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At the start of April, Google released 50 Search Updates for March. Amongst these updates included a number of interesting changes that could have huge implications in the world of SEO.
Whenever Google announce these changes, to say they’re ambiguous is an understatement to say the least, so our insights are purely based on what they’ve said and how the SEO world have interpreted them.
This is the main one that’s got a lot of people in a stir. Google have announced 2 updates relating to the use of anchor text which is very telling indeed. The first of two updates included tweaks to handling anchor text where they effectively said that a specific classifier related to anchor text will be switched off.
It’s not entirely sure what this means, but some have postulated that this refers to the use of brand anchor text vs non brand anchor text, as well as commercial words vs non-commercial words. In any case, the methods used to process anchor text have evolved. They say it’s to make their scoring cleaner and more robust, so if anything this will just affect the way Google analyse anchor text, and so it may have minimal impact on rankings within the SERPs.
The second update involving anchor text refers to what Google refer to as a better interpretation and use of anchor text. This is where they’ve improved the way they determine the relevancy of specific anchor text to that of specific search queries and websites.
It’s believed this really points to the way that Google devalued the use of exact match anchor text. Whilst many in SEO know this already, this latest update could be an extension, where another type of anchor text is being devalued. In any case, those performing good quality SEO know that it’s best to use a variety of anchor text, not just exact. So, diversify using broad and phrase anchor text. Don’t just rely on exact match keywords, but also brand terms as well as non-commercial terms that are relevant.
Indexing of Profile Pages
Another update that should have particular attention paid to it involves a better indexing of profile pages. Google go on to say that the change improves the comprehensiveness of public profile pages in their index. Also, that these will be sourced from more than 200 social media sites.
So, unless you’ve been living in a cave for a while, you will no doubt have heard of Google Plus. This update has been taken to mean that profile pages from social media sites (including that of Google Plus) will appear higher up in the SERPs. What does that mean for you? Well, if you’re working on a business’s SEO campaign, then you need to be seen on the major social profiles.
It’s known search engines are increasingly reliant on social media, and in addition that Google place a strong emphasis on brands within their SERPs. So, ensure that social and branding play a huge part in your SEO campaigns, as you’ll be rewarded with higher rankings in the SERPs.
Staying with the emphasis on brands, Google have also announced a sitelinks data refresh. The launch of mega sitelinks was perceived to favour brands, as those who ranked first for a branded terms are now rewarded with larger sitelinks, taking up most of the SERPs before the fold. The update means that the sitelinks that appear beneath the search result will have greater relevancy to your users.
This has been achieved using an offline process which analyses the site structure to determine the most relevant links to show users. So what does this mean for you? Well ensure that your site is well structured and easily crawlable for the search engines. From here they can determine which pages are most relevant and looked at by your users.
These were just some of the updates that Google announced at the start of the month. As with any updates, these are open to interpretation and so if you have anything you’d like to add or share, then please do within the comments section.
Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.