With the SEO world spinning at a rate like never before, it’s more important than ever to keep on top of search engine changes and updates. To help you out, we’ve grouped some latest SEO news that will certainly have an impact on the way that every digital marketer works in the first quarter of 2016.
More Focus on Site Quality than Ever Before
Panda, launched in 2011 is one of Google’s most important algorithms that concentrates on fighting spam and has now become one of Google’s core ranking signals. Panda allows Google to take quality into account when deciding on a ranking and since early January 2016 Panda has been integrated much deeper into Google’s overall algorithm.
What does this mean for your business?
It means that valuable, quality content is more important than ever before as rankings are now mainly focusing on the ability of a web page to answer users’ needs. Context (relevancy) and content now both play a bigger part than ever before. How much educational content have you got on your site? If you’re not solving or fulfilling the needs of your visitors expect Google to decrease your ranking. However, with content on your site that is new, helpful, updated and been created with adequate time, expertise and talent then Google will consider it high quality.
A Google spokesperson confirmed that this is true. “Panda is an algorithm that’s applied to sites overall and has become one of our core ranking signals. It measures the quality of a site, which you can read more about in our guidelines. Panda allows Google to take quality into account and adjust ranking accordingly.”
Real Time Updates
Penguin, launched in 2012, is a Google algorithm that decreases search engine rankings of websites that violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by artificially manipulating the number of links pointing to the page. The 4.0 of this algorithm is nearing, and although Google hasn’t announced an official release date, webmasters and SEO specialists are speculating March 2016.
The important change within this update is that the algorithm will now continuously update without webmasters having to wait for a refresh. This means that organisations will have no prior warning to updates and changes that may affect their rankings. This is in stark comparison to Google’s ‘mobilegeddon’, which gave websites a chance to improve the mobile friendliness of their website before the algorithm update took place.
Mobile Will Overtake Desktop in 2016
As we’re on the topic of mobile, we’re sure it isn’t a surprise to note that mobile users worldwide will overtake desktop and laptop users during this year. With most local searches taking place on a mobile device, it’s a real opportunity for small local businesses to make the most of visitors searching locally rather than globally.
As a result of the increasing use of mobile devices worldwide, Google will continue its efforts to place mobile-friendly websites at the top of its priorities. Google has therefore created an open-source tool called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) that allows developers and webmasters to build their website using AMP HTML, a lighter HTML version that allows websites to load from 15% to 85% faster on mobile devices.
On 23th February, Google started to display AMP pages in the mobile search result. These AMP optimised websites have – like mobile friendly sites – a small icon underneath their page title that will, without doubt, improve their click through rate and rankings.
DuckDuckGo will be the Fastest-Growing Search Engine of 2016
DuckDuckGo is not new but has never been as popular as it is currently. Launched in 2008 by Gabriel Weinberg, the search engine made a lot of noise recently as its user-base grew 600% in just two years.
This remarkable growth is due to mainly two things. The first is related to data protection: people don’t want to be tracked by search engines and have their queries, personal information and historic search activity stored indefinitely. Gabriel Weinberg emphasised that DuckDuckGo doesn’t track any kind of data from individual’s sessions. Unlike Google, Bing or Yahoo, ads are only displayed in the search results and only depend on the keywords the user has typed into the search engine.
The second reason that would explain its lighting rise in popularity is Apple. Apple indeed gave the choice to iOS 8 and Safari 7.1 users to use DuckDuckGo as an alternative to the default search engine.
That’s all for today, look out for our SEO updates in the next few weeks. There is no doubt that 2016 will be an exciting year for SEO that will bring its share of surprises, so make sure to stay tuned – you can subscribe to our blog here.