Ever since search engine technology was implemented, SEO has been of vast importance to marketers across many industries. However, this group of strategies has also been misunderstood since that time. For some people, SEO has helped their businesses, but for others the misunderstandings have create frustration, pain, a failure. The difference is due to how a concise and strategic plan for SEO is what separates those who are successful and those who aren’t.

As the end of 2016 draws nigh, it’s time to look at what was learned about SEO in 2016.


Industry Growth Factors

Just a few years ago, we all saw the multitude of “SEO is Dead” posts from various sources, yet here we are and SEO is still alive and kicking better than ever. Search engine strategies are definitely helping businesses from small to large take control of their successes. Thanks to the extensive work and passion of SEO professionals over the past few years, the reputation of SEO has overcome the obstacles that were once claiming it was dead.

SEO has become its own power industry ever since it evolved to become an integral part of every marketing campaign you can imagine. Over the course of 2016, SEO agencies have seen growth and much success alongside the businesses they have helped.

The Growth of AI

AI, artificial intelligence, evolved over the year, becoming a prevalent part of our lives. Amazon, Google, Apple, and IBM are actively and constantly developing and using ANI (Artificial Narrow Intelligence) to automate repetitive tasks. You use this technology every time you look up product details, order histories, and other requests.

People have become accustomed to using this technology and has started to trust the results it provides. Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai says that 20 percent of all queries on Google’s mobile and Android apps encompass voice searches, which use this technology.

Google handles more than 3.5 billion searches per day, of which 16 to 20 percent are unique, meaning they have never been searched before. RankBrain is Google’s AI machine-learning system to harness the power for better results in these searches. This is just the beginning of this kind of technology that is expected to keep growing.

The Google Algorithm Dance

Google likes to surprise everyone with new, major changes in its algorithms that affect search results. Here are the most memorable of these algorithms of 2016.

  • The Mobile-friendly algorithm was implemented on May 12, 2016. This change was introduced to improve the previous year’s Mobilegeddon.
  • Penguin 4.0 was rolled out in two phases that was finally implemented in total on September 23, 2016. The first stage of the algorithm was used to devalue bad links as opposed to penalizing websites. Stage two involved the recovery period where sites were able to see recovery as long as they cleaned up their links.
  • Possum, while never confirmed by Google, had a major impact on Google maps and was rolled out in early September 2016. This was thought to be the largest updates seen in the local sector of SEO and is believed to help diversify local results and prevent spam rankings.
  • Divided index rolled out in November and is known as Google’s mobile default version for rankings over the older desktop version.

What should you expect in 2017?

  • RankBrain will likely evolve and get smarter, giving it more power over searches.
  • SEO will be seen for its powerful marketing approach and will divide the pros from the average joes.
  • Big Data will probably evolve and power the industry.