Latest Google Algorithm Updates that Can Affect Your SEO in 2017
by Fervil Von
When it comes to the growth of your business, SEO plays a very important role.
There is no exact system that can indicate your business growth, but a collective of tools and efforts give you near-accurate results.
With this truth in mind, an ‘SEO formula’ that seems too good to be true probably is.
Since the whole discipline of SEO, digital marketing included, is like a giant mold where everyone can explore new concepts, why not create your own formula?
There is No ‘One Size Fits All’ Campaign
Crafting your own SEO-elixir for success is viable.
In fact, well-renowned SEO practitioners have been doing this for years. It’s entirely possible, even if you’ll probably spend one sleepless night after another.
Another thing that you have to keep in mind is that there’s no campaign that can rule them all.
All campaigns change, as far as keywords, content, initiatives, analytics, and marketing methods are concerned.
What you can create is a methodology that adapts to the times – a formula that can, indeed, make your business grow significantly.
SEO Updates – Your Powerful Reagents
Just like any other formula, small chunks of components are needed.
You probably know about the importance of on-page and off-page optimization.
SEO tools are also other important things that can boost your campaign greatly.
All of this stuff, however, can be inefficient if you don’t know about the potency of latest Google algorithm updates in 2016.
These updates are being rolled periodically and they target specific parameters of the whole search engine algorithm.
Some changes are minor, while others have turned the tables in a rather different way (Penguin, aha!).
In starting your campaign, you should add the updates in the spectrum.
Backtrack your processes and research about the updates and their relative effects.
Your research doesn’t end there.
Eventually, you can extend your research to deeper business-to-client relations, therefore increasing the potency of your campaign.
Now, it’s time to check out these influential digital marketing and Google algorithm updates.
They can benefit your campaign for 2016 onwards and will possibly offer insights on how you can attain 100-200% growth—or even more.
Google Authorship Dead – Yay or Nay?
One of the best things about the Internet is the semi-infinite ways on how you can make a name for yourself.
Creativity is one factor; marketing and publication are other different things.
Few years ago, Google launched a very helpful function known as authorship.
Through this function, content creators will get more recognition and, in a way, additional traffic boost.
Google Authorship is directly connected to Google+, though there’s no clear indication if the combination of these factors can spruce up rankings.
Simply put, Google Authorship is all about increasing the visibility of online authors.
Alternately, it’s a simple method that allows Google to identify hundreds of author identities
By taking advantage of Google Authorship, your name and image will appear next to a sponsored content.
Traditionally, this can mean a higher click-through rate for your website. Keep in mind that Authorship is different from Author Rank.
The connection of the two ideas is very near and people often overlap their definitions.
Now that Google Authorship is gone, there should be no direct impact to your Author Rank.
Nevertheless, considering Author Rank as one of the many core SEO signals is a good move to add in your arsenal.
Don’t fret too much now that Google Authorship is dead. There are other important SEO factors to think about.
No More Whitelist, according to Google
Whitelisting is a special feature that allows marketing experts and strategists to deliver their business message efficiently.
This technique is mostly used in email marketing wherein the end users’ spam list is often bypassed.
In this way, a portion of the emails managed to get through, thus resuming the marketers’ lead generation process.
Whitelists are also known as Exception Lists.
Apparently, search engines are also affected by whitelists.
If a website is somehow tagged undesirable by Google, the Safe Search algorithm will prevent that website from appearing in the results.
For years, many people have benefited from this function, but then Exception Lists changed the game.
Safe Search has also brought minor problems and Google responded by putting an end to Whitelists.
Will this certain move affect your campaign? In a way, yes, especially if your campaign is hinged on email marketing.
What you need to do is to adjust your marketing strategies within a certain time frame.
Refocus your initiatives and make sure that you’re maximizing most aspects of your campaign.
RankBrain, perhaps, is one of the most essential ranking elements in every search query.
For starters, RankBrain is a highly-adaptable artificial intelligence machine that can analyze all aspects of search results.
It’s like a theoretical overseer that works hard in understanding the components of every search.
Interestingly, RankBrain is self-aware and embodies the concept of Machine Learning.
Simply put, RankBrain teaches itself to achieve a certain goal.
