Let’s state the obvious…2016 is a terrible, no good, very bad year. It started off on the wrong foot and it never improved. Many of our favorite celebrities died. We had to choose a president between two candidates that no one was really crazy for. Racial tensions seemed to be at a all time high. And on top of all that, my beloved record player broke and I had to get a new one. Tough times, my friends.
Now it’s December and there’s only 31 days left to 2016 (or less, depending when you read this blog), it’s time to not only take a look at the year in review, but start looking ahead to 2017. We’ll get to the future in a later blog; right now, let’s focus on the five essential changes that happened SEO-wise in the year 2016:
- Staying the Course?: Some things in SEO just don’t change. And one of those stable elements is keyword research. However, the importance of keywords has definitely dropped. Thanks to the Hummingbird update, which gives Google a better understanding of a searcher’s query, no long-tail keywords and phrases are way more important. Especially with the new mobile index (I’ll get to that).
- Real-Time With Penguin: This fall we were hit with a pair of updates to the Google algorithm. One was an update to Penguin, a part of the algorithm that penalizes spam. The big change was making Penguin a real time thing which can help websites who have been penalized in the past recover more quickly than before.
- Location, Location, Location: The other algorithm that got a significant makeover this year is the Possum update. This one turned a few heads because it was pretty major and unexpected. Possum was created to provide more options to local searches as well as stop the spam from racing to the top of the listings. So if you search for, say “restaurants in Scranton” vs “restaurants Scranton” you’ll notice a big difference that you may not have seen before.
- The Index Split: This summer, Google made the announcement that it was planning to split its search index into two. Not only does this mean you better have a mobile website, but it also means that Google is staying with the times. With more and more people using their cell phones to search for products, Google is making sure its index is up to date for these users.
- Content is Still King But Links Matter: Yes, every SEO specialist on the planet says this over and over: Content is king. And it truly is. The search engines’ algorithms have gotten much smarter and they know good, informative, up-to-date content. But don’t count out backlinks. They are just as essential. You just gotta be careful where those links are coming from (cough, Penguin update, cough).
So what’s in store for us in 2017? And what else happened this year that was earth-shattering in the world of marketing? Well, you’ll just have to come back and see.