Each month Google will issue a list updates it's made to it's algorithm that month (though we suspect the month before). In June this was skipped making the july updates a bumper pack of 86 updates! You can read all of the updates to google here.
In this post I wont be going through them all but I just want to point out some updates and some trends they seem to show.
p style="text-align: center;"> First off, ordering results seems to be important with updates like this.
ng2. [project codename “Other Ranking Components”] Better ordering of top results using a new and improved ranking function for combining several key ranking features.
This update speaks for itself, though it would appear that Google have gone back to having more than 2 or 3 results per page for a website. This is an important move as it seems that some websites and brands have taken over certain terms. I am sure this will be tweaked more and more to get it right, but I am sceptical that allowing this kind of "search blocking" is a good idea.
The above update goes hand in hand with this one...
bergen.[project codename "Other Ranking Components"] This is one of multiple projects that we’re working on to make our system for clustering web results better and simpler.
And several others of a similar elk. Clustering is basically the "search blocking" I talk about above. Usually this kind of wording also means more sitelinks, and we know Google are playing around with these more and more to give more information. We know this because there are also 8 updates in relation to site links.
Next up, there are 8 updates in relation to "Page Quality" and 4 related to the trust value of a website or specific web page. In essence this is the behind the scenes look at things like whether your site has authority in a given subject, is it cited often, does it produce fresh content etc - all the normal organic seo goodness you would expect.
The final big hit comes to a project called "answers", there are 24 updates related to this project. There are also a bunch related to things like the Google Calculator and Universal Search as whole (this is things including search, news, videos etc). Combined it looks like Google is upping the stakes, it wants to be the publisher of simple and direct facts rather than a link farm - Google wants to give users a good experience so giving the facts such as weather and definitions from well known sources seems like a good route to me.
There are many more updates in the list, if you spot anything interesting or would like to know more about a specific update let me know.
Over the past 24 hours it has been discovered that as mentioned above Google has cahnged it's SERP's for brand related pages. As such a search for a brand, eg "seo andy" will garner 7 results, the top position (brand website) and sitelinks plus 6 others. These results are exclusive of images and other universal search items.