Every year, Google releases new offerings that make our lives better. While we are grateful for Google updates in 2017, other releases, particularly algorithm updates, can make our lives harder, especially when we need to meet stricter quality standards. However, in the end, they make us better and we are grateful for everything Google provides.
This year has been no exception.
Google made several major updates to its algorithm this year.
The first update penalized interstitials and popups that ruin user experience on mobile devices. Unlike almost all of Google’s updates, this came as no surprise — Google announced its intention to implement the update five months in advance.
Google’s algorithm update in February targets the black hat tactic of using PBNs. This practice involves purchasing expired domains that belonged to authoritative websites, filling them with content, and then linking back to your main website to gain a higher ranking in the SERPs. The algorithm update allows Google to better detect the tactic and penalize sites benefiting from it.
Known as Fred, the update from March targets sites that violate Google’s webmaster guidelines. Mostly, it impacts blogs with affiliate-heavy content and pages full of ads designed to generate revenue. Sites containing gateway pages to ads will now struggle to trick Google into believing their content has value.
The most important update for small businesses was the one released in August. Making some changes to Possum (released one year before), it only impacts organic local results. The local search community has dubbed the update “Hawk” — as hawks eat possums.
To recap, Possum was supposed to filter duplicate content and stop multiple listings from the same company from appearing in the search results. The problem was that Google was also filtering content from different businesses in the same industry if they were located near each other.
The update from August has fixed this to some extent. However, if businesses in the same industry happen to be in the same building, they may still be prone to filtering.
Google Pixel 2
This year saw the release of Google’s second smartphone. It comes in two versions: Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. They are identical in all but size and colors available. Both come with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB to 128 GB of storage, are waterproof, and are free from headphone jacks.
Other Hardware Products
A few more pieces of Google hardware deserve a mention:
Google Pixel Buds
After removing headphone jacks from its latest phone, Google had to release bluetooth headphones. These come with extra features, such as reading notifications and messages, providing access to Google Assistant, and translating languages in real time.
The biggest hardware surprise from the company this year was Google Clips, a revival of Google Glass. Instead of wearing Clips, you attach them to a chair, table, or other piece of furniture. They take pictures using machine learning (a type of AI), which determines when a photo would be important to the user.
Google Home Mini and Google Home Max
Google has added to its Home product range with the Google Home Mini (a smaller and more affordable version) and with the Google Home Max, a high-end version. Both allow users to ask voice questions, which may increase the use of voice search.
All these updates, features, and releases bring new opportunities — and challenges. Thanks, Google, for everything you’ve given us in 2017!