Google has answered one plea from SEO marketers: it will provide some continuity and a little more transparency in the changes it makes to its search algorithms. Last month it announced ten tweaks it made, including changes that make it easier to roll out global SEO campaigns.
On Thursday it unveiled more, and promised to report back in early January with the next batch.
The major changes out of this batch, Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land wrote, are that "life is getting tougher with parked domains, life may get better for those plagued by scraper sites and those hoping to 'push down' negative listings may have a tougher challenge." The changes include:
A new parked domain classifier. A new algorithm for automatically detecting parked domains. Parked domains are placeholder sites that are seldom useful and often filled with ads, Google says. "They typically don’t have valuable content for our users, so in most cases we prefer not to show them."
Related query results refinements. Sometimes Google will fetch results for queries that are similar to the actual search you type. This change makes it less likely that these results will rank highly if the original query had a rare word that was dropped in the alternate query.
More comprehensive indexing. This change makes more long-tail documents available in Google's index, so they are more likely to rank for relevant queries.
More autocomplete predictions. Google has made its prediction algorithm a little more flexible for certain queries with this change.
New signals for original content. Google has added new signals to make better predictions about which of two similar web pages is the original one.
Image result freshness. A change in how Google determines image freshness for news queries.
Top result selection code rewrite. Google rewrote the code that handles extra processing on the top set of results to make it easier to understand, simpler to maintain and more flexible for future extensions.
- Made minor color and layout changes to improve usability on tablet devices.
- Tweaked for fresher and more complete blog search results.
- Added live results for Major League Soccer and the Canadian Football League.
A Static Market Share
Google led the US total core search market in September with 65.4% market share, followed by Yahoo with 17.2% (down a leading 7%) and Microsoft with 13.4%. Ask Network accounted for 2.6% of explicit core searches, followed by AOL, with 1.4%.
In terms of the explicit core search market, there was also little month-over-month change. Google led with 65.3% market share, followed by Yahoo with 15.5% (down a leading 5%), Microsoft with 14.7%, Ask with 3%, and AOL with 1.5%.
Bing: The Little Engine That Could
In the bigger picture, however, Bing has gained more than 4% market share in the U.S. since it launched about a year ago, according to Experian Hitwise — growth that came at Google’s expense.