86 SEO Changes Google made in June and July 2012

Google produced a number of changes to its search algorithm and search-related properties over June and July. The main focus here was on Semantic Search, quality on the search results pages and mobile. I know the list is long (I spent time writing it) but if you work online and depend on search you do need to know. There is a summary at the bottom which tells you the general direction Google is heading towards with all these changes. This is great if all you are looking for is a summary and you are not a webmaster running a website for a living.


01. uefa-euro1. Addition of a live result showing schedule and scores of the EURO 2012 games (European championship of national soccer teams).

What it means: Google has been focusing on near-real time results for sports events and this was part of one of the changes code-named “freshness” which they carried out in May. The company continues to look at ways it can deliver results which are relevant to sporting results and topical searches.

02. #82293. Improved dictionary search feature by adding support for more natural language searches.

What it means: Google is focused on becoming a service that provides answers as well as search results. Its shift from pure indexing to computational search is aimed at exactly this. The addition of more natural language searches is aimed at improving Google’s results based on search queries carried out on questions which will provide an answer, where possible right on the search results page.

03. Better HTML5 resource caching for mobile. We’ve improved caching of different components of the search results page, dramatically reducing latency in a number of cases.

What it means: Mobile devices are HTML5 driven rather than Flash. Google’s caching of HTML5 for mobile improves the streaming of video in mobile devices and further improves the end-user experience in an area where Google truly dominates.

04. ng2. Better ordering of top results using a new and improved ranking function for combining several key ranking features.

What it means: Despite successive changes to its ranking algorithm in search Google still has a relevancy problem with some websites served in search for queries which should not have served them. Google is working to address this through a more nuanced approach to taking into account ranking factors outside the normal range.

05. Ref-16. Changes to an "official pages" algorithm to improve internationalization.

What it means: Official pages which address a global audience had suffered from Google’s focus on localisation. Google is working to create a more detailed view of authority for Official Pages which will then allow them to be served for relevant search queries.

06. Bamse. This launch helps you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.

What it means: Google has now accumulated sufficient data to begin testing its Trust Rank http://www.seobythesea.com/2009/10/google-trust-rank-patent-granted/. Google officially has said that there is no real Trust Rank which the company refers to internally in the same way that they assigned PageRank but the company does use web metrics to assign a level of authority and trust on certain websites.

07. Bamse-17L. This launch helps you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.

What it means: This seems to be a furher refinement to the change referred to above.

08. GreenLandII. We've incorporated new data into the Panda algorithm to better detect high-quality sites and pages.

What it means: The Google Panda update caused no amount of consternation as it caught websites in its net which were legit and produced quality content. This refinement is designed to address this very issue.

09. #82353. This change refreshes data for the Panda high-quality sites algorithm.

What it means: Google has began to correlate the quality results of its Panda algorithm with those delivered by end-users using the Google Chrome website block extension. http://helpmyseo.com/seo-blog/222-googles-war-on-content-farms-recruits-search-users.html The result is a further refinement of the Panda algorithm, designed to further fine-tune the quality of its results.

10. SuperQ2. We've updated a signal for Google Images to help return more on-topic image search results.

What it means: Google last carried out several changes to bring quality to its image search. http://helpmyseo.com/seo-tips/717-50-google-seo-changes-in-march-and-what-they-really-mean.html We are now, fully, in the age of the visual web and Google is intent on further improving quality in image search. This also makes the SEO importance of images paramount. If you are using poorly labelled images on your website, images which are too small or not optimized for fast displaying you are hamstringing your website’s SEO performance.

11. #82743. Changes to the calculator feature to improve recognition of queries containing "and," such as .

What it means: Google has been working to provide computational power ala Wolfram Alpha, right on the search results page. This is one more step towards that direction, helping Google search understand better what it needs in order to provide better answers.

12. komodo. Data refresh for system used to better understand and search for long-tail queries.

What it means: After a brief respite with Google Instant, Google brought back long-tail keywords and long-tail queries by adjusting the autosuggest feature to draw data from longer search queries. The long-tail keyword as part of an SEO strategy is now back in action.

13. #82580. This is an improvement for showing the sunrise and sunset times search feature.

What it means: Again this is part of Google’s computational ‘smarts’. It can show practical information straight on the search page without making it necessary for the end-user to click to go on a website and look for it there.

