We’re at the wonderful time of the year when we’re right smack in the middle of perfecting our craft for this year while preparing to transition to newer, bigger things for next year. Before anything else, however, allow me to say from the bottom of my heart: MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF YOU SEO HACKERS!
It may not be out of place to say this but I am confident that SEO Hacker’s growth can be attributed to three elements: Our readers, my dedicated team as well as the grace of God. For your continued support and patronage, thank you.
SEO Hacker has grown from being “simply a website” from 5 years ago into the respectable business that it is today. I am still privileged to share my joy with all of you who have stuck with us from the start, as well as to those of you who have only started to join us on our journey.
God has continued to bless us with growth as individuals as well as a company and it is for this very reason that that we remain to be thankful as well as humble despite our growth. We hope to continue growing with you as we leave behind 2016 for the exciting tomorrow that is 2017.
I have been in the SEO business for a long time now and I will never forget one of the first Christmas messages that I have ever written as part of the SEO Hacker brand. From the time that I have written that first Christmas greeting to today, SEO Hacker has changed to reflect what we have become today: bigger and better.
So what I’d like to talk about today is related to change because 2016 changed so many things; Google one of them. So the thing about SEO is that it is completely random. There is no 100% definitive way of “doing SEO right” as what we’re doing can also be described as “simply trying to make Google happy” and I don’t think that’s too far off from the mark. Google has reinvented its algorithm so many times this year that it’s become hard to take count. Luckily, I took notes so let’s look back at Google’s 2016 transformation:
January 8, 2016 – Nameless Update
This was the first wave of updates that Google implemented this year. While it remains ambiguous as to what this update really was, Google has confirmed that it wasn’t Penguin; Google also confirmed that Core Search Rankings were updated.
February 23, 2016 – The AdWords Update
Google made some changes with AdWords and they were major changes. They removed right-coloumn ads in favor of 4-ad top blocks. While this was done for primarily paid ads, this still affected both organic and paid search results, more so with competitive keywords.
May 10, 2016 – Nameless Major Update
Many trackers including Moz noted a historically rare but significant week-long algorithm activity. The update remains nameless as well as unconfirmed due to Google refusing to comment on it. Many people believe that was simply a precursor to the upcoming named updates.
May 12, 2016 – Mobile Optimization
One year ago, Google came up with guidelines and algorithm changes that had webmasters optimizing their websites to become mobile-friendly. This second update solidified that directive and now, many websites are now mobile-friendly ushering in a new era of mobile searching.
September 1, 2016 – Possum
Another unconfirmed update, Possum is something that Moz discovered through their data tracking software. This updated heavily affected organic search and pack results.
September 13, 2016 – Image/Universal Drop
This update mainly dealt with image results which made a good chunk of SERPs drop off the radar. This update opened up a paradigm shift which caused a substantial shift with website rankings.
September 27, 2016 – Penguin 4.0 Part 1
Penguin’s first phase is speculated to have been released on September 27. The update promised a “gentler” Penguin algorithm where Google promised that bad links will simply be devalued instead of penalizing the website itself. Many people believe that Penguin Phase I took a few days to fully update but this is considered to be a welcome change for the SEO community.
October 6, 2016 – Penguin 4.0 Part 2
A few weeks after the first phase of the Penguin 4.0 update, Google came out with Phase 2. What happened was that Google essentially reversed many of the previous Penguin’s penalties, deliver what seems to be a “fresh start”. It is at this point that the Penguin 4.0 update was considered to be “complete”.
November 10, 2016 – Nameless Major Update
Google has yet to confirm what this update was or what it specifically targeted but people believe that it was a two phase update wherein the second phase was deployed to cancel out the changes made by the first phase. Of course this is all speculation until Google makes an official announcement about it.
These are Google’s algorithm changes for 2016 and personally, I’m looking forward to what I can learn from 2017. It was a pleasure to write about most of them and reading your comments and stories about how these algorithm changes affected you has made me happy as an SEO specialist because I knew I could help or at the very least, listen.
Again, allow me to say Merry Christmas from the SEO Hacker Team! We’ll see you in our annual New Year Article in a few days, please look forward to that.
What are you most memorable moments that are related to Google’s algorithm changes? Let’s talk about your experiences in the comments box below! I look forward to hearing from you.