Google Update May 2012

Well, it’s that time of the month that Google tells us the most recent “improvements” to their algorithm. You can see the official announcement on the Google blog, Inside Search, or you can carry on reading for the highlights.

As is often the case, there are a whole bunch of minor changes, but we’ll focus on the ones with an SEO implication right now.

Dealing With Page Titles

Google has announced 3 changes to the way that they are treating title tags:

* Alternative Titles If Set Title Is Too Long: The algorithm will display a generated relevant title when the current title is so long that it gets truncated. Google says that this will only happen if the new title is equally accurate.

* Improved Alternative Titles: Automatically generated titles will be more efficient, leading to more focused titles.

* Boilerplate Anchors Demoted From Titles: Google will avoid “boilerplate copy” that doesn’t describe the page accurately when presenting titles in results.

Fresh Results

Once again, this update has made changes to the way that Google determines the “freshness” of a result. Fresh results seem to be a top priority for Google, if the updates that have been released so far this year are anything to go by, and this one is no different. This update includes:

* Better detection of new events.
* Smoother ranking functions for freshness.
* Better identification of searches looking for fresh content.
* Simplified freshness algorithm.

Penguin Update

This update also contains improvements to Penguin, and involves “minor tweaks to improve signals and refrsh the data used by the penguin algorithm.”

Inorganic Backlinks

The last one we’re going to be mentioning, although not in detail of course, because Google does not give details, is a change to the algorithm designed to detect link schemes. According to Google, the changes ensure that the algorithm is applied appropriately in conjunction with the rest of their ranking factors.

Additional Changes

As well as the changes mentioned above in a little detail, there have been other changes as well. These include:

* Better detection of hacked pages.
* Autocomplete suggestions as refinements.
* Improved mobile autocomplete.
* Improved sports searches.
* Improvements to tablet search features.

Visit the Blog post linked above for a full list.