Stay Aware: The Top 6 SEO Trends from the Past 6 Months / Business Intelligence / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

An overview of the most important SEO industry news articles from January to July.

SEO moves fast. So have the past six months. It’s already the end of July and we’re heading into the second part of the year.

This article will give you an overview of the most important SEO industry news articles from January to July within these three primary categories:

  • Official Google Announcements
  • Evolving SERP Landscape
  • Continuous Algorithm Changes

Official Google Announcements

It’s important to take note of any official announcements as made by Google on their blog or by spokespeople of the search giant which include engineers and/or designated employees that answer questions around the algorithms and what’s changing in search as a whole. Statements made by others are educated assumptions at best. Google has released more statements this year than in years past regarding what they consider to be good quality factors for websites. These are the top two to take note of:

  1. Now We Know: Here Are Google’s Top 3 Search Ranking Factors
  2. Updated Google Quality Raters Guidelines; No More Supplementary Content, Emphasis On E-A-T

Related Article:The Current State of Link Building in SEO & What To Expect in 2016

What are the implications here? Search, in a way, is becoming more transparent. Google is getting better at understanding the content within sites as well as user intent. RankBrain is of growing importance in the evolution of search and we now know it to be among the top three factors associated with almost all search queries. A topic which has been hotly debated since the inception of search.

Evolving SERP Landscape

In February, the desktop search engine results pages became very streamlined. Wordstream performed a study that focused on the changes caused by the removal of right rail paid ads. It’s going to take time to really see the effects of this more streamlined SERP since the removal can make space for additional types of paid or organic content delivery. The study is below: 

  1. Google’s Right-side Adpocalypse: What Really Happened (DATA)
  2. AMP Has Reached 125 Million Documents And Is Expanding To Recipes And App Pages

What’s in store for AMP’s? eBay is set to become the first major non-news site to take advantage of AMPs serving more than eight million pages for AMP. The pages will be category based and only show products, no content. Depending upon how well these pages perform, we could see AMP’s being adopted for more types of sites and information. 

Related Article:The Clooney Rule of SEO: 5 Minutes that Could Save You Thousands in SEO

Continuous Algorithm Changes

Rich cards are a new search result building upon the success of rich snippets. They’re presented on mobile results as a carousel where users can browse from left to right. Carousels can contain cards all from the same site or multiple sites. Unlike other forms of rich answers, Rich Cards can use structured markup to display content in this more engaging and visual format. The first two categories Google is starting to show cards for are recipes and movies.

  1. Google Introduces New Mobile “Rich Cards
  2. There Is No RankBrain Score & You Don’t Optimize For It

RankBrain was launched earlier this year and was labeled by Google as the third most important ranking factor, behind content and links. RankBrain aims to discover search intent, so it acts as more of an indicator to user intent than a ranking factor of search results. It seems to be referencing a combination of ranking signals as an indicator of intent, considering it is dynamic and is based on each individual query. 

This should get you caught up on the most important SEO news topics for 2016. What’s on the horizon you might wonder? Voice search.

  1. I/O: Building the next evolution of Google

Related Article: Basic Technical SEO Every Business Owner Should Know

Although it is not yet released, the Google assistant will not serve as a standalone product, it will be integrated into Allo (Google's upcoming messaging app), as well as Google Home. This should definitely have an impact on both transactional and informational search queries based on the adoption rate of this in-home assistant.

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