14. PitCode. This launch adds live results for Nascar, MotoGP, and IndyCar. This is in addition to Formula1 results, which were already available.

What it means: This is a further refinement in the way Google now pulls data from different real-time data streams to provide real-time results on the search results page.

15. timeob. We've improved natural language detection for the time feature to better understand questions like, "What time is it in India?"

What it means: Many searchers input natural language questions in Google’s search box. There has been an increased tendency in moving away from search operands and towards normal, everyday speech. This is very much in keeping with Google’s trend towards an ‘invisible’ search and a ubiquitous service.

16. #81933. This launch improves use of query synonyms in ranking. Now we're less likely to show documents where the synonym has a different meaning than the original search term.

What it means: This is an improvement on Google’s relevancy on pages whose quality would be watered down because of query synonyms which brought up non-relevant pages. Google is working hard in its disambiguation data on synonyms and this is a strong example of it.

17. #82496. Changes made to the movie showtimes feature on mobile to improve recognition of natural language queries and overall coverage.

What it means: Google has been beefing up mobile search, making it easier to use, more intuitive and more powerful, since there was a mobile search to speak of. Natural language queries are more important on mobile search than they are on desktop and Google is trying to make mobile search frictionless.

18. #82367. This launch helps you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.

What it means: Google’s ranking components and ranking factors have changed recently. The addition of trust and authority as additional measures which contribute to ranking is also leading to more nuanced search results and additional suggestions from related, trusted sources. There is a huge question here in the SEO community at present as to whether Google is doing anything with its TrustRank patent akin to PageRank and Matt Cutts has come out and said unequivocally that no, this is not how it works. Nevertheless in the same video denying this he confirms that both Trust and Authority are two areas Google is looking at in terms of search.

19. #82699. We've made it easier to quickly compare places. Now you can hover over a local result and see information about that place on the right-hand side.

What it means: The right-hand side area on Google’s search page has become a point of speculation. Google has added the ability to compare places directly without leaving the search results page.

20. CapAndGown. On many webpages, the most important images are closely related to the overall subject matter of the page. This project helps you find these salient images more often.

What it means: Google has, over the last three months, been working on creating a more powerful image search. This has made images a critical component of SEO and a strong element for driving traffic to websites. Google continues to do that, looking at images which complement good content. I would not be surprised, at this point, if this does not also become one of the metrics Google uses to determine good quality content and good quality websites as opposed to their less well put together counterparts.

21. #82769. Improvements to the calculator feature on mobile to improve handling of queries that contain both words and numbers such as .

What it means: Google’s calculator right in the search box is something Google’s CEO, Larry Page, a mathematician by training, has wanted to see do more, right from the start. This is yet another iteration of its ability to do more.

22. Vuvuzela. We've updated SafeSearch to unify the handling of adult video content in videos mode and in the main search results. Explicit video thumbnails are now filtered more consistently.

What it means: With a huge number of searches carried out in work environments Google’s ability to have a reliable Safe Search is something the company has been working on for some time. With better filtering of adult video thumbnails the results delivered by Safe Search should be much cleaner.

23. #82537. We've enabled natural language detection for the currency conversion feature to better understand questions like, "What is $500 in euros?"

What it means: For anyone dealing with multiple currencies, getting paid in one currency and using another and buying things in once currency and paying in another this is a great time saving device. Currency exchange calculations right on Google search are an additional, handy service Google provides.

24. #82519. We've enabled natural language detection for the flight status feature to better understand questions about flight arrival times and status.

What it means: Again flight related questions which have to do with arrival and departure times and, even, delays, are one of those features where having to go to websites and trawl through their information to find the relevant piece, is not good enough. As a result Google is beginning to also provide quick, relevant answers to these questions right on the search results page.

25. #82879. We've improved the triggering for the "when is" feature and understanding of queries like, "When is Mother's Day?"

What it means: This is a classic example of search as a service. Getting fast, accurate answers to questions which have to do with specific events, dates, times and places.

26. wobnl0330. Improvements to display of the weather search feature.

What it means: The weather search feature is not just computational now providing the answer right in the search text box but Google also now improves its look, providing some weather graphics to support it.

27. Lime. This change improves the interaction between various search components to improve search results for searches looking for fresh content.

