Google Algorithm Update March 2012

According to the offical Google search blog, Google made 50 changes to their algorithm in March. Obviously that’s a lot more changes than we can go into here, but we’ll touch on a few of them that might have an impact on your SEO, or that just sound downright interesting.

If you’d like to see the full list, visit the link above to take a look at what Google itself had to say about their changes, but for now, here are a couple that we’re looking at specifically.

Site Links

By now, we all know about those site links. The extra navigation that shows up under your listing on Google, pointing to (potentially) relevant internal pages. We also know that, although there is a manual process for excluding pages from this via the webmaster tools, those pages aren’t always the best ones.

This latest update has included an update to the site links data on internal structure to (hopefully) improve the site links.

Profile Page Indexing

Another interesting one is that Google has improved the indexing of public profile pages from more than 200 social media sites. (There are 200 social media sites?) This should mean that searches for a person are more likely to deliver their profiles (if they’re public) than before.

Navigational Queries

Navigational queries are the type of search that people make when they don’t know the URL of the site they’re trying to find. It’s typing CNN into Google, instead of into the address bar. Now, Google has improved its recognition of navigational searches, and in a separate but related change, has integrated location into these type of queries as well, providing relevant local results when it thinks you’re trying to navigate to a specific site.

Panda, Panda, Panda

As reported earlier, another improvement to the Panda update.

Anchor Text Handling

This could potentially be a big one, so I’ve stuck it down here where you’ll only notice if you’re paying attention. Google has announced that it has made two changes to the way that it deals with anchor text.

On the one hand, they’ve apparently turned off one of their classifiers for anchor text to improve their processing, and on the other, they’ve improved the systems they use to interpret anchor text, and determine how relevant it is for queries and sites.

In Conclusion

Google does so much tweaking to their algorithm that it’s scary. It’s even been suggested by other people that Google should work on a new one, instead of patching the old one. With 50 changes in the last month, (that they’re telling us about, however vaguely), it makes me wonder what they’re going to come up with next.