Google algorithm updates ensure that you get the best search experience with Google. 2016 also saw a good share of updates being rolled out, many of which had considerable impact on rankings.
The first update which rolled out in January saw major fluctuations in rankings. The update was not confirmed by Google. But the search engine did deny speculations that the update was part of Panda integration or Penguin.
The AdWords placement update saw the removal of the classic right column ads. The top block was increased to 4 ads. But, the limited ad space available makes bidding for AdWords even more competitive. This has also proved to be tough on small businesses, who find it even harder to buy ads.
The Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) project is a Google-backed open-source initiative, which makes it easier for publishers to create light and mobile–friendly pages. AMP listings update places AMP pages in special places or denotes them with the special AMP symbol, thus making it easier for mobile users to spot them.
The next update rolled out on May 12th, increased the effectiveness of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. With all websites being optimized already, another Mobilegeddon did not happen by a long shot.
The Possum update came next, which diversified local search results. The update widened city limits, removed duplicate listings and enabled results to be triggered according to the searcher’s location. The update made it possible for several businesses on the fringes of the city to be pulled into local searches.
The universal results shakeup removed image results from 50% of searches, thereby opening up a new organic position on the first page. The update resulted in substantial shifts in rankings.
Penguin 4 update was rolled out on September 23rd and is also the last of the Penguin updates. Penguin is now part of the core algorithm and runs in real time. Spammy pages are devalued, and entire websites are not penalized. Also, the algorithm is now applied on a page-by-page basis.
Check out the Infographic below to get an interesting snapshot of 2016 SEO updates.