Google Search Quality: 50 Changes in March

Google’s search quality department announced 50 important changes which took place in March this year.

Here’s the summary:

  1. Symbols: Inclusion in autocomplete.
  2. Symbols: Improved indexing.
  3. News Results: Scoring system for news groups improved.
  4. Sitelinks: Fresher and faster updates.
  5. Autocomplete: Now takes up less resources to run (internal improvement).
  6. Security: Change your password and you will now be logged out of all machines.
  7. Index: Improvements in profile indexing and its comprehensiveness.
  8. Universal Search: Design tweaks and improved user experience.
  9. Search Query: More intelligent navigational search queries.
  10. Panda: High quality site definitions re-processed and released live.
  11. Sports: Scoring and schedules now in live updating snippets (UEFA & KHL)
  12. Sports: Live scoring triggered by player or event name (Tennis)
  13. Image Search: Page quality gains points in favour of image quality to improve relevance.
  14. Image Search: All languages now included in fresher image predictions update.
  15. Safe Search: No more embarrassing moments with smarter safe search.
  16. Anchor Text: One classifier related to anchor text was turned off in order to improve quality of results.
  17. Universal Search (Images): Simplified codebase and leverage of a global ranking system.
  18. Mobile: Application ranking and UI improvements through richer results.
  19. Universal Search (Video): Improved detection of stale videos and improved freshness.
  20. Synonyms: Expect less strange synonyms in our searches.
  21. Local: New way of handing mixed queries containing local and navigational intent.
  22. Search: Freshness algorithm which used to handle only news is now active for all results.
  23. Page Analysis: Additional improvements in perception of website quality.
  24. Anchor Text: Better interpretation of anchor text data in relation to query or website theme.
  25. Local & News: One local signal turned off. Similar one replacing it improving the relevance of local news.
  26. News: One news signal related to quality turned off.
  27. Synonyms: Improved sibling synonym handling to remove strange instances not relevant to search intent.
  28. Synonyms: More accurate synonym handling and improved performance.
  29. Search Query: Staying on track of user search intent through tuned retrieval system by eliminating elements of search query not needed for the retrieval of relevant documents.
  30. Synonyms: Less ‘aggressive’ and suggestive providing better variety of suggestions.
  31. Local: Improved handling of geographic data.
  32. Name Detection: Improved detection of names, especially celebrities.
  33. Personalised Search: Changed and updated quality signals.
  34. Page Analysis: More accurate detection of old pages.
  35. Language: Improved detection of languages in auto-complete.
  36. Discussion Search: Smarter forum and blog post date detection.
  37. Auto-complete: Rewriting of search query prefixes.
  38. Mobile: More elaborate sitelinks.
  39. Answers: Higher accuracy of short answers.
  40. Video: Back-end clean-up for advanced video search.
  41. +1: Support for more countries and domains.
  42. Local: Better rendering on tablet devices.
Some of these are starting to work towards the following picture:
Venn Diagram: Social Knowledge & Link Graph


Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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