How Google’s 39 May Updates Impact SEO

Which of Google’s 39 May updates impacted SEO? This is a review of most significant changes affecting our industry. I will keep it short and sweet as I hope to save you time here.

Google Update

Here are the ones which I found most interesting:

[Links+Onsite] Deeper detection of hacked pages

This means you will no longer see hacked websites which rank for “buy viagra“. Oh wait, I take that back. Work in progress I guess, but this update has no doubt affected the link graph and its signals in a global sense weeding out any glaringly obvious blackhat spam. Perhaps compromised websites are no longer (as) affected in rankings if Google thinks it’s a hack.

[News] Improvements to ranking for news results

News are detected pushed in search results quicker than before.

[Links] Better application of inorganic backlinks signals

Google web spam team figured out what to do with all the inorganic signals they already had at their disposal. Link schemes and manipulation take another punch in the gut with this ‘Penguinesque’ algorithm tweak.

[Links] Improvements to Penguin

Penguin 1.1 or Penguin 1.2? In any case, this appears to be a refresh and push of newly calculated filters likely to be linked with some of the changes mentioned above. We’ve seen these change our search results several times throughout May this year.

[Onsite] Trigger alt title when HTML title is truncated

If you fail to fine tune your titles, Google will continue to tidy them up for you, this time with more confidence.

Two other updates: “Better demotion of boilerplate anchors in alternate title generation” and “Efficiency improvements in alternative title generation” are part of the same set. It’s worth to mention that Google is getting better at recognising template content / boilerplate elements and not use those in snippets. Does this further affect links and on-site elements too? If it does, good bye superfooter, we won’t miss you.

[Algorithm] Simplification of term-scoring algorithms

Search quality makes a slight quality sacrifice in order to improve performance. Instance 1.

[QDF] Smoother ranking functions for freshness

Temporal resolution for Google’s fresh results goes denser with threshold tweaks. Is this linked to “Improvements to ranking for news results”?

[QDF] Better detection of searches looking for fresh content

Completely new classifier for detection of fresh content intent has been introduced. Social?

[QDF] Freshness algorithm simplifications

Expect to see more frequent freshness tweaks in the future.

[Algorithm] Performance optimizations in our ranking algorithm

Search quality makes a slight quality sacrifice in order to improve performance. Instance 2.



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.

More Posts - Website