What it means: Google is refining its ability to mine and cross-reference social signals and web publicized content in order to return fresher results. We saw that there is a freshness bias for websites and content with the Penguin update and the last round of changes carried out in May 2012 and Google is simply refining it here to continue to deliver fresh content.

28. gas station. This change removes the boilerplate text in sitelinks titles, keeping only the information useful to the user.

What it means: Google now has credible data which shows that the quality of the snippets which appear in search has a direct impact on the click through rate (CTR) and the number of people who visit a website. The company has already stated that when snippets are not in place it has set up its algorithm to pull relevant information from the website in question and display that. Now Google goes one step further and strips snippets from existing text which is the result of a boilerplate description that’s site-wide and displays only the part of the information that’s relevant to the search query. It remains to be seen whether this action is sensitized enough to deliver text in the snippets displayed on the search results pages that’s convincing enough for the end-user to click on. I suspect we will be seeing a lot more Google intervention and further refinements here in the next Google iteration of changes.

29. #81776. We've improved natural language detection for the unit conversion feature to better understand questions like, "What is 5 miles in kilometers?"

What it means: Just like Google has refined the computational power of its search algorithm to calculate and display currency exchange right on the search box, it has done the same for distance and, as I know from my own experiments, temperature.

30. #81439. Improved display of the finance feature for voice search queries on mobile.

What it means: Voice on mobile is big because of its potential to revolutionize how search is carried out on the go. The popularity of Siri and its novelty showed to Google the practical potential of having accurate, viable voice search and the company is looking to fine-tuning its offering there to work better with accents and ambient noise and deliver greater accuracy. Worth noting here that this is still, nascent technology. We should expect to see huge leaps of improvement in voice search not just on mobile but also on desktop devices and laptops.

31. #82666. This launch helps you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.

What it means: Although Google has said, through Matt Cutts, that there is no specific ranking metric at the moment called TrustRank, here we see again that Google is using a lot of its different metrics to assess the quality of a website, mark it as ‘High Quality’ and place it in a different band of websites which now become part of its trusted sources. This means that if your website is not in that band and it is competing with a trusted website for the same search query, although the data from your website may be more relevant and, perhaps, better, your site will lose out in search rank placement.

32. #82541. This is one of multiple projects that we're working on to make our system for clustering web results better and simpler.

What it means: This is a further refinement of search clusters on the search results pages. The current changes in search have brought back a condition in the search results we last saw in 2010 which delivers on the search results pages more than one result from the same website and, occasionally, flooding the results page with sites that are too similar to have any appreciable difference. So if one does not answer your question the others are unlikely to and this leads to wasted time and frustration. An improvement in the clustering of results on the search results page is designed to improve this. Note here that this works in direct contrast to the quality of individual sematic search results. So expect to see a lot more heartache here as Google rolls out and refines Semantic Search and then works to improve clustering and avoid search results page jacking.

33. gaupe. Improves display of the flights search feature. Now, this result shows for queries with destinations outside the US, such as .

What it means: Google has been experimenting with the quality of flight searches for some time now. In the US it has a relatively good track record thanks to the depth of information it has been able to index. Now it is trying to improve the results it returns on flight details outside the US Search Index.

34. #82887. We've improved natural language processing for the dictionary search feature.

What it means: Google is being used on an ever increasing basis for non-essential but important searches such as spelling corrections and word definitions. The company has the data now to be able to assess the importance of this to its brand and it is working to further improve the utility.

35. gallium-2. This change improves synonyms inside concepts.

What it means: Synonyms are the bane of search. They, more than any other search parameter perhaps, have the ability to throw up the discrepancies in the search algorithm’s intelligence when compared to humans. Google has learnt from the issues which arose because of synonyms in search results and has now started to refine this in concepts so that Semantic Search results do not also suffer from the same issue. Due to the highly contextualized nature of concepts and entities in Semantic Search, arguably this is easier to do than in the normal, ‘dumber’ non-Semantic Search Index. It is, however, time consuming so expect quite a number of iterations and further refinements here.

36. zinc-4. This change improves efficiency by not computing synonyms in certain cases.

What it means: This has direct relevance to change #34 above.

