Recent Changes on Google

    August 21, 2007

For those who read this with an interest in SEO, I’ve noticed a few interesting changes on Google over the past week.

Firstly, Google seems to have tweaked the algo so that keyword domains have lost a little of their dominance. So just because “” is an established, if poorly built and promoted site, it no longer seems to have automatic rights to rank No.1 on searches for “blue widgets”.

I’ve seen a couple of such domains – even strong ones – displaced from no.1 positions over the past few days, though I think Google appear hesitant to keep this up.

Secondly, I’ve seen a suggestion that underscores may finally be counting as spaces. I’m possibly mistaken on this, but a few days ago I ran a routine ranking check for “blue widgets” and noticed a listing apparently highlighted for “blue_widgets” in the URL – and that means the underscore was highlighted, not just the words. I didn’t make a screenshot at the time, so there’s room for observational error here, but I certainly know Google have called time on underscores being overlooked as spacers.

Thirdly – looks like Google’s rebuilding its index and missing a few pages again. I’ve seen this before, especially where I’ve seen sites suddenly plummet for a keyword, only to rise again – Google couldn’t find their main keyword page so instead was ranking a weak internal page for the keyword.

I’m seeing that at present on a Google search for “Brian Turner” – a keyword I give curiosity value to, but don’t compete for against the TV chef of the same name. At present, is down a few places, with the site index page not listed in the results, even though that’s the key link target for “Brian Turner” – instead a lower listing for a couple of internal pages taking its place.

Either way, interesting to see that while Google remains in constant flux, at least there’s nothing devastating – or threaten to devastate – any serious link development work as yet.