Today we are very much familiar to Google and its updates. Every year Google changes its algorithm even 500 – 600 times and provide us new updates with lots of new features that can affect websites on its Google ranking and also in some other cases. However, Google occasionally rolls out some major algorithm update which will hugely affect Search results in significant ways.
Thus, it is essential for the search marketers to know about the dates, time and details of the Google updates which can help them to understand about the changes in ranking and organic website traffic so that they can ultimately improve their website SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Here, we have listed some of the major algorithm changes/updates of Google in the last year 2017 which have biggest impact on search results.
- Mobile Intrusive Interstitials Penalty – January 10, 2017: Google started rolling out to penalize intrusive interstitials and pop-ups that happen directly after going from Google mobile Search results to a specific page and damage the mobile user experience. However, it does not penalize the pages after that, so if your website has an intrusive interstitials that comes up later in the click path of the website rather than directly clicking web pages of Google Search results, then this would not impact. However, there are three main types of website pages that would not affected by this signal even after clicking directly from the Google search results are:Legal Obligations: Like any cookie usage or for any age verification to enter into the site
Banners which are using reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible like Chrome.
Login dialogs onsite which will not publically index-able.
- Unnamed Update – February 1, 2017: Around February 1 to February 6, there was a period where a heavy unknown algorithm fluctuated. Still today it is unclear whether it was single algorithm update or multiple algorithm updates with an extended roll-out. Google has hit to those who undergo more aggressive link buildings and on that point of view, we can say that it was may be tweak of Penguin update or may be totally new algorithm. This update is mainly giving discredits to spammy links.
- Fred Unconfirmed Update – March 8, 2017: The whole SEO community and webmaster along with the automated Google tracking tools was watching an unconfirmed Google ranking update which seems more like targeting the link quality aspects of the overall algorithm. The name basically came from Google’s Gray Illyes who was jokingly named that all updates be named as Fred. However, the update was unconfirmed by Google, however, many automated tracking tools already showed significant ranking fluctuations that indicates a Google update.
- Google Tops 50% HTTPS Update – April 16, 2017: As per the MOZ cast report of 10K tracking set, half of the first page of Google organic results were secure HTTPs as of mid-April of the year 21017. According to them this can be increased to 75% by the end of the year 2017, however, we did not yet get any report for this. This is not any major algorithm update but the steady adoption of HTTPS for which more and more Google Search results are secure. Mainly most of the top 20 sites have been switched to HTTPS for Google ranking including Amazon, Facebook, Wikipedia, Youtube, Yelp, Walmart, Pinterest, Tripadvisor etc.
- Unnamed Update for Keywords Ranking – May 17, 2017: SER Metrics, Mozcast, Algoroo and so many other tools show a significant signs of a large Google algorithm update. They already tracked a massive, multi-day spike that kicked off around May 17th. Technically they are tracking the changes in the positioning of rankings for the top X thousands of keywords.
- Google Jobs – June 20, 2017: Google announced of launching new jobs search feature on Google Jobs listing search tool on its search result pages to help both job seekers and employers through collaboration with the job matching industry including a stand-alone-3 pack of job listings in search results. These results drew data from almost all the major providers, including Monster, LinkedIn, CareerBuilder and Glassdoor.Again Google added new features and updated the function in the month of November 15, 2017 with the salary information, location and application choices to be displayed in the search directly along with the job posting.
- Unnamed Update – September 27, 2017: Google again update their search results that has been tracked by the Algorithm trackers of MozCast and webmaster chatter spotted increasing flux starting around September 25th that seemed to spike on the 27th after a period of relative calm. However, there is no official update by Google.
- Chrome HTTPS Warnings – October 17, 2017: With the launch of new Chrome 62, Google already started warning visitors to sites with unsecured forms as Chrome is showing notifications as “Not Secure” of all HTTP Pages if they have credit or password field. Google already sending email notifications via Google Search Console to site owners about forms on web pages over HTTP as these pages are marked as Not Secure in Chrome 62. It is not an algorithm update but important step of Google to push towards HTTPs and might have a great impact on the traffic of the site.
- Featured Snippet Drop – October 27, 2017: Over the period of few days from 27th October to 31st October, 2017, there were huge drop in Featured Snippets and co-occurred with a jumped increase of Knowledge based Panels for all types of queries as Google seems to have giving priority to broad terms and objects for “travel”, “web Design” etc. However, some of those panels disappeared around December 15.
- Unnamed Update – 14 December, 2017: Again Algorithm trackers and webmaster chatter detected about ranking changes in Google. The Google search ranking algorithm update was pushed out over the past 36 hours. However, Google again did not confirm about anything as major Penguin and Panda update did not happen but it is more than the daily Google updates happened throughout the day.
- Snippet Length Increase – November 30, 2017: After testing for the last 2 years about longer search snippets, Google increased them across a large number of results. Thus, the Meta description limit has also been increased up to 300 characters from the previous 155 characters.
- Google Business Listing Updates: Throughout the year 2017, Google has constantly launching updates to their products and business listings for which some are being noticed and some are not. For local SEO, lots of changes have happened that would impact the business listings of the website. Google has removed the “permanently closed” listings from the search ranking in Local Finder. They are mainly showing at the end of the list and if you edited any ranking listing to permanently closed, it would them instantly went down to the back of the list. Google also removes the ability to access classic version of Google Plus which previously has the options of adding Name, Address and Phone number in the data info but in the new version, none of this info is present which ultimately matter for local SEOs. Many of us use Google plus search to find out supplicate listings of clients but this function will not work from now as the new version of Google Plus did not have any address, phone number or review options.Also, Google has started showing Local pack Ads on Mobile phones. Google started showing up the ads everywhere in the mobile in local listings.