37. Manzana2. This launch improves clustering and ranking of links in the expanded sitelinks feature.

What it means: Sitelinks has been a feature which Google has expanded in the search results pages. Large, authority websites with a number of sections are displayed in search with a number of relevant sub-sections and descriptions beneath them (Google ‘Amazon’ or HelpMySEO’ to check). Google has been playing around forever trying to find a way to refine its ranking of these subsections within a website so that they are truly relevant when they appear in search. This is one step further along this path. There are, currently, inherent difficulties in assessing internal subsections on a website, mainly due to lack of accurate data. Google is now working to address this.

38. #82921. We've improved finance results to better understand finance-seeking queries spoken on mobile.

What it means: This is an expansion and refinement of the search parameter #29 listed above. The very fact that this constitutes an entirely separate project should let you know just how complicated search is and just how many components have to go into it in order for it to actually work, never mind work well.

39. #82936. Improved display of the weather search feature, so you can ask or .

What it means: The power of Semantic Search lies in the fact that it actually understands the intent behind natural speech questions and delivers answers that address the context rather than the words themselves. So the question “Is it hot in Italy?” will deliver Italian weather results rather than the text of a novel where the words appear as a question (a perfect search query match in other words) or, worse still, adult content featuring the words ‘Hot’ and ‘Italy’.

40. #82935. We've improved natural language detection for the sunrise/sunset feature.

What it means: The number of people who Google when the sun rises or sets in specific parts of the world has risen. Perhaps we are all romantics at heart or we simply need to know for more practical reasons. Either way Google can now deliver.

41. #82460. With this change we're using synonyms to better generate accurate titles for web results.

What it means: Search algorithm changes #26 and #37 beard direct relevance upon this one.

42. #82953. This change improves detection of queries about weather.

What it means: See search change #38.

43. PandaMay. We launched a data refresh for our Panda high-quality sites algorithm.

What it means: The Google Panda update addressed the quality of websites and created a new metric in the Google universe regarding what the search engine considers to be high-quality or not in terms of web design and layout as well as content. There have been a couple of refinements in the way the search algorithm works and this is one of them.

44. ItsyBitsy. To improve the quality of image results, we filter tiny, unhelpful images at the bottom of our image results pages.

What it means: Image search and the way images now need to be optimized in order to help improve a website’s SEO and search ranking have been a constant theme in Google changes since May. This is another piece of refinement and evidence, still, that on-page SEO now has to include the size and quality of the images used on a website, not just the alt tags.

45. localtimeob. We've improved display of the local time search feature.

What it means: With more people working online than ever before and many of them interacting in real time across time zones (thanks to Google Plus no less) local time searches have been increasing. Apart from the fact that this is an important component of Semantic Search, Google understands the importance of delivering, fast, accurate information on this and is working on doing so.

46. #82536. We've improved natural language detection to better understand queries about baseball and return the latest baseball information about MLB, such as schedules and the latest scores.

What it means: Sports fans in general and baseball fans in particular, rejoice. This is natural language, near-real time results displayed in response to a search query, right on the search results pages.

47. Improvements to Images Universal ranking. We significantly improved our ability to show Images Universal on infrequently searched-for queries.

What it means: Google’s focus on localized, personalized search results has, on occasion, caused results ‘holes’ to develop where a Universal Search result might have been more relevant. This is now being addressed in images.

48. absum3. This launch helps us select better titles to display in the search results. This is a change to our algorithm that will specifically improve the titles for pages that are in non-Latin based languages.

What it means: Improvements to Sinppets, featured throughout the changes listed here and those Google has carried out in past months, this year, now include the way they are displayed when foreign language websites are involved.

49. #83051. We've improved display of local business information in certain mobile use cases. In particular, we'll highlight information relevant to the search, including phone numbers, addresses, hours and more.

. What it means: Google’s drive for localisation has not flagged. Despite the numerous other direction in search that Google is focusing on, the company continues to Index localized data and display it on mobile search in direct answer to queries. Note that this frequently uses the GPS signal of mobile devices to identify the location of the end-user and deliver targeted search content of direct, practical value.

50. calc2-random. This change improves our understanding of calculator-seeking queries.

What it means: Google’s calculator function, on search, is getting the Google steroid treatment.

51. #82961. When you search for directions to or from a location on your mobile device without specifying the start point, we'll return results starting from your current position.

