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Google’s Fresh Algo Tweak

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Friday November 4, 2011 )

Google announced yesterday it was making a significant tweak to its ranking algorithm that will impact over a third of searches.

The “significant improvement” Google says will determine when to provide searchers with more current results; particularly in relation to current events, recurring events or information that changes regularly.

For online merchants, the latter is a pretty important point to take note of and Google uses a specific example of the latest model of a product. Perhaps it will be a case of first in, best dressed (all other factors being equal).

If you have been focusing all your SEO efforts off-site and letting your site go a little stale – which can often be the case for brochure type sites – you might want to consider a bit of extra time spent closer to home.

“This algorithmic improvement is designed to better understand how to differentiate between these kinds of searches and the level of freshness you need, and make sure you get the most up to the minute answers,” says Google’s Amit Singhal.

I’m not clear on whether this change has been rolled out or is being rolled out now. I haven’t seen any major changes in traffic for sites I monitor as yet.

In other Google related news, if you’re a Google Analytics user and have been noticing in your keyword reports a spike in the number of “(not set)” entries recently; you’re certainly not on your own.

A couple of weeks back, Google announced it would start redirecting signed in users to its secure search. When searches from are performed, the keywords used are not specified in Google Analytics reports, just the aggregated number of visits from secure search indicated under “(not set)”. However, this doesn’t apply to merchants using Google Adwords; i.e keyword data will be sent for clicks on Adwords Ads.

Google said the change would affect less than 10% of searches. I’ve seen about 5% on sites I monitor, but some are reporting as high as 15%. This change has created a lot of controversy. Imagine if all searches carried out on Google were routed through secure search – it would make the life of SEO’s and marketers a lot tougher. Even at 5, 10 or even 15% it creates a few challenges as what you don’t know, you don’t know.


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