SEO Highlights of 2016 – Let’s Summarize Everything

Only a few days are left before doing warm welcome to the New Year. Before going in this celebration, we intend to recall all major highlights of SEO industry in 2016. Even newbie have the chance to learn recent updates at single place. Overall 2016 gave us lots of real SEO pros over the past few years as clear search strategy gave massive positive output for many online businesses. Let’s wrap 2016 and try to gather all highlights at one place –

Artificial Intelligence

Google itself agrees that RankBrain is an essential factor in a ranking algorithm in addition to content and links. It works on the concept of seeing a word, never seen before or is unfamiliar with, and making a guess as to what phrase or word might have a meaning like it. The results will be filtered per what it interprets. This makes the search queries that are never seen before, even more effective.

Google RankBrain is the primary algorithm that we like to include in our list as this update has changed the way of Google Search. RankBrain is artificial intelligence system or a computer program that’s used to sort through the billions of pages and helps to display more relevant results. Let’s Understand how RankBraink impact on search result in Google with a small image –


Accelerated Mobile Pages

We must agree that mobile is very common gadget among us where we spend our many hours on browsing the web, shopping, chat, play games etc. We also prefer to websites who load faster on our mobile and give us faster experience and this is a major factor that Google launched a new open source called Accelerated Mobile Pages which aims to dramatically increase the performance of the mobile web. It will not be wrong to say that AMP upgradations will help you to meet Google expectation and giving faster experience to your customers. It is not a direct ranking factor as it’s not impacting result in the desktop result but you can’t disagree that pagespeed is always a ranking factor. AMP testing tool is already launched by Google which helps to measure the accuracy of AMP implementation.

While the focus is on AMP right now, don’t forget to use proven mobile marketing strategies. That’s how to generate mobile customers to your site and grow your business.


Mobile Friendly Signs

The trend of mobile search showed no signs of slowing down in 2016 and not going to slow down in upcoming years. More and more Google searches were completed on mobile devices than desktop computers. There are about 100 billion searches performed on Google every month with more than half happening on mobile phones. So, if you want to improve your mobile site, then we recommend checking out the Mobile-Friendly Test and the Webmaster Mobile Guide, as both of which provide guidance on this. Keep in mind that the intent of the search query is still a strong signal, so even if a page with high-quality unique content is not mobile-friendly, then it could still rank well.


Possum Update

This is one of the biggest updates by Google to rock the local SEO rankings in a long time. Unlike most other updates, Possum affects only local search results, so if you’re trying to rank #1 for a keyword but you aren’t concerned about location, it probably won’t affect you one bit. However, you need to know what happened with the Possum update if you’re trying to push a mom and pop shop to the top of the local 3-pack for a p specific region. So, local results have shifted and changes as removing a local result because of quality issues will result in various local results showing up.


The aim of the update was to diversify the local results and also prevent spam from ranking. This is another quality update from Google came to filter spam listing in the local search result.


On September 23, 2016, Google announced a major Penguin update “Penguin 4.0 & real-time”.  This is the last release of this type, because “Penguin is a real-time signal processed within its core search algorithm” says Google. The initial impact assessments were not big, but later it revealed that the Penguin 4.0 rollout was long as well as multi-phase. Penguin 4.0 now runs in real time. Websites impacted by Penguin will no longer have to wait for the following updates in order to see the results of their improvement efforts. Now, changes will be evident substantially more rapidly, usually not long after a page is recrawled and reindexed.


Penguin is now more granular and devalues spam simply by adjusting ranking based on spam signals instead of affecting the ranking of the whole website. But, it’s also vital to remember that updates like Penguin are just one of over 200 signals we use to get rank.

AdWords Shake-up

Simply winners of Google changes as Google has the most to win from AdWords update. Google made key changes to AdWords, such as removing right-column ads completely and rolling out 4-ad top blocks on plenty of commercial searches. This update had significant implications for Clickthrough rate (CTR) for paid and organic performances, particularly on competitive keywords, because this was a paid search update. Overall, we have seen a reduction in traffic to websites who hold key positions in the top 5. We have also seen some gripping results for keywords that were lagging between positions 8 and 10 on the first page.


There were lots of updates were held in SEO 2016 and expect these things will lead in the coming year as well. For example- We will see RankBrain get smarter as well as have more authority in search, so you need to think smarter about your content and links. Webmasters impacted by Penguin will no longer have to wait for the next updates to see the results of their improvement efforts as Penguin 4.0 now runs in real time. The legitimacy of the industry will continue to grow, and SEO will be an effective and powerful marketing approach for the industry. We believe that Big Data will play an important role in improving and powering the industry.