Just when you think you have all the answers, I change the questions.

Okay, so I pinched that quote from Rowdy Roddy Piper, but it’s just as relevant to Google. The company love keeping us on our toes, and often I’m left to wonder what we’d actually be doing day-to-day in the wonderful world of digital marketing if we weren’t slaves to the search engine’s whims. With this in mind, we constantly need to be on our toes with Google updates – and not just the big changes to their core algorithms but the subtle, little tweaks they make too.

In the interest of fair competition and keeping you up to date too, we’ve rounded up the Google updates that have been made so far in 2016:

January’s Core Algorithm Update

At the time many of us hoped/feared it was an update to the Penguin algorithm, but this was all unfounded. Instead, the update was a collection of minor tweaks and changes to the core algorithm and the results were pretty great for us, revealing a major upswing in organic rankings for a lot of our client sites that we track in our self-developed ranking tool:

ranking increases google core algorithm update

Off the back of this, it became apparent that Google was further nailing down how it defines quality content as many of the sites above had taken our advice to refresh their site content prior to the update. This became more obvious when The Drum reported that Tier 1 websites such as GQ, The New Yorker, and The Economist had all lost rankings due to the update, stemming from their reliance on older content pieces.

February’s Disappearing Paid Search Ads

Strange things were afoot at Google HQ during the romantic month of February. This saw the company put into effect changes they had been testing since 2010, namely the removal of paid search ads from the right side of the page. This step was taken in order to align the layout of Google’s desktop results page with their mobile results, meaning paid search ads are now only shown on the top and bottom of organic listings.

google serp without right hand side bar--

Soon after this came the news that Google was also dropping its Google Compare service due to the service never living up to expectations. While people routinely turn to Google when searching for the best deals, this comparison service bombed when compared to others in the price comparison market.

Mobilegeddon II – Coming To A Screen Near You In May 2016

We’ve been banging on about this for ages and ages, to the point that we’re almost bored of talking about it. Cast your mind back a year  to April 2015 – Google made a drastic change to their algorithm so that it now favoured mobile-friendly websites in their search results, simply due to the fact that more and more searches are now being performed on smartphones. Of the back of this, naturally, websites that weren’t mobile-friendly soon found they were being drastically demoted in search results. Did you ignore this or think it wouldn’t affect your business? Well brace yourself because if your website still isn’t mobile responsive then you’re about to get hammered yet again.

As always pre-update, we’re slaves to speculation. However we can hazard a guess that the update will further look at aspects such as site response times, page structure, page titles and page descriptions. This update is expected any day now and if you’re ahead of the curve it’s likely to not affect your site at all.

As for what the other seven months left in 2016 hold? Stay tuned 😉

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