SEO Roundup: How SEO evolved in November 2011

search changed by 35% in november.

Or was that 6%?

Google have been stepping up their efforts to communicate changes to webmasters. We’ve seen them give us heads up of forthcoming changes (so called “weather reports”), we’ve seen them quantify the impact of some changes (see fresh content commentary below), and now we’ve even seen them start to list out some recent algorithm changes.


do no evil?

Very kind of them.  But if they are so nice how come they are preventing us from seeing the search phrases a healthy portion of searchers are using to get to our websites? Privacy reasons? Pork pies anyone? Yes, we are miffed. Very miffed.

This assault started in October but the extent of the hoarding has only become apparent in November. “not provided” is now our most popular (?!) search query.  Some sites (who should know why) are stating that they have lost more than 30% of their data.  As this is likely an upward trend, this really is not good news for SEO or the web in general.  Google shareholders may disagree.


time to freshen up

Beat the heat...
Creative Commons License photo credit: Sooraj Shajahan

November’s significant algorithm change is probably the boost given to more recent content for many queries. The freshness boost concept itself isn’t new but the proportion of queries impacted is. The process has also been enhanced.

Google stated that 35% of queries are impacted by the change.  This caused sufficient undue panic in the SEO community for Google to say that it would only be noticeable in 6-10% of searches.

This is of course good news for those investing in social media, even if a large portion of the queries are not hugely commercial in nature.

google’s manual quality rating process revealed again

Not really a November update but some useful analysis of Google’s leaked “Guidelines for Quality Raters” has emerged in November . The document does give some fantastic insights into how Google thinks and is therefore a must read for the serious budding SEO.

(Thanks to a kind member of the Edinburgh SEO community, I just might be able to lay my hands on a copy for you provided you don’t tell Big G)

the future of search is the author

Well OK part of it is. A trend I’ve been watching for a while is Google’s increasing focus on authors (yes that includes you and me when we blog etc).

A Day With Charlotte Bronte (Page 12)

They released authorship markup a while back to allow articles to be attributed to a specific person. As ever SEO by the Sea has an analysis worth reading.

Rumour has it that they have drawn up a list of trusted authors, which I assume will be used in a not dissimilar way to their list of trusted sites (i.e. the cosier you are with folks on that trusted list, the greater your chances are of ranking).

Time to invite some high profile guest bloggers to your site?

the future of search is also google plus

That is if Google have anything to do with it. Google+ is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid if you are a Google user.  It could be creeping into local results, it’s more prominent in the new Google bar and is increasingly present in results pages. Feels like ivy. Will it wreck the stone work in the process?

the future of search isn’t google

I can say that with certainty, as it will happen one day, even if though I expect that day to be a long long way off.

Could it be Apple?  Apple’s total control over an increasing proportion of the devices used for search, combined with their lead in voice search (Siri on the iPhone 4S) gives them the ability to divert significant search traffic away from Google if it chose to do so. And that’s before we consider Apple’s stranglehold on apps and music.

goodbye yahoo site explorer

The demise of Yahoo!’s tool for finding who is linking to you (or your competitors) is nostalgic but fortunately not the problem it could of been.  Various commercial tools including SEOMoz and Majestic more than fill the hole left by Yahoo!’s pioneering tool.  And whilst on the subject of history…

the history of search continues

Clearly inspired by my own attempt 18 months or so ago, Google have released a video summing up the history of their search engine.  You can compare and contrast our cult version vs Google’s Hollywood blockbuster.


(If you are really keen you can catch the more recent and longer version of my video in webinar format).


If I’ve missed any major SEO developments in November, please comment below. Much like the pork pie, I’m all ears.

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2 thoughts on “SEO Roundup: How SEO evolved in November 2011”

  1. Fergus says:

    Go on Tim – yours is definitely miles better!

    Scary prospect when Google can tell you what time you should eat dinner. Maybe they’ll use that to keep everyone busy while they take over the world… wait… haven’t they done that already!?

  2. Attacat Tim says:

    Fergus, as ever, you are too generous!

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