Google is well-known for making continuous tweaks to its search engine algorithms – from organic search across mobile and web, to paid campaign results, the SEO giant is always looking for ways to lean down and refine the way it presents its results.
What were the major changes last year, and what do they indicate about this year?
- right-column ads disappeared in favour of increasing the top block results to four.
- organic results are now pushed further down the page, making a top 3 organic position even more of a priority for companies hoping for good click through rate.
- The Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) project, which aimed to dramatically improve rich-media content loading on mobile, has really taken hold, with Google providing faster-loading, scrollable carousels at the top of search result pages to allow quick in-and-out experiences for mobile users.
- Google also rolled out an update to their ranking system which gave preference to mobile-friendly sites (read our article here).
Google My Business
Google launched Possum in September 2016 – an algorithm to give preference to businesses with a verified local address.
This means that you need to ensure your Google Business information is correct, up to date and verified by Google.
- Penguin has been updated to now be real-time (to alleviate the issue of lengthy site audits and re-crawls) and be more granular to adjust ranking based on spam signals per page, rather than devaluing the whole site.
- Add great relevant content to your site and you won’t go far wrong!
What will 2017 bring?
It’s hard to keep up with Google – innovation is a given, but they’re also pretty secretive!
But these are some predictions for this year:
- The rise of AI and intelligent search, or machine learning, will become the ‘next big thing’. Companies like IBM are already investing millions in intelligent learning ‘robots’ that will guide web users through a search experience to ensure they get what they want.
- Organic positions 6-10 may disappear as click-through rates for these positions dwindle to well below 4%.
- SEO will become more important than ever – more sites and more clever tricks means you’ll need to fight much harder to achieve good ranking, good click-through rate and most importantly good conversion.