An Exciting Ride
As the year comes to a close I’m reflecting back to all of 2014’s SEO changes and what it may mean for the new year. Marketing on the Web is still relatively young — about twenty years old — and it’s evolving fast. What better way to predict 2015 than to ponder what we experienced this year. Here are the most notable 2014 SEO changes we saw.
Adios to Authorship
Due to abuses of Authorship mark-up, we said good-bye to the authorship functionality and it’s appearance in search. In three short years, we saw it’s rise and eventual demise in August 2014. While content is predicted to continue its reign, author rank (a term coined by Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman in his book The New Digital Age) is on our watch list for 2015.
The Mighty Flightless Bird
Amongst great anticipation Penguin 3.0 was unleashed in October. Penguin 2.1 hit the Web in 2013; this algo change targeted websites with unnatural link profiles (read: Webmasters trying to get Google juice by breaking the rules). 3.0 is a welcome change as it’s now part of the “normal” Google algorithm. This means that if you had link trouble in the past and cleaned up your act, your rankings could recover more quickly. Unlike 1.0 and 2.0, your website had to wait for the follow-up release. Hopefully this provides incentive to Webmaster to monitor their link profiles and adhere to quality guidelines more closely in 2015.
Pirates, PayDay Lenders & Other Unsavory Characters
Pirate 2.0 and PayDay Loan 2.0 / 3.0 are examples where Google is targeting spammy queries. I predict that certain industries (e.g., adult sites, payday lenders) will continue to be on Google’s hit list in 2015. On a positive note, the Web is just a little bit a nicer.
More Monumental 2014 SEO Changes
Other 2014 SEO changes included Pigeon (affecting local SEO) and Panda 4.0 (rewarding sites with relevant, current and original content). More in-depth content is being rewarded (revised “In the News” box) as well as localized information. We anticipate more changes that help smaller organizations with a local presence reap more online visibility. Fingers crossed for the little guy.
Lastly, Matt Cutts hinted that Google might give preferential treatment to secure websites (HTTPS/SSL). The jury is still out for 2015. Before making this change, consider the SEO equity ramifications of migrating your site. More on this on a future post.
Is there a major 2014 SEO change that I missed? What are your predictions for 2015?
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