Google really seem to be ‘full steam ahead’ with rolling out the updates this year. In March alone there was 50 changes! The focus of changes to their search engine algorithm keeps pointing in the same direction, emphasising that they’re placing more and more value on two things: quality, and 'fresh' content. User friendly websites featuring high quality content are going to be favoured over sites which simply have great optimisation.

Improving the quality of websites has been in Google’s sights for a while now, ever since the first Panda update -a little over 12 months ago, and this seems to be the next step in ensuring their search results display the best matches for what people are searching for. Google’s ‘head of spam’ Matt Cutts recently shed a little light on the matter during question time at a conference he was attending, and basically said over the next few months Google will be rolling out more new changes which will reduce the value of overly optimized sites and increase the value of content. The more often a website adds new text in the form of articles, blogs, news articles, press releases etc, new images, or even new videos, the more valuable that site is regarded to be.

Previously the frequency with which content was had a much higher value factor for news websites, but a recent change has made it apply across the entire web. What does that mean for you as a business? It simple means needing to keep your websites fresh, by frequently adding content and not letting things go stagnant. Whatever your business’ specialty may be, get writing! Blog posts, testimonials, FAQs, product reviews, these are all highly valuable to achieving and/or keeping great search engine ranks. And they don't always need to be large changes. Some other recent changes to Google:

  • Better indexing of profile pages. This change improves the comprehensiveness of public profile pages in our index from more than two-hundred social sites.
  • High-quality sites algorithm data update and freshness improvements.
  • More relevant image search rankings, to deliver the most appropriate images to what’s searched for
  • Improvement of local search results intent - I.e Google understands some keywords are more focussed on a searcher looking for a local business.
  • Updates to personalization signals. - This is what produces more 'personalised results' for Google users.
  • Google’s +1 button is now available in more countries.

To view the full list of changes visit Google's blog. All of these updates have been causing considerable fluctuation in Google rankings. How has this affected your site?