In mid-November, Google announced ten changes to its search algorithm, affecting a wide array of results from those written in foreign languages to results having to do with specific dates or places. On average the Internet monster makes about 500 changes to its algorithm every year, and most are small and fairly insignificant.
However, the most recent changes include one that adds real-time results for about 33% of all search queries, which is a large portion of the total number of searches hosted by the search engine. With so many changes every year, a common question is why Google doesn’t publicize more of them. However, it makes sense to say that the main reason for this is to avoid dropping hints to websites that may rely on black hat techniques to get to the tops of the results pages.
In a Google blog post recently, Matt Cutts, probably the most well-known engineer for the company, stated that Google chose to publicize this latest round of changes because they are less susceptible to gaming and black hat.
For those readers who are unaware, Google is currently under fire from federal government regulators who are investigating the company for antitrust violations of various sorts. The main focus of the investigation is allegations of antitrust violations, with a concern over the secrecy behind how searches work. Why so much concern? Because changes in the ways that Google searches and algorithms work can have a dramatic effect on businesses and the economy.
So what are these magical changes that have SEO professionals buzzing? One of them affects languages for which there is not very much Web content. Google is going to now translate Web pages into English and show results originating in foreign languages in English search results. Google is also going to show more snippets, or information that goes beyond just a link to a Web page. Users will start seeing specific information that they can click on to be taken right to that info on the sites. In addition, Google is going to pay more attention to official Web sites such as those of government bodies, in turn giving those websites higher rankings on their SERPS, or search engine results pages.
All in all, these few changes alone by Google seem to have various groups of people interested enough to research in depth as much as possible to try to get to the “nitty gritty” of it all. For the most part, it seems that the overall consensus rules that the algorithm changes by Google are positive moves in the right direction, further encouraging and enhancing a new and powerful true global economy. What will future changes be that may affect businesses with websites? Depending on the outcome of the government investigation, we may or may not ever know.