Andem - 12:32 pm on Feb 28, 2012 (gmt 0)
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.
Anybody have the slightest idea of what this might be? Could it be that anchor test is no longer being used or that the value of backlinks is being completely phased out by Google?
I honestly can't think of much they could do to 'turn off' something that they've been doing for many years which involves link analysis. I have a weird feeling that anchor text has been abused so much, that they may have just decided to throw the towel in on that. It's probably too early to tell, but a quick search of many sites I know which rely on unnatural inbound anchor text says this is not the case.
Update to the Google bar. [project codename “Kennedy”] We continue to iterate in our efforts to deliver a beautifully simple experience across Google products, and as part of that this month we made further adjustments to the Google bar. The biggest change is that we’ve replaced the drop-down Google menu in the November redesign with a consistent and expanded set of links running across the top of the page.
I found the "Google bar" was ugly and completely contrary to a 'simplified experience' so it is nice to see Google going back to the roots, at least in a UI sense. The drop-down menu was clunky and reminded me of a retro Microsoft web site when they had IE-only DHTML menus *lol*