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A user guide to recent Google algorithm changes – 2016 Updates

SEO is evolving day by day and the task of the webmaster to keep their site ranking well in search engines requires more attention to detail than ever before. In this article we explain the significance of keeping up to date on the latest Google algorithms so that you can stay one step ahead of the competition by avoiding a search penalty. Charting back to 2011 here are the most important changes in Google’s algorithm history to acknowledge.

May 2016: Mobile-friendly 2

Only a year after the original “mobile friendly” update, Google unveiled its updated algorithm change for a ranking signal to benefit mobile-friendly sites. Since the majority of website users now search through mobile as much as desktop, this SEO enforcement was a long time coming. News about Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm boost was first announced Search Engine Land.

May 2016: Unnamed Major Update

According to high authority trackers such as MozCast there were suggestions of a historically rare week-long pattern of algorithm activity, which included a 97-degree spike. There was no official declaration on Google’s part to qualify this theory and no further explanation has been given.

February 2016: AdWords Shake-up

Whilst in paid search, Google made major changes to AdWords by deleting right-column ads entirely and instead displaying 4-ad top blocks on many organic search listings. Even though this was a paid search update, the action had significant implications for click through rate for both paid and organic results, particularly on aggressive keywords.

Jan 2016: Unnamed Update

Authoritative tools used for SEO tracking picked up on a historically-large rankings movement, which Google later attributed to being part of its “core algo update”. The official line from Google was that this was not a Penguin update, despite other claims that were made.

October, 2015: RankBrain

Of the the most coveted announcement affecting SEO stability for websites made by Google in recent years was the unveiling of RankBrain, the third most important ranking factor for websites. The news made a big splash in publications outside of the SEM parametrise, to the likes of Bloom berg and Forbes.

July 2015: Panda 4.2

After several updates on Panda, a forth instalment was rolled out by Google in July 2015. Google confirmed that the refresh may take months to fully roll out and its impact will be less potent that previous versions, but just as important as a ranking factor.

May 2015: The Quality Update

Around this time there were many allegations of large-scale ranking changes in effect, which were labelled as “Phantom 2”. Google acknowledged this to be a core algorithm change impacting “quality signals”. The update update made for a broad impact, but there were few details of this change made available to the public.

April, 2015: Mobile Update

Contrast to how news gets around of a Google algorithmic change, the search engine forewarned websmasters of its latest refresh before April 2015. In a rare move, Google stated its intentions to award mobile-friendly sites higher visibility in SERPs. The short term of this update was mild to begin with before the momentum picked up and many sites were punished. “Mobilegeddon” — peaked on April 22nd.

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