What it means: Google’s mobile search makes use of the GPS signal of mobile devices to help contextualise the search results and localize them. This is a classic example of how Google provides speedy results, particularly when it comes to looking for directions.

52. #82984. This was previously available for users searching on google.com in English, and now it's available for all users searching in English on any domain.

What it means: There are two issues currently affecting search and the usage of search. First, people travel more than ever before. When in transit or at foreign locations they still need to be able to use the Universal Search they had at home. Second, frequently in search relevant results can be returned which have nothing to do with locality. In the past Google.com users had the benefit of all this but not those searching in Google’s other indices such as google.ch or Google.gr to mention but two. Now anyone, using any of Google’s search properties, performing searches in English will benefit from this. This will make it easier for travellers who in the past had to first navigate from a local Google search property to Google.com in order to carry out a search which would be informed by Universal Search results. It will also benefit Google in its accumulation of anonymous data and user movements, based upon data gathered from individual Google Account profiles.

53. #82150. Refresh of our algorithms for spelling systems in eight languages.

What it means: Again, this is a clear indication that the ‘laziness’ which is leading us to use Google to check spelling is now afflicting more than English speakers.

54. NoPathsForClustering. We've made our algorithm for clustering web results from the same site or same path (same URL up until the last slash) more consistent. This is one of multiple projects that we're working on to make our clustering system better and simpler.

What it means: This is a follow up on search changes #36 and #31.

55. Hamel. This change updates a model we use to help you find high-quality pages with unique content.

What it means: Page quality is an on-going project for Google both in what they return on search, but more importantly, on search queries. My guess here is that this is not the last we see of Google’s drive for page quality and there is going to be more webmaster heartache before the year is out.

56. #81977. This change updates our synonyms systems to make it less likely we'll return adult content when users aren't looking for it.

What it means: A refinement of Google’s synonyms look-up and Safe Search quoted in #21.

57. Homeland. This is an improvement to autocomplete that will help users to get predicted queries that are more relevant to their local country.

What it means: The auto-complete function in Google’s Search, which is itself informed by popular search terms and has been the result of the Google Instant update, now draws data from localised searches as opposed to global ones. The result of this change is greater relevancy at the same speed as that enjoyed in Google’s Universal Search results.

58. #82948. We've improved our natural language processing to improve display of our movie showtimes feature.

What it means: Movie showtimes is a huge challenge for search. At a social level it makes Google’s search as easy to reach for as, say, a local newspaper and much faster. But that works only if it is relevant which means it has to take into account, freshness of information, localization and relevancy and display the results right on the search results page. Google being able to address this shows just how powerful the indexing of their search has become.

59. yoyo. This change leads to more useful text in sitelinks.

What it means: Sitelinks descriptions are contextualised in relation to typed search queries.

60. popcorn. We've made a minor update to our algorithm that detects if a page is an "article." This change facilitates better snippets.

What it means: By detecting if a page is an article or contains relevant information but is not an article Google can present a better snippet summary to end users. In principle, and provided the algorithm does its job, it should provide a higher Click Through Rate (CTR) to websites.

61. Golden Eagle. When Google Instant is turned off, we'll sometimes show a direct link to a site in the autocomplete predictions. With this change we refreshed the data for those predictions.

What it means: Google is looking for ways to ensure that it works as best as it can even when certain of its features are turned off.

62. #82301. This change improves an aspect of our serving systems to save capacity and improve latency.

What it means: Latency in search really hurts Google’s perceived quality. Here the company is taking direct steps to address this leading to faster speed in how it serves search results.

63. #82392. This launch improves the efficiency of the Book Search ranking algorithms, making them more consistent with Web Search.

What it means: Google is now using similar criteria to help rank books as it does with websites. Book search results will be returned in terms of relevancy, popularity and freshness.

64. Challenger. This is another change that will help get rid of generic boilerplate text in Web results' titles, particularly for sitelinks.

What it means: One more iteration in the part of the search algorithm that identifies and then expunges generic descriptions in snippets, from the web search results page.

65. #83166. This change is a major update to Google Maps data for the following regions: CZ, GR, HR, IE, IT, VA, SM, MO,PT, SG, LS. This new data will appear in maps universal results.

What it means: Google is updating all its services, including Google Maps. The latter form a large part of the company’s strategy for mobile search dominance and, through localisation, deliver SEO-related traffic to local businesses. This update expands Google’s Map dominance in countries beyond the English-speaking world.

