With 40 reported changes, Google sets a new monthly record for search quality updates. Time to celebrate? Let’s find out!

Google Changes

Google announced search changes for February earlier today. They call them improvements–soon enough we’ll see for whom the improvements were made. Among the 40 produced, some look a little scary for online marketers.

Link Evaluation Changes

Here’s what Google says (no more, no less)

Link evaluation. We often use characteristics of links to help us figure out the topic of a linked page. We have changed the way in which we evaluate links; in particular, we are turning off a method of link analysis that we used for several years. We often rearchitect or turn off parts of our scoring in order to keep our system maintainable, clean and understandable.

What Right Hat SEO says

We’ve been through so many link devaluations, it’s nothing new. We move forward and adapt. SEO is an evolving creature. SEOs have to be also. The hard part is knowing which of all the reports created by “gurus” will prove truthful concerning which method Google is ‘turning off’–but then again, shifting through falsities has always been part of SEO. Nothing new under the sun.

Local Search Rankings

Here’s what Google says about “Venice”

Improvements to ranking for local search results. [launch codename “Venice”] This improvement improves the triggering of Local Universal results by relying more on the ranking of our main search results as a signal…..We launched a new system to find results from a user’s city more reliably. Now we’re better able to detect when both queries and documents are local to the user.

Here’s what Right Hat SEO says

I have seen the results of local search rankings since 2010 and think it’s a positive thing. There are many businesses that wouldn’t have a fighting chance if Google hadn’t included local results for queries. It looks like Google is trying to help out the little guys a little more.

More Locally Relevant Predictions in YouTube

Here’s what the Big G says about “Suggest”

More locally relevant predictions in YouTube. [project codename “Suggest”] We’ve improved the ranking for predictions in YouTube to provide more locally relevant queries. For example, for the query [lady gaga in ] performed on the US version of YouTube, we might predict [lady gaga in times square], but for the same search performed on the Indian version of YouTube, we might predict [lady gaga in India].

Here’s what Right Hat SEO concludes

I think this is a step in the right direction. I predict that, in the not too distant future, ‘locally relevant queries’ will also benefit local businesses. Get your video cameras out and start shooting some commercials!

With these new updates, I’ve already seen some people losing rankings, which means some people are gaining rankings. Keep your SEO clean, following correct SEO principles and you’ll end up on top! Until the next update!