Rolling out 40 search quality changes to its algorithm in February, Google created a buzz among SEO pros. In a flood of blog posts, articles and forum discussions after the Feb. 27th announcement many SEOs tried to guess about the specific changes, primarily what method of link analysis used for years Google turned off.
We know the importance of links and link equity, which makes this update even more impactful. In the announcement, Google states:
“We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years.”
Barry Schwartz started a poll at Search Engine Roundtable the next morning asking which factor for link evaluation Google turned off. Within an hour nearly a hundred people had voted. Most guessed PageRank, although the votes were pretty close. Not included in the list, I’m guessing anchor text filled many of the “other” blanks.
Another important change is improvements to ranking for local search results. With this update, Google relies more on an algorithmic ranking of main search results to trigger local results. The search giant also launched a new system to “find results from a user’s city more reliably” and better detect local queries.
Freshness of images and content, expansion of the “searches related to” section, adjustments to detection of official pages and tweaks to sitelinks were also among the long list of changes in Google’s February 2012 update.
What do you think the most significant change is that has been rolled out? What factor used for link evaluation do you think Google turned off? Let us know in the comment box below!