Google Updates Search 65 Times

By October 5, 2012 News, Search Engine Optimization

Matt Cutts tweeted yesterday, “If you care about search, heads up! 65 search quality changes for August and September:” Naturally, we care about search and wanted to post the changes that we think are the most important to search. For the full list of updates, click here.


Matt Cutts Tweets About Update

I filtered our most important updates into two categories: Local & Quality.


  • Name: LTS. [project “Other Ranking Components”] Google improved their web ranking to determine what pages are relevant for queries containing locations.
  • Our Take: If you search for a keyword containing a locale such as st louis, what can you expect to get back from Google? Your results should take into consideration the entire metropolitan area, right? It’s a subjective concept, but what if you were to search Google using a keyword that contains ballwin or even manchester ave.? Then, the search itself becomes more objective – more exact. Proximity is a tough concept to take into consideration because it all comes down to preference. How far are you willing to drive? How much are you willing to pay for shipping? Do you really want to do business with someone 30 miles away? Or, 300 miles away? This update objectively takes into consideration your location and hopes to provide you with better results.

  • Name: nearby (August). [project “User Context”] Google improved the precision and coverage of their system to help you find more relevant local web results. Now Google is better at identifying web results that are local to the user, and rank them appropriately.
  • Our Take: This local update is one of many. The focus of this one is to provide users with a more relevant local search experience. Google bases its local search on IP addresses, keyword terms and manual location targeting (i.e., when one manually changes their location). At one time, Google may have missed relevant content, but this update aims to change that.

  • Name: #83377 (August). [project “User Context”] Google made improvements to show more relevant local results.
  • Our Take: Not much information is provided here, but this update is relative to improving the quality of local search results by showing relevant listings.

  • Name: #83406 (September). [project “Query Understanding”] Google improved their ability to show relevant Universal Search results by better understanding when a search has strong image intent, local intent, video intent, etc.
  • Our Take: Understanding intent is an extremely important component of search. This update aims directly to improve Google’s capacity to identify intent and provide results that are relevant answers.

  • Name: #81360 (September). [project “Translation and Internationalization”] With this launch, Google began showing local URLs to users instead of general homepages where applicable (e.g. instead of for users in Switzerland). That’s relevant, for example, for global companies where the product pages are the same, but the links for finding the nearest store are country-dependent.
  • Our Take: Ok, so this one is more interesting than applicable. It’s a nice example of how Google is segmenting local and catering search to locales, regions and countries.


  • Name: #82862 (August). [project “Page Quality”] This launch helped you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
  • Our Take: If anything, this update reminds us that low-quality sites are on their way out the door.

  • Name: #83442 (August). [project “Snippets”] This change improved a signal Google uses to determine how relevant a possible result title actually is for the page.
  • Our Take: Hopefully this spells the end for sites that use title tags blatantly misrepresenting their content.

  • Name: #82279 (August). [project “Other Ranking Components”] Google changed to fewer results for some queries to show the most relevant results as quickly as possible.
  • Our Take: This update is not far-reaching. However, we like how it’s focused and cuts out the fat.

  • Name: #83709 (August). [project “Other Ranking Components”] This change was a minor bug fix related to the way links are used in ranking.
  • Our Take: What does Google consider to be minor? Ah, yes, who knows. But, this is a little reminder that a poor backlink profile is going to kick your online campaign in the rear end sooner rather than later.

  • Name: #84010 (August). [project “Page Quality”] Google refreshed data for the “Panda” high-quality sites algorithm.
  • Our Take: Yes, the panda has been updated for its 20th time. This begs the question, when is Zebra coming out?

  • Name: #83689 (August). [project “Page Quality”] This launch helped you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
  • Our Take: This update is similar to #82862.

  • Name: #84394 (September). [project “Page Quality”] This launch helped you find more high-quality content from trusted sources.
  • Our Take: This update is similar to #82862.

  • Name: #83901. [project “Synonyms”] This change improved the use of synonyms for search terms to more often return results that are relevant to the user’s intention.
  • Our Take: Searching is not a matter of exact match. This is evident if you have a background in PPC. Google takes into account synonyms to match what you “meant” (or, to at least try…).

    If you would like to see the full list of updates, please click the link at the top of the page.

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