Google doesn’t announce search updates very often, so when they do we pay attention. On 4/21/2015 they announced mobile friendly change. But after that update, MVI noticed significant keyword ranking movement that did not originate from the MOBILE FRIENDLY search change. Then, on May 19th, Google advised a modification to the core algorithm relating to measuring content quality had been released in early May 2015.
Traditionally and prior to this date all content quality measurement had been performed through Panda updates. but this most recent update in May 2015, was made to the core algorithm and signals Google future direction is to reward quality content. What is clear, is that modifications made in the last several weeks further validate the need for a website to display content quality, superior navigation and supported by social media posts.
Panda updates were first released in February 2011 and affected more than 10% of queries and focused on a number of factors all centered around the words used on the page. Those factors, as far as the Google explains, looked at everything from how well content is written, how well the page fits navigationaly within the query and even the relevance and quality of the links pointing to, and into, that content. Google Search patent covers this in more detail, explaining how the filter may work in principle and control generic ranking.
Keyword ranking and changes are tracked through Google webmaster tools, which we used to discover the modification to the core algorithm relating to measuring content quality. For those not aware of how webmaster tools work; it tracks dozens of key ranking elements by vertical over time, allowing us to understand which features affect rankings and how they vary over time.
While keyword ranking always varies there are two particular elements that have produced increases in the past few weeks:
Time visitor spends on Site there is an increasing correlation between how long people stay on site and how well that site ranks. Since May 1 we have noticed an unmistakable uptick in the number of high-ranking sites with time on site who have a reduced bounce rate.
Social Signals. Its a new area for Google to begin tracking. Further enhanced by the news that Google had struck a deal with Twitter to show tweets on search pages. To do this it requires Google to get access to data from Twitter. We have been monitoring very closely social traffic links and the initial data set suggests there has been definite positive movement to track and measure social media influences on websites. Twitter will be integrated in July 2015 as Googles engineers finalize how they are using the data post.
What does this mean? Does this change anything?
That really depends on your current strategy. Clearly investment in quality content becomes even more important as sites now have incentives to produce it. On the one hand quality content improves time on site and promotes social sharing of the content. Both facts point to the need for Social posting.
What is clear is that the reward for creating quality content and allowing other to appreciate it on social media has taken a major step forward.
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