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Google Unveils Ten Changes to Its Search Algorithm

Google has announced ten changes to its search algorithm, ranging from more relevant snippets to dropping a ranking signal in Image search. Although the tech giant makes nearly 500 changes to its algorithm every year, yesterday's announcement was part of an effort to unveil the "methodology and process" behind such improvements.

One of the latest changes involves snippets. Now when users search Google, they will see snippets with text from the actual page content, instead of text that is part of a header or menu. Another change related to snippets includes rich snippets for people who are searching for software applications. Google will now feature extended snippets with more details about the applications, like cost and user reviews.

Several of the recent changes have to do with the way search results are ranked in Google. For example, the tech giant has refined the way it determines official web pages. The new change will rank official websites even higher. Also related to search rankings, Google has retired one of its signals to help rank its search results, a signal in Image search related to images with information from several documents on the Internet. According to Google, this signal no longer appears to have a significant impact.

Other changes include offering more relevant titles that are specific to the page's content, length-based auto complete predictions in Russian, and fresher date-restricted queries.

In a blog post on the announcement, Google Distinguished Engineer, Matt Cutts, reminds site owners that the ten changes are just a sample of the hundreds of tweaks Google makes each year, and that, "and even these changes may not work precisely as you'd imagine." He added, "We've decided to publish these descriptions in part because these specific changes are less susceptible to gaming."

- Melanie Saxe

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Nov 15, 2011