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Google’s Huge 2012 & What’s Next in 2013

by on December 12, 2012


We’ve still got a few weeks until the year wraps up, but this week we thought we’d channel our inner-Nostradamus and predict what changes & updates Google will make in 2013.

But before we can look ahead, we thought we’d take a look back at Google’s greatest hits of 2012 and recap anything important you might have missed in SEO from the last year.

2012 SEO in Review

Search Plus Your World – January 10th

  • Search+ Your World brought your Google+ circles to search results by displaying content from your Google+ for relevant search terms. SPYW bombed for Google and sparked large amounts of backlash from Google users.

SPYW

Page Layout Algorithm Changes – January 19th

  • Noticed there’s less websites with ads plastered everywhere above the fold this year? This is why. A great example of how Google can alter the web entirely for the better with minor tweaks, this page layout algorithm change penalised sites that had too many ads running above the fold on their site.

Penguin – April 24th

  • After weeks of sending out warning notices to webmasters who had ‘unnatural’ link profiles, Google unleashed their biggest update of the year in Penguin. Targeting webspam, Penguin took aim specifically at keyword stuffing, link schemes and paid links, destroying rankings for spammers the world over.

Knowledge Graph – May 16th

  • Seeking to understand the links between searches and to provide answers to common searches, Google rolled out the Knowledge Graph, a SERP-integrated display panel that gives the searcher information about the topic when relevant.

DMCA Penalty – August 10th

  • Google began penalising sites that had been served with multiple copyright violations due to a huge spike in DMCA requests to the search giant in the month before the change was made. Sites hit hardest were those that dealt with pirated material and sites with stolen content but ironically, the changes served to only increase DMCA requests from 3 million a month before the changes to 11 million a month.

DMCA Google Requests

EMD Update – September 27

  • In the good old days of SEO, if you had a domain that matched your keyword it was relatively easy to rank for the same search term. But with Google’s EMD update, the over-effectiveness of exact-match domains has essentially been neutered, causing many sites that relied too heavily on their EMD to plummet down the rankings. Lesson here: good content beats a good domain.

Penguin 2.0 – October 5th

  • After being promised a ‘jarring and jolting’ Penguin 2.0 update, in typical fashion Google overpromised and underdelivered with a Penguin update that only affected 0.3% of queries. Maybe that jarring and jolting update is still on the horizon?

2013 SEO Predictions

Which brings us to everyone’s favorite topic this time of year: predictions for 2013. Going on what we’ve seen from Google’s changes in the past year and their aggressive measures against webspam we’re getting ready for a roller coaster 2013 in SEO!

Here’s our picks for what’s going to happen next year:

  • Google’s will turn its attention again to backlinks in the war on spam and launch a significant update in the vein of Google Penguin sometime in 2013. Look for press release backlinking and spammy guest-blogging to get hit hardest in this update.
  • We’re predicting 2013 to be the year Google reassesses the value of links. We’ve seen the beginning of this with authorship and publisher quality and expect these, along with social signals, to take some load off links.
  • Google will begin to use the mobile-friendliness of a site as a ranking signal as more of the world switches to mobile. If your site doesn’t redirect to a mobile site on mobile devices or have a responsive design that reformats for mobile devices your mobile rankings (and possibly even your desktop rankings) will suffer.

What do you think 2013 holds for SEO? Leave us a comment below!

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