Google’s August & September Updates: Panda, Knowledge Graph, Page Quality & SafeSearch
Google has announced details on the search algorithm and quality changes made over the past two months – August and September. In total, Google lists 65 changes over the past two months.
The previous announcement covered two months as well, and was for June and July.
This time the key changes include Panda updates, improved knowledge graph, page quality and ranking changes, snippet changes, freshness updates and SafeSearch changes. Here is the list of some of the changes categorized by topic:
Web Ranking & Indexing
- LTS. [project “Other Ranking Components”] We improved our web ranking to determine what pages are relevant for queries containing locations.
- #82279. [project “Other Ranking Components”] We changed to fewer results for some queries to show the most relevant results as quickly as possible.
- #83709. [project “Other Ranking Components”] This change was a minor bug fix related to the way links are used in ranking.
- #82546. [project “Indexing”] We made back-end improvements to video indexing to improve the efficiency of our systems.
- #84010. [project “Page Quality”] We refreshed data for the “Panda” high-quality sites algorithm.
- #83777. [project “Synonyms”] This change made improvements to rely on fewer “low-confidence” synonyms when the user’s original query has good results.
- #84586. [project “Other Ranking Components”] This change improved how we rank documents for queries with location terms.
Page Quality & Scoring
- #82862. [project “Page Quality”] This launch helped you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
- #83135. [project “Query Understanding”] This change updated term-proximity scoring.
- Imadex. [project “Freshness”] This change updated handling of stale content and applies a more granular function based on document age.
- #83689. [project “Page Quality”] This launch helped you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
- #84394. [project “Page Quality”] This launch helped you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
- #83761. [project “Freshness”] This change helped you find the latest content from a given site when two or more documents from the same domain are relevant for a given search query.
Sitelinks & Snippets & UI
- #83105. [project “Snippets”] We refreshed data used to generate sitelinks.
- #83442. [project “Snippets”] This change improved a signal we use to determine how relevant a possible result title actually is for the page.
- #83443. [project “Knowledge Graph”] We added a lists and collections component to the Knowledge Graph.
- #83012. [project “Knowledge Graph] The Knowledge Graph displays factual information and refinements related to many types of searches. This launch extended the Knowledge Graph to English-speaking locales beyond the U.S.
- #83304. [project “Knowledge Graph”] This change updated signals that determine when to show summaries of topics in the right-hand panel.
- Knowledge Graph Carousel. [project “Knowledge Graph”] This change expanded the Knowledge Graph carousel feature globally in English.
- #82407. [project “Other Search Features”] For pages that we do not crawl because of robots.txt, we are usually unable to generate a snippet for users to preview what’s on the page. This change added a replacement snippet that explains that there’s no description available because of robots.txt.
- #83670. [project “Snippets”] We made improvements to surface fewer generic phrases like “comments on” and “logo” in search result titles.
- #84652. [project “Snippets”] We currently generate titles for PDFs (and other non-html docs) when converting the documents to HTML. These auto-generated titles are usually good, but this change made them better by looking at other signals.
- #84211. [project “Snippets”] This launch led to better snippet titles.
- Maru. [project “SafeSearch”] We updated SafeSearch to improve the handling of adult video content in videos mode for queries that are not looking for adult content.
- Palace. [project “SafeSearch”] This change decreased the amount of adult content that will show up in Image Search mode when SafeSearch is set to strict.
- #82872. [project “SafeSearch”] In “strict” SafeSearch mode we remove results if they are not very relevant. This change previously launched in English, and this change expanded it internationally.
- Sea. [project “SafeSearch”] This change helped prevent adult content from appearing when SafeSearch is in “strict” mode.
- Cobra. [project “SafeSearch”] We updated SafeSearch algorithms to better detect adult content.
- #84460. [project “Snippets”] This change helped to better identify important phrases on a given webpage.
Postscript: On the Search Engine Roundtable I asked why weren’t the Panda algorithm updates and the EMD updates mentioned specifically in here. Google sent me a comment I wanted to add here to answer that:
Update: Google sent us a statement on why some items may be perceived as missing, in short, the blog post was written prior to these being released. Here is a statement:
These changes rolled out very recently, and their launch language was approved after the cutoff date where we were finalizing the blog post. We tweeted these changes and were also planning to include those launches in future updates.
Note that this blog post series is primarily a list of new algorithms that are launching rather than data refreshes of existing algorithms. For example, we would publish an entry when our synonym algorithm changes, but we wouldn’t necessarily post if we were just refreshing the data that our existing synonym algorithm uses. That’s a long way of saying that you will often see entries for when we update Panda or Penguin data, but in general we only intend to show entries when a new change went through the launch process for approval, and so you might not see every data refresh in our list. As we said last December, we’re going to keep pushing the envelope when it comes to sharing how our search engine works.
- Google’s April Updates: Bigger & Tiered Index, Document Ranking, Sitelink Changes & More
- Google’s March Updates: Anchor Text, Image Search, Navigational Search & More
- Google Confirms Panda 3.3 Update, Plus Changes To How It Evaluates Links, Local Search Rankings & Much More
- Google’s January Search Update: Panda In The Pipelines, Fresher Results, Date Detection & More
- Google: Parked Domains, Scraper Sites Targeted Among New Search Changes
- Improved Snippets, Rank Boost For “Official” Pages Among 10 New Google Algorithm Changes
- The EMD Update: Like Panda & Penguin, Expect Further Refreshes To Come