The news of Google's self-penalization for violating their own TOS has been making headlines both in and outside the SEO community, but despite the negative press the search engine giant has generated on its own behalf, there is good news on the horizon for Google.
In their most recent official blog post, Google revealed some changes made to their search engine technology that may interest SEO developers. The announcement covers changes to their image search feature, byline date accuracy and the internally-codenamed "Megasitelinks" (which is actually an algorithm enhancement.)
As with most Google news, these topics are important throughout the world of search engine optimization. The improvements made to the image search algorithms are said to be carried over from their Web search technology. Now, spam detection will apply to image searching as well as basic Web searching. Also, the quality of the landing pages hosting images will be factored into search results. This news gives developers even greater incentive to design landing pages to be SE-friendly, as image searches will now be more akin to Web searches in their ranking factors.
The changes made to byline dating should prove helpful to developers who frequently update social media aspects such as blog posts. While Google didn't elaborate too much on this issue, it seems that the search engine now crawls pages to find the latest updates and displays those alongside results.
The "Megasitelinks" updates provide localized sitelinks based on location settings. SEO developers who utilize strategies like geo-targeting should view this as a potential traffic booster. Those not taking advantage of geo-targeting techniques may see this change as a reason to increase their efforts on the geographic optimization front.
Other elements of spam detection appear to be a focal point for Google in the blog update. The full post, which can be read at: http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2012/01/30-search-quality-highlights-with.html lists other changes that the brand continues to improve upon. SEO developers should pay close attention to the changes, as they are definitely favorable for those who practice white hat SEO techniques and will undoubtedly continue to be improved upon in the months to come.