During the past year, Google has made their mistakes along the way as discussed previously. They also however, made a number of upgrades and changes to the way the world searches. They’re always tweaking and changing the game, and it can play havoc with the SERPs and your clients rankings.
The largest and most dramatic of such changes took on the form of the ‘Mayday’ update. It was a fundamental algorithmic change, and affected a great many sites which focused primarily on long tail searches, most of which catalogue sites with hundreds if ‘item’ pages with little to no links or content within. While a lot of sites cried foul, it was really a culling of the SERPs and removed a great deal of fluff from the results pages. Soon after came the Caffiene upgrade to the algorithm, adding speed to the search results. The largest shift in the search game since the Mayday update, it served up a cached version of the search performed and allowed users to reach their destination a tad faster than previous visits.
The next two largest changes that were brought to the search game were Google instant, and previews. Google Instant served up instant search results, as a user typed the terms into the search box. It essentially allows the caffeine update to serve up results for searches. The Pageviews update added a small magnifying glass to the search results, and while that may not seem significant, it served up results in a small frame on the search performed. The frame detailed on the page, in a small screenshot, where the search phrase was located, further speeding up the search experience for users.
As with the mistakes made during the past year by Google, there have been a number of upgrades to the engine as well. 2011 is just a few more days away, and who knows, another Mayday may be on it’s way.