You did it. You survived another year.
If we’re being honest, 2015 had its share of ups and downs in the world of SEO. For us at SEO Inc., we’re happy to say our year was definitely more up than down. But you can’t deny that we all saw some pretty huge changes within the industry. From a rise in manual actions to AI algorithms, these are the stirrings of what’s to come in the new year.
So when we say, “you survived 2015,” that’s a serious achievement.
Here’s what you have to be proud of surviving this year:
A Move Toward Higher Quality Content
We’ll remember 2015 as the year Google really started making good on its promises to make Content King again. Over and over, Google let us know what they wanted to see from our content. With these announcements came the development of new tools that detect (and reward) sites that follow their rules. These included algorithms that rate sites by their factual content, as well as machine-learning Google AI known as “RankBrain.” This groundbreaking algorithm “guesses” what users want to search, and it’s already more satisfactory than Google’s human engineers. This can only mean good news for search users.
But some of their actions weren’t as merciful. In mid-May, we saw Google deal out a wave of manual penalties that targeted sites with “thin content with little or no added value.” This move reinforced the idea that we should be prioritizing our content to be as useful and optimal as any other part of our site.
Check out these articles:
- SEO News Flash: What is Knowledge-Based Trust? – March 4
- Beware of a Google Penalty: What to Do When Mass Manual Actions are on the Rise – May 12
- How Google Search is Getting Smarter (and More Human) – November 25
April 21st, AKA “Mobilegeddon”
April 21st – a day that will live in infamy. Well, if not for the crater it made, then for the hype leading up to it. Mobilegeddon came and went, and everyone’s rankings didn’t end up tanking like we thought they would. This was partly due to the slow roll-out of the update, which thankfully, gave plenty of websites time to become mobile-friendly compliant.
Even if Mobilegeddon wasn’t everything we thought it would be, it still taught us a valuable lesson. Google wants everyone to provide users with the best mobile experience possible. Google preached that lesson early in the year, when they released a wave of warnings to “fix mobile usability issues” found in a number of websites. With mobile expected to continue dominating the user base in 2016, everyone had better get real friendly with their mobile site.
See these blogs for reference:
- How to Make a Website Mobile-Friendly After a Google Warning – January 20
- See What Your Website’s Missing – SEO Inc.’s Post-Mobilegeddon Checklist – May 7
More Accessible Website Recovery
2015 wasn’t all doom and gloom from the Big Search Engine Upstairs. Google gave plenty of tips for helping business owners run their sites. And yes, that includes when a user was in the wrong and punished with a penalty. From Google’s releasing of their Search Quality Guidelines to the renaming of Google Webmaster Tools to the more accessible Google Search Console, we saw the task of obeying Google’s Webmaster Guidelines become even easier for business owners of all sizes.
See more on the blogs:
- How to Recover from a Google Penalty – January 21
- Google “Quality Update” Released! Traffic Changes Due to Confirmed Google Update – May 21
- Google Webmaster Tools is Now “Google Search Console” – May 26
- Breaking News: “Remove Bad Links, Remove Your Penalty,” Says Google – September 14
- Google Search Quality Guidelines Released! – November 20
Increased Hacking (And the Security to Fix It)
This year was a bad one for hacking. But Google had our backs in a major way. They released a multi-part series on spreading hacking awareness, which even included a few tricks to prevent it from happening to you. This info came with some alarming numbers—that hacking was up 180% over the course of the year. But with Google’s suggestions to make the jump to HTTPS, as well as implement 2 step verification, you can all but hacker-proof your site from some of the more common hacking methods.
Read up and secure your site:
- How to Make a Hacker-Free, Secure Website – August 28
- What is Social Engineering? (And How to Protect From It) – September 3
- Why You Should Be Using 2 Step Verification – September 11
- The Number of Hacked Websites is Increasing. What Can You Do? – September 24
- Google Will Soon Support HTTP/2. Will You? – December 9
- Google Now Indexing HTTPS Pages by Default – December 22
Give yourself a hand—you got through a lot this year. And things aren’t likely to slow down any in 2016. Make sure you stay on top of all your SEO news. Stick with us and we’ll keep you updated with the latest search engine goings-on.
Thanks for a great 2015, and we’ll see you next year!