In late February Google released 40 search updates and confirmed the release of Panda 3.3 update. According to Google, the latest Panda update “refreshes data in the Panda system, making it more accurate and more sensitive to recent changes on the web.” To search marketers of the world this updated sounded similar to Panda 3.2 and was described only as a “data refresh” and not related to new or changed ranking signals.
Here are a couple highlights from the additional 40 search updates:
Local Search: Google released two local search updates. The first of which improves the ranking for local search results by relaying more on the ranking of Google’s main search results when triggering Local Universal to serve results. The additional update was the launch of a new system to find results from a user’s city more consistently. SEO has continues to become a bigger player when it comes to local search. If you are a local business or restaurant incorporating local SEO into your strategy is key.
Image updates: Within the 40 updates, there were three related to the search results of images. Google expanded the size of their images index for Universal search, which will give more relevant images on a larger set of searches. Google also updated and improved detection for SafeSearch in Image Search. The final image update was the fresher images update. In line with Google’s ‘Freshness Update’ last year, Google adjusted their signals for returning fresh images and can now more quickly serve fresh images into search results. These image updates just prove one more reason why using alt tags on your website is important as well as not only pushing fresh content but fresh images to increase your index and search strength within Google.
Freshness updates: Google continues to tweak their freshness algorithm through images and content. The additional freshness update helps Google serve fresh content to search results more quickly than before. Once again emphasizing the reason to create fresh content on your website to improve SEO.
Additional items to take note of that were included in search updates:
- Tweaks to expanded sitelinks including less duplication and adjusted categorizer
- Locally relevant predictions in YouTube
- More accurate detection of official pages
- “Site:” query update
- Evaluating links as it relates to determining the top of the linked page