December 3, 2011

Does the new Google Freshness Algorithm affect us in Cayman?

Freshness Upate (reminds me of Mentos)
Mid November 2011, Google announced its most recent algorithm changes.  But my question is how does it affect websites in the Cayman Islands?  Well, here is a breakdown...

  • The first change is in Cross-language information retrieval - we are not affected at all because we are an English speaking nation.  All our websites are already in english and do not need further translation.  
  • The second change is in snippets.  (the description of your results page) This would affect your website because Google is now going to use relevant text on your content pages vs. using either your header or menu content.  The solution for this is to have relevant robust content on each page and not to focus on Menus or Headers as much.
  • Less Emphasis on boilerplate anchors - This will probably affect your website if you have multiple links pointing to it using boilerplate anchors.  I just remove the boilerplate-like anchors on as a result of this new update.  
  • As a result of Yandex's popularity in Europe (Russia to be specific) Google has stepped up in improving lengthy auto-complete predictions in Russian (also because Russian has very long words).  This practice is already the norm in English.  Cayman is not affected by this unless you are a user and your searches are lengthy.  
  • If you are an applications developer living in the Cayman Islands, then you are affected by this freshness update as now, Google will be providing rich snippets including costs, user reviews, etc. within returned results.  If you are not an applications developer but a User looking for applications, this change will benefit you tremendously.
  • The latest algorithm is also retiring a signal in image search.  Again,  unless you are a photographer who has done alot of image optimization (like me) you will not be affected by this update.  They have retired a signal related to images that has references from many online documents.
  • Fresher Content - this update was announced earlier in the month and affects 6 - 10 % of searches.  The freshness update on Caffeine enables more accurate and 'fresher' content to be indexed within minutes of getting launched live.  Since Search Engines rely on "old" data for trustworthiness, I think this freshness update is genius! 
  • "Official" pages are given more importance - same as before but on an even higher scale.  This change affects you if you work for Government or any other "Official" Website.  
  • Date restricted queries - More relevant results will now show up if you specify a date query.  Are we affected by this?  Only if you search for specific dates but locally, not so much.
  • Prediction fixes for how autocomplete handles queries that contain non-latin characters.  Again, we are not affected by this unless you search using Hebrew, Russian and Arabic.  
For the most part, the freshness update really is a rethink of how Google handles content.  I for one believe it is about time Google provides fresher and more relevant content.  As a professional working in the Search industry it is sometimes frustrating to have to weed out older content for what is new and relevant and because of this update, it will be easier for me to find content faster. 

How do you feel about this freshness update?  

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