A Complete Guide to Google’s SEO Updates From 2016


In the early days, Google wasn’t as robust or accurate as it we know it to be today. It was incredibly easy to rank for anything – whether contextually related to the actual content of your website or not – with keyword stuffing and other shady practices. Ranking for just about anything was as simple as using the keywords you wanted to rank for in the meta keyword section of your code – a practice that doesn’t do anything today.

Today, Google processes at least2trillion searches per year, and has grown from a simplistic search engine into an extensive network of products and services. Beyond things like YouTube, AdWords, AdSense, Drive, and Analytics, Google is changing the way we live, work, and play. With products such as Android OS, Chromecast, Google Assistant, Google Home, and Pixel – and services like Google Play Music, and Google Play Movies and TV, you can’t go far or do much without something Google related in your life.

Even though Google is rapidly growing their business outside of the search engine, there’s been no shortage of work on it. First and foremost, Google is a business, with customers to keep happy – and one of the ways they can do that is to improve the user experience one search at a time.  This translates to working to better understand the user’s query,improving the quality of results, the speed at which the results are delivered, and creating a seamless transition between desktop and mobile devices.

Over the years, we’ve seen Google rock the internet marketing and SEO world with major updates like Penguin and Panda – aimed at penalizing sites with low quality content not really helping the audiences they were intended for, and penalizing sites that were engaging in spammy link practices to try to rank higher.

As Google cracked down on those sites – millions saw changes in ranking. Some were able to change strategies and recover, while others never quite made the cut. That brings us a bit closer to the Google we see today, which is still making changes for the better.

The infographic below highlights the algorithm changes seen in 2016. Though the actual algorithm is under lock and key, through information from Google itself, and other research and analysis, we do know a fairly decent amount about what factors are the most important in terms of SEO. While guaranteeing a number one rank in Google will always be impossible, we do know what it takes to get there, and can develop strategies to support that goal.

By understanding what changes occurred over the last calendar year, we can make sure our strategies are aligned with what both Google and users want… and Google wants you to put the users and their experience first, because it makes their job easier, too.

Did you experience any shifts in ranking because of the changes Google made last year? What kinds of changes are you expecting to see in 2017?

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