Changes in SEO – 2017 Edition

How is SEO Changing in 2017?

While search engine optimization has always been a constantly changing force, it seems that in recent months (since the beginning of 2017), things have been particularly volatile. There have been a number of updates this year alone and webmasters are becoming increasingly confounded with the lack of clarity on Googles part. In this post, we will examine the updates that have happened recently and go into exactly how they are impacting the world of online marketing.

What Updates have had the most Impact?

One of the biggest updates to shake up the SEO world this year is arguably the introduction of “Fred”. This update is part of an irritating trend from Google where they neither confirm nor deny the existence of changes to their algorithm. While the chatter, metrics from SERP watchers, and general consensus among the community all pointed towards a major change, Google vehemently denied anything had happened. This lack of clarity left many webmasters in the dark and, more worryingly, small business owners who did not know why their traffic had disappeared overnight. To find out more about the impact of these updates, we spoke with the lead marketing strategist of an SEO company based in Rochester, NY.

Google has always run updates in the background without announcing it, but the big difference between then and now is the lack of transparency when the really big ones hit. For example, many argue that Fred is the biggest update since Penguin was introduced, and back then Google let everyone know that something was happening. Now there are no answers, and it leaves people with less internet know-how even more in the dark than they already are. It also means that it is left to the people who practice SEO as their tradecraft to test, see what is working, and try to come up with what changed.

— Justin – Apache SEO digital marketing

While the updates may have left people scrambling, many contend that if you stick to the basics and focus on providing users with valuable content, Google will take care of the rest and give you more visibility online. In fact, some of the biggest names in the industry stand firm behind the mantra they preached years ago, which is: content is king in internet marketing.

The Fallout & Impact on a Local Level

While theories, testing, and speculation is well and good for those who call SEO a profession, it is an unfortunate fact that many small business owners also take the brunt of these updates, and are left wondering what is going on. In fact, many of them have taken to “black hat” tactics out of pure frustration, and have been further demoted in the search engines as a result. Fortunately, dedicated experts are working round the clock to find a solution to the ever changing problem of ranking in Google, and are constantly publishing guides that will help those who struggle to rank their business in 2017.

What to do if you are Impacted?

The most important thing to do if you notice your traffic has suddenly dropped off is not to panic. You need to assess the potential damage and make a plan to remediate it based on what you find. The worst thing you could possibly do is a knee-jerk reaction, that could ultimately lead to the problems getting much worse. To start, you will need to check if your site has a penalty. Then, based on those results, come up with a solid game plan to fix it. If you have been penalized and need assistance, we recommend checking out some of the bigger SEO blogs that have information on what to do.