Google's monthly update contains many tweaks

Google unveiled 50 changes during its monthly quality update in March, with changes to anchor text, image search, symbols and freshness among them.

The search engine will process anchor text (the visible text appearing in links) differently by turning off a specific classifier to enhance scoring. It has also "improved systems" for anchor text relevancy. Business Insider suggests following traditional best practices to avoid penalties, such as no keyword stuffing or over-optimization, with a greater focus on branding and naturally optimized pages.

Avoid keyword-stuffing and over-optimization to concentrate on branding, and you could just find yourself ahead of the game when the penalty does come.

Also, images on landing pages will gain prominence, even if they're of lower quality, while "reasonably sized" images on high-quality landing pages will also be promoted.

Google will no longer ignore punctuation marks and symbols, making websites that begin with such marks available to be ranked and indexed. Search Engine Land feels this move may also benefit searches for Twitter usernames and hashtags.

Finally, a tweak to Google's previous freshness update will now be extended to all queries, whereas it previously only applied to news-related traffic.