and fine tune this over the next few months.
However in the meantime this tweak may help UK brands compete for more targeted search queries where exact match domains had previously punched above their weight.
Over 65 Search Updates Made in August & September
Google released details regarding the 65 updates that they rolled out in August and September via the Inside Search blog.
An example of some of the page quality updates that were announced.
- #84010. [project “Page Quality”] We refreshed data for the “Panda” high-quality sites algorithm.
- #84394. [project “Page Quality”] This launch helped you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
Whilst they only refer to Panda once in the post, there are numerous references to page quality updates indicating that they are focusing on Panda related signals. There were also plenty of updated focused around their knowledge graph and safesearch.
Most notably however was the omission of anything relating to the exact match domain tweak. Google released the response explaining why this was the case.
“These changes rolled out very recently, and their launch language was approved after the cutoff date where we were finalizing the blog post. We tweeted these changes and were also planning to include those launches in future updates.”
“…in general we only intend to show entries when a new change went through the launch process for approval, and so you might not see every data refresh in our list. As we said last December, we’re going to keep pushing the envelope when it comes to sharing how our search engine works.”