No human can tamper with its learning process, therefore making the system fully automated.
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So, can RankBrain change the viability of any search?
To answer this question, the popularity of search terms must be considered.
One search phrase may be less popular than another – RankBrain will simply prioritize the most popular term.
This is an essential fact because you can do your keyword research with improved accuracy.
Also, according to Google, RankBrain is always part of the roster of core ranking signals.
Since RankBrain is automated and very much reliable in assessing search results, you shouldn’t focus on the metric known as ‘RankBrain Score.’
RankBrain analysis occurs behind the show, and there’s no score or metric that you cannot optimize for.
Instead, you should just focus on diversifying the reach and potency of your campaign.
AMP: Towards the Future
Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP is becoming more popular today due to the mobile revolution.
Since the concept of Responsive Web Design is something that cannot be ignored nowadays, AMP integration is a necessity.
With the help of AMP, web developers can now create faster websites, focused intensely on growth standards.
Choosing an AMP-driven strategy can also improve your marketing efforts by a significant rate.
Google is highly immersed in the creation of AMP.
Recent updates and developments include the reduction of errors in data structuring.
AMP strategists can now benefit from a more streamlined, almost error-free process.
It’s also speculated that better AMP support will be seen in the coming months.
The future is indeed promising for those who will apply AMP methodologies.
If you’re running an e-commerce website, then you can benefit greatly from AMP.
With AMP integration, transactions in your website will become faster and the chance of getting additional sales is higher.
Caching is also another important factor improved by AMP techniques.
With a caching model, platforms can direct traffic to AMP pages with high accuracy and speed.
Despite this advantage, balance is really important.
Make sure that you analyze the traffic distribution in your AMP pages.
Figure out the strong and weak points, then come up of a proper SEO strategy.
Integrating your website with AMP may take time, but you have all the resources that you need.
It’s almost a plug and play setting where the components you need are handed down.
Your visitors and end users will also appreciate it if your website is running on AMP template because they can view products with relative ease and added efficiency.
AMP deserves to be considered as one of the top modern solutions to have.
Keep it in your roster and continue expanding your knowledge about AMP.
The Efficiency of Hummingbird
The whole field of SEO has changed enormously with the help of the Hummingbird update.
Basically, you can consider Hummingbird as a total overhaul of the search algorithm.
For any SEO strategist, online entrepreneur, and digital marketer, Hummingbird plays a very special role.
With search terms becoming more varied, end users can now see great results.
This translates to greater search output, which makes the end user well-satisfied.
It’s important to give a bit of attention to Hummingbird because you’ll have a larger spectrum of factors that you can tinker with.
Hummingbird is the spyglass that observes PageRank aspect well and this level of analysis can be added to your campaign analysis.
Is Hummingbird more powerful than Penguin and Panda updates?
Such question is relative.
It’s true that Penguin and Panda caused a myriad of changes to the search algorithm, but they didn’t replace the engine.
Despite that, you probably know the widespread reach of the two major updates.
The Hummingbird update is quite different in a way that the engine is entirely modified.
Now, Google is running with a smoother, faster, and more precise algorithm.
Hummingbird has affected ‘search intent.’
This is the reason why many SEO strategists took a dive in the realm of long-tail keywords.
People tend to use conversational search methods and Hummingbird capitalized on that fact.
With an algorithm that ‘understands’ every relative query, more websites can now be covered by search results.
Knowing about the Hummingbird’s efficiency is just a normal step for your campaign.
What’s better is to invest valuable time in understanding search intent and the proper concoction of seo keywords.
There is no standard formula that you can follow. Rather, there are thousands of useful resources that you can mix to create your own formula variation.
The HTTPS Scale
Another update that deserves microscopic attention is the global overhaul to the HTTPS domain.
Over the years, the HTTP setting dominated the Internet, but many web developers have encountered several problems. Security is a major concern with a large majority of websites.
More often than not, hackers can launch unprecedented attacks, leading to massive losses of valuable data.
Businesses were affected and profits went down the drain.
The switch to HTTPS is abrupt but can be felt in all corners of the Internet.
The goal for this switch is simple: additional security parameters.
If a website is highly secured, it can establish client trust in a natural way.
More importantly, there is nothing to fear from prominent data loss.
