Arvind Patil
Arvind Patil 26 March 2018

The Handy List of Major Google Search Algorithm Updates of 2017

Google’s search algorithm updates keep webmasters and SEO professionals on tenterhooks. More so, because it makes the changes surreptitiously, often giving little time to take any action. This write-up will help you become familiar with the major search algorithm updates of 2017.

It’s no hidden fact that Google comes up with hundreds of updates every year. Many of these go unnoticed because the search engine giant releases them without fanfare. This has led to professionals in the industry to track each movement of the search engine lest their websites are affected.

In case you missed the updates last year, or want to brush them up, here is an all-encompassing list of the major Google search algorithms 0f 2017.

  • Penalizing Intrusive Interstitials – Right at the beginning of the year, Google came down heavily on intrusive ads. These are ads that cover all or a part of the web page content when users visit the website by clicking through web searches. The formats include popups, which cover and prevent visitors from accessing the main page content; standalone overlays that need to be dismissed first and layouts in which there’s a mixup between interstitials and above-the-fold content. It’s obvious that these interstitials lead to poor user-experience.

Google had earlier rolled out the intrusive interstitial penalty on mobile, which was a fair warning.

  • Set of Unconfirmed February Updates – In February, Google tweaked the way it handled links. This was considered to be a change made to its Penguin update and associated with detecting and devaluing spam. In fact, many black hat practitioners reported losses. Another update was related to the core search algorithm of the search engine and was majorly a guess by experts. This update also hinted at the content quality, although Google kept mum!
  • Fred Update – The Fred Update of early March 2017 was given the moniker by Gary Ilyes as a joke. It hit sites with low-quality content.
  • Mid-May Unconfirmed Updates – Some of the most notable Ecommerce websites such as eBay, Overstock and Amazon had their rankings shifted. The fluctuations were attributed to Google changing the SERP placements of the sites. This was suspected to be a core update by Glenn Gabe.
  • Unconfirmed Update in June - A few more website ranking fluctuations were noticed in the website rankings by industry leaders in June. The caveat was that the movements were noticed in different country domains on the search engine giant. The fluctuations caused the tracking tools to heat up. Nevertheless, John Mueller denied these.
  • Unconfirmed August Update – Google once again targeted sites with poor quality with an unconfirmed update in August. On its radar were sites with subpar UX, disruptive ads and several other technical SEO issues.
  • Hawk Update – Another update in August that shook the SEO universe was the Hawk update. It was strictly local in nature, with no impact on the non-local results. This update removed a filter that was introduced by Possum in 2016. As a consequence, Google refined its proximity filter with some strict rules. To cut a long story short, the update prevents local businesses that have shared address or building from appearing as a part of the same pack.
  • Google ccTLDs – By the end of October, Google made its search results specific to the user’s location. This was a deviation from it’s earlier rule that let users access international results by modifying the ccTLD. With this change, the searches will be completely devoid of the country-specific domain. There were reports of a spike in the AdWords ads and a drop in the SERP local packs with the update.
  • Increased Length of Meta Descriptions – In December, Google increased the length of the meta descriptions from 160 characters to 230 characters along with an increase in the Snippet length. This came after two years of testing longer search snippets! And although it confirmed the update of handling the snippets, no details were provided by the search engine giant.
  •  Maccabees – This was an update that came to light by Barry Schwartz’s analysis, which concluded that the update hit sites with doorway pages that target several subcategories/locations using keyword variations within the content. Google did confirm releasing “several minor improvements during this time frame.”

The Wrap

These are the heads-up of the major updates from Google that took place in 2017. Apart from these, there were many other unnamed updates, which remain unconfirmed or unnoticed. These updates clearly tell us that Google is making way for a future, where users and their experience on websites will be given precedence and inferior quality content or spammy links will no longer be tolerated. With these takeaways, you can focus on creating a user-centric site, which ranks high in the SERPs. And don’t forget to keep an eye out for other updates that are in the pipeline.

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
7 reasons why social media marketing is important for your business

7 reasons why social media marketing is important for your business

Social media is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of digital marketing, which provides incredible benefits that help reach millions of customers worldwide. And if you are not applying this profitable...

Sharron Nelson
Sharron Nelson 6 February 2018
Read more
10 Digital Marketing Trends for 2019 you Should Know

10 Digital Marketing Trends for 2019 you Should Know

As digital trends evolve every year, marketers should always be aware of the changes in order to easily adapt with emerging technologies and stay ahead in the market. This will help them gain a competitive edge and...

Georges Fallah
Georges Fallah 27 December 2018
Read more
Top 10 Skills to Become a Rockstar in Digital Marketing

Top 10 Skills to Become a Rockstar in Digital Marketing

Technology is continuously evolving, prompting marketers and entrepreneurs to dive into digital marketing to increase brand awareness, reach their target market, and ultimately drive sales and profit. 

Jessica Andriani
Jessica Andriani 7 September 2018
Read more
Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Although the trend of a Business to Business portal is not new but the evolution of technology has indeed changed the way they function. Additional digital trading features and branding has taken the place of...

Salman Sharif
Salman Sharif 7 July 2017
Read more
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more