66. #82515. This change improves the detection of queries that would benefit from translated results.

What it means: The only way to read the importance of this is by saying: Google everywhere in any language.

67. bergen. This is one of multiple projects that we're working on to make our system for clustering web results better and simpler.

What it means: Clustering in the search results page has been getting a lot of attention in the iterations Google introduced over June and July. In part this has been due to many of the complaints which have arisen in the SEO community (amongst others) over the quality of the results following the Google Panda update.

68. Panda JK. We launched Panda on google.co.jp and google.co.kr to promote more high-quality sites for users in Japan and Korea.

What it means: The Google Panda update has been rolled out on ‘difficult’ indices like that of Japan and Korea to the same devastating effect with a clear view to improving page quality on the search results pages.

69. rrfix4. This is a bug fix to a freshness algorithm. This change turns off a freshness algorithm component in certain cases when it should not be affecting the results.

What it means: One of the criticisms of Google’s focus on freshness of content was the fact that it had become ridiculously easy for fresh content to unseat more established one, provided it had been sufficiently socialised and promoted. This fix is supposed to address this issue by adding additional weighing which also looks at quality and relevancy before changing the rankling order of web pages for specific search queries.

70. eventhuh4. We'll show a list of upcoming events in the Knowledge Graph for city-related searches such as and .

What it means: Google’s Semantic Search refinements continue with its Knowledge Graph becoming ever more enriched. In addition to its definition of entities it is now linking up to real-time and near-real time events to give ever greater depth of information.

71. #83483. This change helps surface navigation directions directly in search results for more queries.

What it means: Navigation directions are also beginning to be addressed directly on the search results page. This is the first instance of it and you should expect more refinements there.

72. Zivango. This change leads to more diverse search refinements.

What it means: The first-page jacking of Google’s search which was relatively easy to do, again, after its Panda update and the introduction of its Knowledge Graph is now being addressed.

73. #80568. This change improves our algorithm for generating site hierarchies for display in search result snippets.

What it means: Snippets and how they are generated, arrayed and then displayed are under constant refinement. This is an additional iteration of the code powering them.

74. Labradoodle. We've updated SafeSearch algorithms to better detect adult content.

What it means: As much as Google refines Safe Search, adult websites try to get around it. Google has further fine tuned its algorithm to detect those sites you do not want popping up in your searches when you are at the office.

75. JnBamboo. We’ve updated data for our Panda high-quality sites algorithm.

What it means: Google has now had some time to gather data regarding the effectiveness of the Google Panda update. When it was first rolled out and in the subsequent iterations, it affected legitimate websites as well as low-quality ones. This is now being addressed. In reality there will always be some websites which fall into the cracks created by updates to Google’s algorithm. Google aims at reducing the percentage of those affected to an acceptable level.

76. #83242. This change improves news universal display by using entities from the Knowledge Graph.

What it means: This is the first of many expected changes to Google’s search for Semantic Search. It affects the way news is displayed in Universal Search by drawing additional, relevant information from Google’s Knowledge Graph.

77. #75921. For some time we've shown personalized predictions in Autocomplete for users who've enabled Web History on google.com in English. With this change, we're internationalizing the feature.

What it means: Autocomplete is going global, drawing data from web history to personalize the suggestions Google provides. This is a clear indication that Google is now beginning to rump up its focus on getting those who use its many services for free, through their Google Account, to also agree to provide some usage information which then begins to increase the quality of their search experience.

78. #83301. Similar to the live results we provide for sports like baseball or European football, you can now search on Google and find rich, detailed information about the latest schedule, medal counts, events, and record-breaking moments for the world's largest sporting spectacle.

What it means: The London Olympics provided Google with a great opportunity to increase traffic and provide a practical example of the usefulness of Semantic Search. Many of the results and tidbits of information required were available right on the search results page, provided by the new, smarter Google search.

79. #83432. This change helps users find more fresh trending queries in Japanese as part of autocomplete.

What it means: Trending queries which help guide users and open up the world of search have not been available in English. Google is rolling all this functionality out to other languages now.