Despite the usefulness of this update, only a small percentage of websites have migrated.
Migration is hard work, indeed.
There are many procedures to follow and it will take another round of monitoring to see if the migration is affecting the site.
Some of the procedures included are server testing, crawling, security certificate integration, tags updating, and preparation of disavow file if you have active links.
You may need additional help to successfully roll out your HTTPS migration.
While the HTTPS setting is scaled positively, there are still some notable errors.
Content duplication is common among them.
If your content is duplicated, Google will do certain measures to penalize your website.
At the very least, your site’s position in SERP will be greatly compromised.
Therefore, you need to ensure that your redirect efforts are well-polished.
Scour each and every page of your website and analyze them thoroughly.
Take every step slowly but surely – you cannot afford to be penalized.
HTTPS is the new face of change that you have to embrace.
It will stay like that for years, along with mobile responsiveness, AMP integration, and other aspects of web development.
A Reminder: Google Panda as Part of Core Ranking Signals
Google Panda changed the main aspects of the entire search algorithm.
Scores of websites guilty of algorithm-gaming techniques were put to the flames within just few days of Panda becoming live.
The manifestation of Panda gave way to better white hat techniques and campaigns that are properly optimized.
There’s no doubt that Panda served a lesson for all SEO specialists, digital marketing experts, and virtually anyone who’s relying on the search engine revolution.
However, many people are still unaware of the fact that Panda is already part of Google’s core ranking signals.
What does this mean for your campaign?
Basically, it means that your campaign will become more effective if you adhere to the main standards of Panda.
Since Panda is created as a ‘cutthroat algorithm’ to level the playing field, it’s important that you develop a mindset geared towards quality, efficiency, and overall effectiveness.
There is no room for mistakes.
You can use this to your advantage in order to create a strong campaign that can zero in towards your business goals.
On a side note, Google’s core ranking signals amount to more than two hundred.
Even SEO experts cannot pinpoint how many ranking signals are out there.
Simply learn about the signals that matter most (Panda hopefully included) and then work on them.
Google also ascertained that there will be no new Panda versions in the future.
This statement can change over time, since Google’s algorithm is somehow complicated.
Important Keynotes about Google’s Possum Update
While everyone is busy optimizing their websites for better rankings, the whole search community braced for the changes introduced by Google’s Possum Update.
The name was suggested by Phil Rozek, emphasizing the way Google My Business listings were filtered thoroughly.
Others speculated that the listings have gone down totally, thus the ‘possum’ game commences,
To properly integrate your SEO tactics, here are the Possum Update keynotes that you have to know.
Increased Ranking for Businesses Outside Physical City Limits
Back then, businesses that are located outside main physical city limits often have ranking problems that include the city name in keywords.
This is a subtle but inherent problem that affected the growth of local businesses, especially those gunning for better ranks.
Now, businesses outside the city limits will receive massive ranking spikes.
Hopefully, this will level the playing field for small business owners who rely on SEO.
More Filtering Factors: Address and Affiliation
With the Possum Update, Google will now filter most businesses according to address and affiliation.
Even if the filtering method has become more prevalent, it’s nowhere near a penalty.
Rather, think of this change as a modified version of Google’s organic filter.
A little tweak in your optimization methods can possibly bring improved results.
Search Result Variance
Optimizing keywords will now become more interesting and challenging at the same time.
There will be more keyword variations that can wholly affect main search results.
Aim for long-tail keywords – this technique can still bring lots of business value.
Penguin Now Part of the Whole Algorithm
On top of Possum, Penguin is now operating in real time.
Basically, this small chunk of update in the past is now a big part of the whole search algorithm.
Expect for huge changes in ranking mechanisms, especially now that Penguin has adapted page-specific methods.
Still, Google won’t confirm for future Penguin-related changes.
Do you think the keynotes can help you improve the total value of your campaign? Test it now and observe the results.
With these left and right Google Updates, what’s the best next move for budding small businesses in SEO and digital marketing?
Have Better KPI Management to Ensure Success
The overall success of your campaign can be measured through Key Performance Indicators, also known as KPI.
These indicators are inherent factors that resulted from a plethora of activities implemented by your campaign.
