Home Google Reveals 10 Tweaks To Search Algorithm: What’s Changed?

Google Reveals 10 Tweaks To Search Algorithm: What’s Changed?

Google revealed 10 recent changes to its search algorithm today, including one to favor “fresher” results over older content in certain situations. Detection of “official” sites or pages has also improved. Other updates improve search snippets and page titles, as well as info retrieval across languages, among other tweaks.

In addition to the algorithm itself, Google has changed features of the search interface recently. It eliminated the “Timeline” view of results to organize them by date range, and it has integrated Google+ social content in a variety of ways.

Changes Affecting Page Content

Google continues to improve rich snippets and learn how to pull relevant page content into search results. Recent updates make Google smarter about pulling page body content, rather than header or menu content. Others improve page titles by de-duplicating anchor text in links, and improve details in rich snippets for applications.

Google has also retired a signal for image search that looked for images referred to by multiple documents around the Web. Another change improves detection of which pages are “official” for a topic or brand.

Changes To Time-Sensitive Results

Google is making a concerted effort to shift from basic chronological results to real-time search. Its recent updates to the Caffeine search infrastructure semantically determine when a user would want recent, “fresh” results instead of the all-time ranked pages. For example, it may determine that users searching for “olympics” are more likely to want results about the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics than the Wikipedia page for the Olympic Games.

By eliminating the “Timeline” view and applying “freshness” adjustments to queries with specified date ranges, Google is pushing timeliness as a new priority in how it determines relevance.

Google is also improving “freshness” signals by incorporating Google+ activity into overall search. After its real-time search deal with Twitter expired this year, it needs new signals for what’s currently trending. Google+ offers just such an opportunity, and Google is trying out real-time search within the social network.

Other Search Changes

Several recent tweaks to Google search improve cross-language results, using Google’s powerful translation to retrieve content for searches in languages that have limited Web content. Another improves query auto-completion in Russian, which used to produce some arbitrary and unhelpful predictions.

To see the rest of Google’s bullet-point search improvements, visit the Inside Search blog.

Do you think Google search is improving over time?

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