Google has announced several new tweaks to its Panda algorithms in what is being called Panda 3.3. While the announcement and several of the changes were routine, there are some key parts of the announcement that website owners should take into account.
First, Google says it has turned off part of its scoring mechanism for link analysis. Without explaining what exactly this means, Google is leaving us all to figure it out. Looking at chatter online though, it seems like the websites most affected are those that carry obviously spammy links to try to boost their page rank. Although I can only guess, when Google says it has turned off something in its link analysis, it could possibly be now ignoring page rank when it comes to viewing links between sites. If you know more about this I’d love to hear from you.
The second key factor in the Panda 3.3 changes is the reliance on locality. Commonly in web search results now you see blended results, where a high ranking website with a Google Places listing appears to show both the web page results and the Places information. If yor website appears like this, I would say it’s a compliment, because Google really thinks you are right for the person carrying out the search.
The third and most exciting part of Google’s announcement, which you can read here in full, is how it has widened the use of images in results. Google said this:
We launched a change to expand the corpus of results for which we show images in Universal Search. This is especially helpful to give more relevant images on a larger set of searches
What this means is, when someone searches on universal search for something for which image results may be relevant, Google will include a wider array of images in the results and an improved method of trying to match which images to show to the searcher.
Ensure your site has well optimised images, using sensible file names and ALT attributes in the IMG tag. I am seeing some clients getting a high proportion of their traffic from Google Images, because they have well optimised images on their site.