December 30

2014: A Year in SEO Headlines

It’s a theory that applies to almost anything: The best way to tell where you’re headed in the future is to understand where you’ve been in the past. This is true for a lot of areas, whether it’s world history as a whole, the tech industry, or yes, even the ever-changing topic of search engine optimization.

With the end of 2014 upon us, it’s time to look back on a year that’s brought a lot of changes to the way the Internet operates. Below we highlight just some of the most significant SEO news from this past year:

January – March

  • Google kicks off the year by retiring its old mobile web crawler known as “Googlebot-Mobile,” rather replacing it with something more simply known as “Googlebot.” The change gives webmasters who “inadvertently” switched off mobile crawling a way to make sure their sites are read and indexed by the tech giant.
  • Google gets more privacy conscious in the post-PRISM world by encrypting all activity occurring through its search engine – something that surely pleases privacy-rights advocates.
  • More changes are made to search engine results pages when Google removes underlines on hyperlinks, makes title tag font sizes a bit larger, and alters how ads are displayed.

April – June

  • Vic Gundotra, the head of Google+, steps down and Google refocuses Google+ as a platform instead of a product.
  • Panda 4.0 is released – further negatively affecting websites that feature low quality content. Sites including eBay and Ask.com take major hits.
  • June marks the beginning of the end for Google Authorship when the tech giant removes author photos from the feature.

July – September

  • Dubbed as “Pigeon,” the latest algorithm change from Google affects local rankings and adds a new dimension that refocuses them on ranking signals that are more conventional in nature.
  • Google announces an industry surprise: Sites that feature the security-conscious web address protocol known as “https” may be awarded with high rankings through search results.

October – December

  • Google launches its latest version of Penguin, the algorithm update targeting sites that violate the company’s webmaster guidelines. Sites hit by the previous Penguin update, meanwhile, now have the chance to become un-penalized (if they complied, that is).
  • Google unveils a new mobile-friendly search tag. Additionally the company launches a pretty neat tool where you can test whether or not your site fits Google’s mobile-friendly specifications.