Another year is in the books, and what a year it’s been! It has been a roller coaster ride for the industry with search algorithm updates, content marketing kicking link building to the curb, and Matt Cutts taking a leave of absence but not before taking down multiple link rings. Here at SEOhaus, our company has grown significantly as we have added more talent to the team and evolved into BrightHaus. As internet marketers gear up for 2015 and eagerly await the newest trends and predictions for the New Year, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the most shared industry articles of 2014. Search Engine Land It’s Over: The Rise & Fall Of Google Authorship For Search Results With over 15,000 shares on social networks, this was by far Search Engine Land’s hottest article in 2014. A long-time lovechild of many SEOs and bloggers, the Authorship death sentence sent many marketers into mourning. In late summer, it was finally time to let go. Thank you, Search Engine Land, for being the friend willing to tell us it was over, and Authorship was not going to come back. Google Releases Penguin 3.0 — First Penguin Update In Over A Year Oh, Penguin. The ice-cold algorithm filter isn’t nearly as welcome as Happy Feet. The bane of many webmasters, Penguin 3.0 was received with mixed feelings. This article was shared over 10,200 times as news of a new Penguin in town spread. Many webmasters eagerly awaited improvements as a result of link removal efforts, while others hoped they would escape the wrath of our flightless friend. Google Begins Rolling Out Panda 4.0 Now Knowing how the industry reacts to algorithm changes, it’s no surprise to see the Panda announcement from May come in third place with nearly 9,200 shares. This was certainly one of the most talked about headlines of the year as it has been over year since the previous Panda update. Similar to Penguin, changes with Panda are always polarizing. Moz 10 Smart Tips to Leverage Google+ for Increased Web Traffic Cyrus Shepard takes home the top prize in 2014 with his Google+ tips garnering over 7,200 social shares. Posted in April, many of his tips are still relevant and helpful today. The core Google+ has not changed in recent months, and this is still a great article to reference when building your presence on the social network. Your Google Algorithm Cheat Sheet: Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird Search Engine Land gives us the breaking news on changes in search, and Moz contributors promptly fill us in on how to navigate those changes. Although there have been some algorithm changes in recent months, this is still a great resource to refer to and keep in your back pocket. Marie did a great job of bringing problems into light and offering solutions. The Most Entertaining Guide to Landing Page Optimization You’ll Ever Read We all love a good read, so why not have a chuckle while improving your craft? As far as measuring success goes, keyword rankings are a thing of the past. Even improved traffic metrics can make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, but just about every campaign comes down to one thing – conversions. This is a great post, and if you haven’t made your way from top to bottom without skimming, I recommend giving it a go. SEOhaus The Importance Of Social Media In Marketing Not to be pigeon-holed as an SEO company, we began offering social media packages this year. Two of our Specialists – Dylan Taylor and Taylor Mak – fittingly burst onto the blog scene this month and received the most social shares. They’re the social pros, of course, so I remain suspect of them garnering so many shares. Regardless, it’s a great discussion of why social media is so crucial to your campaign’s success. Weekly roundup: Top 5 SEO trends and more I always love a good roundup, whether weekly or annual. Andy highlights some of the top articles of the week, all of which are still very solid resources several months later. Don’t have the time to stay on top of the top headlines every day? Just check in with us when you can to get your recap. Tracking Time: Eye-Opening Insights Into Productivity The third most shared blog post for us this year comes compliments of Richie. As our company continues to grow, we recognize that our team members and their strategies need to be at the forefront of the industry. To better hone our craft, we ran a little experiment here in the haus to identify pain points, time bottlenecks, and ultimately how to up our game. This is a really insightful piece about how we operate. So there we have it: 2014 in a social nutshell. The top three articles from Search Engine Land all focused on changes made by Google, so it’s interesting to see the difference between a news source like SEL and industry favorite Moz, which has more editorial, evergreen content. Our own blog showed similar trends to Moz with a post about social media taking the top spot for both. If you are a webmaster, which of your posts garnered the most social attention or page views, and what were some of your favorite articles of 2014?
