Google update rollouts often take webmasters by surprise. Google never offers explanation on how the algorithm changes work, but webmasters do make sense of the updates and their effect on rankings.
2016 saw much action as far as updates were concerned, as compared to 2015. The year opened with an unconfirmed update, which saw volatility in SERPs. There was speculation that the update was linked to Penguin or Panda integration, but Google denied this outright.
The AdWords Placement update made advertising space on Google even more precious. With the right column ads gone, bidding for AdWords for the top block has become very competitive. The top block now accommodates 4 ads, which pushed down organic results even further. SEOs haven’t found this amusing, but Google is focusing on delivering better value to advertisers.
Accelerated Mobile Page Listing (AMP) update keeps up with Google’s commitment to improving mobile experience of users. The update places the AMP pages in special places or with the special AMP designation. AMP is a Google-backed open source project that helps publishers create stripped-down versions of web pages that load faster.
An unconfirmed update was rolled out in May which showed major fluctuations on all ranking tools. The mobile-friendly update was rolled out on May 12th that increased the effectiveness of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. Since almost all websites are already mobile-optimized, this did not create much fluctuation in SERPs.
Possum update ensured the diversification of local search or Google Maps results. The update widened physical city limits, as a result of which more businesses featured in search results and improved their rankings. Duplicate listings with similar addresses or other details were filtered out and the searcher’s location influenced results to a greater extent.
Universal results shakeup update removed image results from about 50% searches and pushed image results to the second page in many cases. The update opened up a new organic position on the first page of search results.
Penguin 4 update and unconfirmed updates rounded off a very exciting year, which saw several important changes in Google algorithm.
Google’s Biggest Search Algorithm Updates Of 2016 – a visual representation by E2M