80. Flight Search for Canadahttp://insidesearch.blogspot.gr/search?updated-max=2012-06-07T14:00:00-07:00&max-results=7.

What it means: While the rest of the English-speaking world could get their flight searches done quickly via Google’s Flight Search, and book flights quickly, Canadians were missing out. No more. Again, Google seems to be on fire, rolling out many of its services on a global stage.

81. Updated Hot Searches http://insidesearch.blogspot.gr/2012/06/find-out-what-people-are-searching-for.html.

What it means: Google’s Hot Searches function in Google Trends allows anyone who wants to, to query Google and see what people are searching for the most at a specific time. With this fresh update Hot Searches are updated more frequently. This is of direct interest to webmasters and marketers looking to hit the jackpot by publishing content or initiating a marketing campaign at the right moment, when interest in a topic is peaking.

82. Update to Search by Image. http://insidesearch.blogspot.gr/2012/07/find-smarter-more-comprehensive-search.html

What it means: Google has again updated its Search By Image function to take into account the accumulating store of knowledge in its Knowledge Graph and to refresh much more often in a more nuanced way. The result of this is that images play an ever increasing role in SEO and as a means of driving targeted traffic to specific websites.

83. Interactive Weather Visualization Now on Tablethttps://plus.google.com/116899029375914044550/posts/3uZpNohz1Gs.

What it means: Tablets have been gaining more and more share of the online traffic. As mobile devices on the go, they are becoming increasingly ubiquitous and Google, through its Android OS, is delivering more and more functionality to them.

84. More detailed maps in parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. http://googleblog.blogspot.gr/2012/07/more-detailed-maps-in-parts-of-europe.html

What it means: Google is expanding the wealth of information it carries about the world around us. Over the last twelve months the company has increased, exponentially, the wealth and depth of data it has but even more significantly it has become much better at classifying and cross-referencing the information it does have with the end result being a deeper enrichment of search results for the end user.

85. Google with Handwrite for Mobile and Tablet Search. http://googleblog.blogspot.gr/2012/07/make-your-mark-on-google-with-handwrite.html

What it means: Google Handwrite is one of those incredible Google wins which are brought out without fanfare and which are so useful and accurate as to simply blow your mind. Superlatives over, essentially this allows anyone with a Tablet or mobile device to use finger writing to write something on their device’s screen and Google search will pick up the handwriting with incredible accuracy and deliver search results as if you had typed it on a keyboard. This is great news for any website as mobile traffic will become increasingly relevant to success. For an idea of how it works just check out the video below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyeJXKfAcpc

86. Structured Data Dashboardhttp://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.gr/2012/07/introducing-structured-data-dashboard.html

What it means: As Google heads towards fully-fledged Semantic Search it is experimenting with opportunities to allow webmasters to contribute to the store of structured data through their own direct efforts. Obviously this is limited to specific, factual data, to avoid SEO issues and gaming and, I suspect, it will be under review.


Summary: Many of the changes carried out by Google over the past two months fall under one of three categories: Computational, Cross-Referencing or Global. Computational changes are focused on the switch to Semantic Search. This is a really big deal as it will change the way search works and SEO is done forever. In typical Google fashion we are seeing baby steps being taken towards that direction, right now.


Cross-referencing changes affect the way Google classifies the data it collects. The classification of data is really important right now as Google can no longer afford to have data silo-ed from relevant information. Its Semantic Search and Knowledge Graph work best when data is cross-referenced and capable of linking up with other, relevant bits of data. This is important for end users with features such as suggestions and the discovery of new, relevant websites through search. The cross-referencing of information Google holds is now informing such ranking factors as relevancy and quality and it is affecting the ranking of websites on search.


Global changes are the roll-out of features in Google search which were hitherto restricted to Google.com. This is an important signal because it indicates that Google is accelerating the changes it releases internationally with a view to forming a homogenized, high-quality brand experience, regarding search.


Of course, the big question here is what should webmasters be looking at the most? There are two areas of incredible importance. The first one is mobile. If you have not got a mobile version of your website or your website is not currently optimised for Tablet viewing, you are already working at a disadvantage. The second thing is quality and this comes down to all those factors which make up traditional SEO: good quality content, good quality images, a light, fast-loading website, good cross-linking of pages and so on. There are only four months left to Christmas and by then Google’s search will have switched to Semantic Search or be about to. The time to start paying attention to what you need to do is right now.

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