It’s always a good idea to take a quick look back at what happened in the search industry over the course of one year. 2015 did not disappoint and was full of new features, best practices, and of course algorithm updates. Take a look at the year in review below to remind yourself some of the new options available as you start to plan your 2016 year and SEO strategy:
February 25: Local Guides App for Google Maps Launched
We all know that Google reviews are crucial to online success, so this takes things one step further. Google Maps announced a Local Guides app that rewards people for posting quality reviews by offering Google benefits such as even invitations.
February 24: Google and Twitter Partner Up
The partnership allows Twitter to provide Google with tweets so that Google can index those tweets to use in the SERPs. This means they have access to the Twitter feed instead of just crawling it, which means tweets will be searchable in real-time. Learn what it really means to you here.
April 21: Google Mobile Update labeled “Mobilegeddon”
In probably the biggest and most influential change of the year, this was a highly anticipated change that we all knew was coming. It aimed to penalize and drop rankings for those sites that were not optimized for mobile.
May 3: Google Quality Update
The update was originally called “Phantom 2” and was later considered a “core” algorithm update. This mean that Google was going to focus more on quality signals, although it was never actually stated what those signals were. In the industry, experts took this to mean navigation, no black hat tactics, and quality images to name a few.
June 15: Pinterest and Instagram Add Revenue Options
This really took social commerce to a new level. With revenue options, those browsing the networks can shop and buy right there on the platform, making these networks extremely crucial for e-commerce companies. Learn more here.
July 17: Google Panda 4.2
So this update is almost not even worthy of putting on the list because so few people were affected and very little about the change was ever disclosed to us, but because it is a Panda update it got some press. It took several months to fully roll out, but it reminded us that Panda is alive and well!
August 10: The new company Alphabet is announced
Alphabet will be a collection of companies, the largest of which being Google. This means that Google is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alphabet. The idea here is that the executives will be able to better manage all of their companies on a more manageable scale.
August 31: Scroll Tracking for Enhanced Ecommerce Impressions Launched
This means that your data, namely product impressions, will now take into account whether or not someone scrolled down on a page and saw your products below the fold.
September 14: Bing Ads New Keyword Planner Tool Announced
Very similarly to the Google Keyword Planner, this will help users find more relevant keywords that drive traffic in order to improve your campaign performance. You can find it in the Tools section of the Web UI.
September 28: Google+ Results and Reviews No Longer Available in Google SERPs
This was the first glimpse we got into the changes Google started making with Google+. It is now less of a factor when it comes to SEO for this reason.
October 15: Bing Launches Remarketing for Shopping Campaigns
This means that you can now serve ads on not only Bing search but also on Yahoo search to anyone who visits your website. To get started you have to have a Universal Event Tracking tag setup on your website, then visit the Audience section of your Bing Ads account to create a remarketing list. Learn more here.
October 26: Google RankBrain
According to Moz, this announcement let us know that machine learning was part of the Google algorithm for several months, “contributing to the 3rd most influential ranking factor.” As you can see this was a big deal, and Google kept it hidden!
November 19: Bing Announces New Mobile Friendliness Testing Tool
This tool works very similarly to Google in terms of how it crawls and evaluates your website. It will then tell you how your page performs against different factors about mobile friendliness. Visit think link to give it a try.