It’s that time of week again! Start Monday off right with our Weekly Roundup of the top SEO and internet marketing stories from the past several days. Let’s get this started: 19 Obvious A/B Test You Should Run On Your Website – KISSmetrics KISSmetrics is one of my absolute favorite blogs. More than many sites, they are extremely focused on creating conversions. Getting traffic to your site is only half the battle; creating conversions is what really counts. KISSmetrics repeatedly puts out fantastic content, and this blog is a great piece for all sites to consider, whether struggling to convert or performing well already. Google Censorship Ruling In Canada Has Worldwide Implications – Search Engine Watch It’s not the first time something along these lines has happened, but Canadian company Equustek Solutions claimed a rival stole trade secrets and is now ranking well in search results. Consequently, they asked that Google “remove all search results that link to the rival’s more than 300 websites”, and a judge ruled in favor of Equustek. Google offered to do so for Google.ca, but the judge has mandated that results are removed universally. It will be interesting to keep an eye on this and how it plays with the “right to be forgotten.” Algorithm Updates and Penalties Our own Elisa wrote up a great review of Panda 4.0 and how you can navigate the newest update smoothly. Marie Haynes did an excellent review of Penguin as well. With recent updates to Panda and Payday Loan, might we see something for Penguin in the near future? Either way, Marie lays out some reasons why your site is still struggling despite a penalty being lifted. Speaking of penalties, Google is now going to be giving more information if your reconsideration request is rejected. This has been a major source of frustration for many webmasters hit with manual actions, and Barry Schwartz posted some images of what your rejection notice could look like. This last week saw some interesting developments for the SEO community. What were some of your favorite articles, and what might we expect to see come up in the next few days?
2013 was a turbulent year in the world of search to put it mildly. According to Moz’s tally there have been 13 officially acknowledged updates to Google’s algorithms alone and who knows how many more that have happened behind Google’s increasingly closed doors. There was widespread speculation of 2 other unnamed updates in late-July and mid-November after sudden spikes in search result fluctuation but if anyone knows what caused it they’re not telling. Panda and Penguin were joined by Hummingbird while Google announced back in March that they would no longer be officially announcing updates to Panda but would be pushing them out gradually going forward while Penguin got a major upgrade to Penguin 2.0. 2013 was a big win for Bing with its share of US search engine traffic growing to almost 18% at the last tally while Google remained riding high with a steady 67% with most of Bing’s gains coming at the expense of Yahoo, Ask and other smaller search engines. Bing scored another big win outside of direct internet searches when Facebook made the decision to bring Bing on-board for social search integration in the largest social media in the world. Like Uyen and Elisa both said last week, Google may still be the king but Microsoft seems up for a fight and they should figure in everyone’s SEO plans. Whatever happens, we’ll be keeping a beady eye on these two titans in 2014. Outside of algorithm updates Google made several notable changes to their online toolkits that dramatically effected the online search landscape. Perhaps the most notable of these was when they disabled the much beloved keyword tool and replaced it with the Adwords Keyword Planner, possibly in an attempt to stop the confusion that the data discrepancies between the two caused. There has been widespread speculation in the SEO industry that this was an attempt to try and drive sign ups to adwords itself. Regardless of the real reasons this happened at around about the same time as webmasters all around the world started to see an increasing percentage of organic keyword search data in Google Analytics being sequestered behind the screen of (not provided). At the start of the year it was not uncommon for (not provided) to account for only 10% – 20% of total organic data, a volume that was steadily on the rise all year until late August and early September when it rose to its current norm of over 80%. This has happened as Google pushes more and more searchers through their automatically SSL encrypted search page which strips away much of the data that came along for the ride when searchers clicked through to a website. This has been great for privacy and user security but not so great for webmasters who used this data to refine their online campaigns. Though there are alternatives in Bing’s analytics and Google Webmaster Tools data neither quiet match the data provisions that we saw in early 2013 from Google Analytics. There does not seem yet to be any easy way to get this data back and though the rate seems to have remained stable for the last few weeks webmasters the world over are watching with baited breath in case Google closes this door like they did the Keyword Tool. As for the future, if Google knows what’s next for the ubiquitous (not provided) they’re not telling. All of this has added up to a challenging year for SEO particularly alongside Google and Microsoft’s well publicized take-downs of several major spam and link networks. The end goal for everyone is a cleaner, higher quality, more honest web but that’s small comfort for webmasters caught in the cross-fire. In the end, while specific SEO tactics fall in and out of favor the best SEO advice remains what it has always been. Have a website with good quality content that offers a user experience worthy of page 1 and you’ll stand a much better chance of actually being there.