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Google Algorithm Updates: 2017 Recap And 2018 Predictions
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Google Algorithm Updates: 2017 Recap and 2018 Predictions

  •   Gemma Walker
  •   Jan 19, 2018

Google Algorithm Updates

There’s no denying the fact that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is constantly evolving with each passing day. The time has elapsed so swiftly that it seems like yesterday when keyword stuffing became a viable SEO strategy to rank on Google. Every year, Google makes several changes in its search algorithm (around 500-600 times). While most of these updates are minor, there’s a major algorithmic update (like Panda and Penguin) that Google occasionally rolls out, which affects search results in a myriad of ways. At times, it can be hard to determine which updates will actually influence our SEO efforts and directly impact the rankings.

For webmasters and digital marketing services providers in California and around the nation, knowing the dates of these Google updates can help clarify changes in rankings and organic website traffic flow, and ultimately perk up search engine optimization. The year 2017 was no different as Google made tons of updates (some big some small) to its algorithm, which had a huge impact on existing sites on Google. In this write-up, we’ll be giving you a brief overview of Google algorithm updates that were released in 2017 along with the ones which are expected to show up in 2018.   

So, without any further ado, let’s dive in!

2017 Recap

January 10, 2017: Intrusive Interstitials Penalty

In the beginning of 2017, Google rolled out the Intrusive Interstitials update which focused on penalizing websites that showed intrusive popups, banners, or overlays (also known as interstitials), which might damage the mobile user experience. The sole purpose of this algorithm was to make sure such ads and popups do not interfere with the mobile search experience. Google also gave a rare warning of this update five months in advance.

February 1, 2017: Unnamed Update

This tweak completely transformed the way Google dealt with links. There was a period of heavy algorithm fluctuations between February 1st and February 6th, 2017. It was unclear whether this update involved multiple algorithm updates or a single update with an extended roll-out, but according to anecdotal evidence, it was proven later that it comprised anywhere from one to two major changes. Some marketers and webmasters speculated that Google released the update to improve discredit spammy links or the ones with relatively low authority.

February 7, 2017: Unnamed Update

Few days later, Google rolled in another update on February 7th, which was dramatically larger in scale as compared to the previous one. Since Google updated its Search Quality Raters guidelines around the same time, industry experts and analysts predicted that this update is associated with content quality. Google started to penalize websites that were providing low-quality content and were not taking the user-engagement experience into account. While some websites saw a positive impact, others experienced several negative effects from this update. When Google implements an update of such magnitude, you can clearly witness various repercussions of the impact through keyword rankings.

March 8, 2017: “Fred” (Unconfirmed)

Then came one of the major updates of 2017, which was jokingly given the name “Fred” by Gary Illyes in one of his tweets in response to queries. The name stuck but he later made it clear that this was not an official confirmation. The update targeted websites that were violating Google’s webmaster guidelines. The sites that were affected the most by Fred were blogs with low-quality posts, which appear to be created solely for the purpose of generating ad revenue. Here’s what Google addressed sites with thin, affiliate-heavy, or ad-centered content: “If your content only contains affiliate links, in simpler terms: if your goal isn’t to help users, you’ll be penalized for that!” If you’re showing ads on your website, make sure the pages they are found on are high-quality and offer relevant, ample information.

May 17, 2017: Unnamed Update

In the mid of May, another significant yet unnamed algorithm update was released by Google. It was unclear whether this was an actual ranking shift, or was a result of several changes in featured snippets. Several Google search engine tracking tools like MozCast, Algoroo, and RankRanger suspected it as another core quality algorithm update. You can find more information about this update here.  

June 20, 2017: Google Jobs

Later in June, Google officially launched its AI-powered jobs search engine, including a stand-alone 3-pack of job listings in search results that enabled job seekers to search for jobs and employers to search for potential candidates across all major online job portals, including LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Monster, WayUp, DirectEmployees, Facebook, CareerBuilder, and others.

October 27, 2017: Featured Snippet Drop

Over the past few years, there has been a steady and substantial increase in Featured Snippets on Google SERPs. However, by the end of October (from October 27 to October 31) last year, there was a significant drop (10-12 percent) in searches with Featured Snippets. For more information about this update, click here.

2018 Predictions

It’s no secret that Google Algorithm Updates have caused a big stir in the SEO community. Today, it has become harder than ever to nail down specific SEO strategies that work. However, with all these new updates flooding in, we can gain valuable insight into what 2018 has to offer.

If you want to benefit from Google algorithm and SEO updates, then you need to focus on providing quality and relevant content to your target customers. That is to say, the future of SEO is all-inclusive, in-depth content.

Now you must be wondering how to write detailed content that ranks high on SERPs without getting penalized. Here’s the catch: write longer posts (the longer the content length, the better the results), go more in-depth (by providing stats, examples, and relevant information), and use LSI keywords to inform your outline. And yes, don’t forget to deliver a full-fledged, content based experience as user experience is everything when it comes to online content.

Looking for top-notch SEO services in California, US to lift your business website above your rivals in the race of search engine rankings? Look no further, we’ve got you covered!  


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