Biggest Google Search Algorithm Updates of 2015

There’s no doubt that 2015 was a great year for digital marketing. There were no huge algorithm updates to scare the shorts off marketers, so that’s always a good thing. Algorithm updates are getting gentler by the year, and usually the updates allow businesses to remain the same unless they’re heavy on spammy practices.


Still, it’s fun to take a look back at some of the most important Google algorithm updates from the year and how they have changed the framework of the internet. While we may not notice these subtle changes as they occur, they do alter the way the internet functions over time.


Let’s explore some of the biggest algorithm updates from 2015.


Unnamed Updated, February 4


Ecommerce sites displayed significant ranking changes for traffic-heavy and branded keywords. Also seen were some usability and mobile-related shifts. Google did not confirm this update, however. Shhh.


Mobilegeddon, April 22


If there was one update that was worth losing sleep over last year, it was Mobilegeddon. In an effort to boost the mobile experience, Google announced that they would be promoting mobile-friendly websites over their non-mobile-friendly counterparts. This left business owners, marketers, designers and developers scurrying to update their sites. The craziness wasn’t really necessary, however, since Mobilegeddon didn’t have much of an impact after all. Still, it was fun.


Quality Update, May 3


Google gave a vague and cryptic confirmation of having changed some “quality” signals. It didn’t affect solid websites with quality content, but it did penalize sites that contained low-quality how-to’s, news snippets and clickbait articles.


Panda 4.2, July 17


This time around, Panda didn’t get everyone up in arms about its launch. The update rolled out in mid-July and was a slow, low-impact data refresh. Hopefully you were still able to catch some Pandas at the zoo this summer.


RankBrain, October 26


Google filled us in that it had been using AI to interpret queries and rank results for the past several months. They’re getting better and better at surprising us with these types of updates. As of October, RankBrain is a top ranking signal.


Phantom 3, November 19


This unconfirmed update focused on Panda-like content – but not the links. The good news is that sites that were affected back in May were able to work through them and see a recovery with this update.


Keep on top of the latest algorithm updates with WSI Net Advantage. We do the research and watch the trends so you don’t have to. To learn more about our content management services, give us a call at 510-687-9737.
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