The following are Google’s list of algorithm changes for the month of January and my thoughts on each:
Fresher results – In my opinion, fresher results are good for SEO and good for Internet marketers and users. In the old days, Google would not update there algo for 4-8 weeks at a time, and when an update happened it stayed for the remainder of that time. If the results were bad for a site it was screwed, and that was also bad for users. The fresher the results, the better for everyone. I am all for this.
Faster autocomplete – This is not overly relevant to SEO. It is more related to usability of Google.
Autocomplete spelling corrections – This will not have a major impact on SEO.
Better spelling full-page replacement – Same as above.
Better spelling corrections for rare queries – Rare queries will not have significant impact on SEO and therefore this is not big news.
Improve detection of recurrent event pages – This will affect how Google determines the date of a document. This could affect news search, or searches related to time based queries. It may also impact attempts to fake freshness.
High-quality sites algorithm improvements – This appears to be related to the Panda update that devastated a number of sites back in April 2011. There is room for improvement here on an ongoing basis. While the original update did wipe some low quality sites from the top of the rankings, there were some good sites that got hit as well. Continued improvement is a good thing for white hat site marketers and users.
Cross-language refinements – This will mostly affect those searching in a Google site that is not default in their language. Google will detect that and make suggestions in the language of the users queries.
English on Google Saudi Arabia – I do not currently do any work in Saudi Arabia, but this could be helpful for English speaking users of google.com.sa.
Improved scrolling for Image Search – I don’t see this having an impact on SEO.
Improved image search quality – This update is supposedly going to give an emphasis to images with high quality landing pages in image results. This could be good if Google is able to detect redirects or image spam better as a result.
More relevant related searches – This is related to the “Related Searches” that pop up at the bottom of the page after you do a search. Many people aren’t even aware that these are there and I don’t believe they drive a ton of traffic, still it is important for SEOs to monitor and see what queries they are showing up for and what sites are showing up for queries related to their business name. Studying these results is a good way to broaden your target keywords.
Blending of news results – Universal search continues to blend results from different areas of search. It is important that your campaigns are broad and encompass multiple areas of search, and not just organic. It is important to be in Local, Shopping, New, Images, Video, Social, etc…
Automatically disable Google Instant based on computer speed – While I am not so concerned personally about this based on speed of Internet or computer, I say thank goodness that they are making it easier to opt out of instant search. I find it incredibly annoying and find no benefit to it. To opt out you can go to search preferences.
Compiled by Chris Powell