Last Thursday, Google announced major changes to the way they present search results. The changes are expected to affect up to 35% of all searches. While relevance and currency have always been important in how high web sites appear in search results, this makes them even more so.
As explained by Amit Singhal in a post on the Official Google Blog, Google is making these changes because:
Even if you don’t specify it in your search, you probably want search results that are relevant and recent. If I search for olympics, I probably want information about next summer’s upcoming Olympics, not the 1900 Summer Olympics.
Google is basing the new search on their Caffeine web indexing system, introduced last year, which allows them to crawl and index the web in near real time.
These changes are obviously good for users. The implications for website owners will become clearer after some more usage and the algorithm will likely be tuned by Google, but several things are already obvious. Fresh content, including frequent updates, will be even more important. RSS feeds of your content and date-modified tags will help Google find the updates.
If you’ve been putting it off, now would be a good time to get a comprehensive analysis of your website.