Google finally released its big lists of algorithm changes for the months of August and September. There are 65 changes on the lists in all. We’ll be discussing various components in different articles.
The first thing that strikes me about the two-month list is that the word “domains” is only mentioned once. We know that Google launched the “Domain Diversity” update in September, as Google’s Matt Cutts tweeted about it when it happened. Then, this past Friday, he also tweeted about the EMD update targeting exact-match domains. With both of these actually announced via Twitter, it seemed to indicate a new focus on domain-related signals from the search giant.
That’s why I’m a bit surprised that there aren’t more entries to this list that are directly related to domains. In fact, there aren’t even two (which would account for both of the ones Cutts tweeted about). Perhaps they didn’t bother to include them, because they thought the tweets were enough (though they still included a previously tweeted about Panda refresh).
Anyhow, here’s the one domain-related entry from Google’s latest lists, and it happened sometime in September, interestingly enough, under the “Freshness” project banner:
#83761. [project “Freshness”] This change helped you find the latest content from a given site when two or more documents from the same domain are relevant for a given search query.
So what do we know about how Google is treating domains differently now? For one, the domain name signal itself appears to have been reduced with the exact-match domain update. Google is wanting to show less results from the same domain in more instances (with the domain diversity update), and for search results pages that do still show multiple results from the same domain, Google is likely to rank the newer one higher (based on the listing above).
This does indeed suggest a new focus on domain-related signals, and given that much of this has come to light only around the end of September, it seems entirely possible that Google will continue this focus into October. Of course, at this rate, we’ll have to wait until sometime in December to even know about them.
We’ll talk about about freshness more in a coming article.