Google detailed its latest search updates last week. An expansion of its index was among the changes listed.

According to Google’s Inside Search blog, the company increased the size of its base search index by 15 percent last month. While algorithm shifts were the big news in April, expanding the index to include more websites means that search rankings will be both more complete and more competitive.

For marketers, a larger search index requires a greater focus on delivering high-quality website content. With more possible sites to include on SERPs, companies must be sure their sites perform well enough to attract the search crawlers. Creating articles and blog posts that offer relevant information to prospects can help improve a site’s standing in search and maintain freshness.

Quality content marketing becomes more of a necessity in light of Google’s expansion, with simultaneous Panda updates showing the search giant is cracking down on spam content as it builds its index. In April, Brafton highlighted three separate algorithm updates, two of which were Panda updates that came in a matter of eight days. Typically, Panda updates come about six weeks apart.

On April 19, Panda 3.5 was launched. Days later, Google unveiled its first Penguin algorithm. However, it quickly followed that with another Panda update on April 27. Frequently refreshing its algorithms is important to ensure accurate, relevant search rankings. However, the overall expansion of the index could explain the fast roll out of the month’s second Panda update.

In general, many companies have wondered what all of these search updates from Google mean for them. Brafton recently reported that SEO skills are among the most sought-after capabilities for new hires moving forward. While employees with a strong knowledge of Google’s algorithms and best practices to increase search standing are important, most recent updates are less about optimizing a site to appeal to crawlers and more concerned with providing a quality user experience.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.