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Google Publishing Algorithm Changes

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Saturday December 3, 2011 )

Each year, Google makes around 500 tweaks to its search ranking algorithm – and now the company is going to be telling us more about those changes; and more often.

Major updates to Google’s algorithm certainly don’t go unnoticed – those occurrences are given names such as “Jagger”, “Florida”, “Caffeine” and “Panda”. Debates on SEO forums rage for weeks or even months after such an update as to what it did or didn’t entail. Googlers will occasionally drop in on those threads with clarifications, or they’ll post up some related info on their own blogs.

But Google makes a lot of other changes as well that for the most part go unnoticed by the majority of site owners and G has traditionally been pretty quiet about those tweaks.

Even if a change is noticed, if it’s not being widely reported by others, site owners can be totally perplexed by a sudden rise or drop in ranks that occurs out of the blue. A subtle change can have major impacts on individual sites.

Google has decided to be a little more transparent about these more subtle changes that occur between major updates. The decision was made after a list they published last month was well received.

The company says it will now post a list of algorithm changes it has made each month retrospectively and given the first “official” post of this nature occurred a few days ago (December 1), I guess we can expect to see these lists published on Inside Search at the beginning of each month going forward.

This month’s list from changes in November includes more parked domains being weeded out of results, improvements to scraper and copied content detection to determine the original document, changes to allow more long-tail documents to be available in its index and a few other tweaks.

Over the years I’ve often seen ranking movements between major updates that leave me scratching my head – with this information, it will sometimes help to establish a link between the effect and the cause.

It’s a great service from Google to the site owner and SEO community, even if the information does come up to a few weeks after a change is implemented.


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