Welcome to 2018 my friends! Not a ton of news to report on, but surprisingly we had something of an algo update in December, which is usually a really quiet month! Hopefully 2018 will be a more fruitful year, news-wise.
- Google Launches Core Algorithm Update In Mid-December – While we were all preparing for a festive and restful holiday season, Google was apparently preparing to shake up the SERPs a bit with an algorithm update. Coined the “Maccabees Update,” this mid-December update is a core algorithm overhaul that optimized many parts of the overall algorithm, rather than just a specific few such as Panda or Penguin. According to Google’s Danny Sullivan, there were “several minor changes” to Google’s algorithm that week, and while they apparently noticed nothing on their end, many in the SEO community saw severe volatility. SEMRush saw mobile volatility for affiliate sites covering autos, law, and others. Search Engine Journal feels sites with aggressive linking techniques got hit hard. We’ll keep an eye on this if anything further develops.
- Google Regains Top Spot For Referral Traffic – According to a report by Recode, publishers are receiving more data from Google than Facebook, by an apparently wide margin. The data from Parse.ly shows that, by the end of November 2017, Google was sending publishers 44% of all referral traffic, while Facebook was down to 26%. This is a switch from the beginning of 2017, when Facebook was outpacing Google 39% to 34%.
- Google Maps Updates Review Guidelines To Disallow Employees’ Negative Reviews – Google has updated their review guidelines for Maps so that, from now on, employees can’t leave negative reviews of current or former employers. Previously, it appears as if Google only disallowed negative reviews from current employees, so this should be a welcomed change for employers.
- Google Brings Back Webmaster Videos – Back when Matt Cutts was the public face of Google, he would regularly post informative videos that were useful for webmasters and SEO professionals. The practice died when Cutts left Google, but is now being brought back with John Mueller, who has since taken up the torch as the public face of the search giant. Recently, half a dozen videos were released on a variety of subjects, with hopefully more on the way.
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