Through KPI, you’ll also know if something went awry or if a certain factor is hindering the campaign’s progress.
Before you can measure KPI, you need to have a firm grasp of your objectives.
If your objective is to reach a certain traffic rate within ‘x’ months, you need a list of the potential factors that you’ll focus on.
KPIs are also important for creating an official digital marketing plan.
Analyzing KPIs begins with a theoretical stance.
For example, a client wants to rank for a targeted keyword.
As a strategist, you have to determine the factors why the client chooses that keyword.
Once you fully understand what your client thinks, you can now move forward and concoct an efficient SEO strategy.
By discussing KPI elements with your client, you’ll form a strong bond and the client will even understand the nature of your campaign from the ground up.
Lots of SEO agencies are now geared towards developing a strong KPI management system.
Through this movement, you’ll see dozens of new tools and tool updates that can help you with your goals.
Whether it’s conversion, client engagement, and better marketing approaches, you can never go wrong with KPI management.
Along the way, you’ll find out that a KPI management system focused on lead generation can bring tremendous results for your business.
The results may vary but you can never go wrong with popular lead generation processes.
If you have a KPI system in place, there’s a greater chance that your newsletters can generate impacting results.
Aside from that, your social media presence will become stronger, thus creating more leads in the process.
At first, KPI management can be confusing.
There are lots of data to analyze, which can be confusing for everyone.
If you’re confused, you can follow traditional SEO metrics and discuss them with your team.
Just remember that these metrics are not static – they improve with time.
So, you need to increase your research efforts if you want all processes to become more efficient.
Improving your KPI initiative is a great step that can boost your campaign.
You can prepare ahead of time and study KPI-related methodologies explained by various SEO strategists and modern marketers.
You should also understand the difference of each popular KPI tools in the market.
Given this, you have many things to analyze when it comes to KPI, but it’s a big leap that you cannot afford to lose.
In the modern business arena, marketing automation is a necessary process.
It’s no longer a privilege that you can have if you’re building an online business.
Without marketing automation, your campaign reach will be short and inefficient.
Plus, you’ll spend additional resources just to make your processes work.
But first, it’s beneficial to take a look at the real nature of marketing automation.
On its own, marketing automation is already a discipline.
Some digital marketing strategists may consider it as a ‘blanket’ of processes, strategies, and other well-known techniques.
Automation is the end goal here, but growth is the larger agenda.
To automate your marketing efforts, what you need is a reliable platform that can work with all aspects of your campaign.
Now, the benefits of marketing automation can be groundbreaking.
At first, you’ll encounter ‘trickles,’ but your business will improve over time.
One important benefit is the reduction of manpower costs.
An automation platform can complete the tasks of many employees, therefore saving thousands of dollars.
Additionally, the technology of the automation software is diverse enough to accomplish different areas of marketing.
For example: you need to send out 1,000 newsletters to subscribers.
You can accomplish that yourself in just few clicks.
Moreover, you can customize the way your newsletters are designed and sent.
Depending on the pricing range of automation program, you can have variable outcome.
Another key benefit of marketing automation systems is the potential to reach thousands of customers in all well-known sectors.
This can amplify the total value of your business and you can even reach your goals in lesser time.
The sample channels that you can access are email, phone contacts, social media, SMS, forums, online communities, and forums.
Up-selling advantage is also another positive factor brought by marketing automation.
An automation platform can help you up-sell to your customers without being ‘spammy’ or pushy.
You can set the up-sell schedule in the platform and the reminders can be designed according to your plans.
Now, choosing the automation platform is crucial to your success.
Before making your mind, you must select from the top 5 reliable platforms in the world.
Read up on client reviews so you’ll know which platforms are worth your time and money.
In a way, SEO is still purely theoretical. All campaigns launched will have different results once their time frames have been reached.
The updates will always be there, and more will even be rolled out in the coming months or years.
Focusing on these updates can siphon your creative energy.
Rather, you can just learn the inner workings of all updates and know how they can benefit your processes.
The updates themselves are fickle – just check out how the Google Team seems unsure about the whole algorithm.
Think of SEO as a large puzzle of puzzles, and your campaign is a turnkey that’ll give you a chance of handing solutions. Now, that’s a better perspective to work around with!
November 3, 2016