A year in review: Search Engine Land’s top 10 columns of 2017

Another year is coming to a close, and search marketers of all stripes have had their work cut out for them over the last 12 months as the industry grappled with everything from fake news to mysterious algorithm updates to automation. Fortunately, our talented contributors were at the ready, helping our readers to navigate the shifting sands of the search marketing landscape.
Local had a strong showing in our top columns this year, as pieces with a local search focus accounted for three of the top 10 columns on Search Engine Land. These ranged from Joy Hawkins’s detailed account of the Google Hawk update to Wesley Young’s helpful tips on how to improve your Google My Business listing.
Top honors went to Sherry Bonelli for her comprehensive piece on how to rank well in YouTube’s search results. As digital video consumption continues to rise, brands are looking to take advantage of this trend by producing high-quality — and properly optimized —

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An update on executive changes on the editorial team

This month, Third Door Media’s Michelle Robbins takes over as SVP of content and marketing technology, overseeing editorial direction as Editor in Chief of the three industry publications and aligning the content strategy with programming at Third Door Media’s event series, Search Marketing Expo and The MarTech Conference.
Robbins succeeds Search Engine Land founder Danny Sullivan, who shifts to an advisor role at the company.
Robbins, who has a background in publishing and has been with Third Door Media since its inception, working across all divisions — editorial, marketing, events and sales — while managing the corporation’s technology, will bring a fresh perspective to all three editorial properties.
Her significant technical expertise, 360-degree view of the company’s business objectives and depth of knowledge in both the search marketing and marketing technology fields align in this new role.
As an integral part of Third Door Media’s conference operations behind the scenes and as a member of the program development team, Robbins

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LISTEN: Danny Sullivan reflects on 21 years covering the search industry

There aren’t many people who can claim to have created an industry, but Danny Sullivan is one of them. When he first published “The Webmaster’s Guide to Search Engines” in 1996, he attracted an audience of online marketing pioneers who wanted to understand how search engines of the day — think Yahoo, AltaVista, Lycos and the like — ranked online content. Soon after, he launched Search Engine Watch and started hosting search marketing conferences. And in 2006, he co-founded Third Door Media — the company behind Search Engine Land and its younger siblings, MarTech Today and Marketing Land.
As journalists, we don’t like to consider ourselves “the news,” but when Danny announced earlier this week that he’d be stepping away from daily duties as our Chief Content Officer and taking an advisory role, it was industry news. Big news. And so we think it’s apropos to spend this week’s episode of Marketing Land Live chatting with Danny about

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A year in review: Search Engine Land’s top 10 columns of 2016

Expanded text ads. Mobile-first index. Accelerated Mobile Pages. Possum. These are just a few of the many words and phrases we search marketers became intimately familiar with over the course of the past year.
Both within the search industry and outside of it, 2016 was a year marked by change — and no change got more attention from our columnists than Google’s decision to eliminate the right rail ads from its desktop search results. Readers were clearly eager to learn as much as possible about how these changes would impact their campaigns, as two of our top 10 columns were focused on this topic.
The local search community also dealt with some major changes, as the Possum update caused a huge shake-up within local search results. Local search expert Joy Hawkins wrote the definitive article on this unannounced Google update, which impacted up to 64 percent of local SERPs. Her excellent coverage of this development earned her the top spot

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Search Engine Land’s most engaging stories of 2016: A whole lotta Google

I wasn’t exaggerating with that title. Sure, we cover a lot of Google-related news here on Search Engine Land, but now it can be definitively stated that it’s (in part) because that’s what you, our readers, crave.
We tallied all of the likes, favorites, shares, clicks, retweets and so on for every single social post across the Search Engine Land Facebook and Twitter communities over the past 12 months. Out of the top 10 most socially engaging stories across those communities — 20 stories in total — only ONE was not about Google. (Even the honorable mention in the Twitter roundup was from the Google Dance earlier this year during SMX West. It literally was our 7th most popular tweet of 2016. Scroll down and have a watch. You’ll see why.)
From AdWords updates to algorithm changes, the arrival of Expanded Text Ads to the sunsetting of PageRank score… there was a lot going on with the Big G this year. Let’s take a look

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Organic Search Party: Our Top SEO Columns of 2016

Each year brings a plethora of changes to search engine optimization, and 2016 was no different. From the rollout of Accelerated Mobile Pages to the long-awaited real-time Penguin update, the SEO world had a lot of exciting news to digest this year. With the help of our All Things SEO and Link Week columnists, readers were able to stay informed and adapt to these changes as needed.
As the SEO industry matures, the skills needed to remain on the cutting edge have become increasingly complex. This was evident in the fact that two of our top ten SEO columns were primers on more technical topics like implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages and making the switch to HTTPS. Search optimizers are clearly looking to up their game by learning about more advanced topics.
Or are they? Also popular this year were pieces targeting those who are new to the industry, such as Stephan Spencer’s “7 quick SEO hacks for the SEO newbie” and

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SEM’s legit: Our top paid search columns of 2016

This was an eventful year for those in the paid search community as Google introduced some significant updates to the way ads are displayed in SERPs. Thankfully, as search marketers scrambled to keep up with the seemingly endless barrage of changes, our insightful paid search columnists were there to help them make sense of it all.
By far the most discussed event of the year was when Google removed the right rail ads from desktop search results in an effort to make the layout more consistent with its mobile SERPs. Four of our ten most widely read articles of the year were focused on this change, including a two data-driven pieces by PPC expert Larry Kim and an article from Google’s own Director of Performance Ads Marketing, Matt Lawson.
The other major news item for the year was Google’s announcement of expanded text ads, which officially went live in July. While many columns were written about this change, Frederick Vallaeys’ piece was the

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A Year In Review: Search Engine Land’s Top 10 Columns Of 2015

While 2015 saw some significant and exciting new developments in search, marketers this year were seemingly less reactive and more proactive — a sign of a maturing industry. Rather than scrambling to adapt to the latest algorithm change or rushing to implement the newest trend, readers instead gravitated towards high-level thought pieces and detailed, tactical how-tos.
This is evident in the fact that many of the most popular columns in 2015 were focused on getting the fundamentals right. Where do I get started with local SEO? How can I build links in an ethical manner to avoid penalties? What’s the best way to manage my AdWords campaigns? How do I optimize video content on YouTube? These are all questions that were addressed by our top columns on Search Engine Land this year.
And despite 2015 arguably being the true “year of mobile” in search — we lived through Mobilegeddon and we saw mobile searches overtake desktop searches on Google — only one of the top 10 pieces dealt specifically with

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Organic Food For Thought: Our Top All Things SEO Columns For 2015

It’s tough being an SEO practitioner. Every time you think you’ve got the best practices down, some new development comes along that forces you to change your tactics or adjust your strategy. From algorithm updates to SERP layout adjustments to new search features, optimizing a website for organic search can often feel like trying to hit a moving target.
That’s where our All Things SEO columnists come in. By sharing their insights and advice, columnists were able to help SEO newbies and veterans alike navigate the fast-changing organic search landscape throughout the year.
As with previous years, 2015 saw its fair share of major developments in the organic search world, each of which presented challenges as well as opportunities to search marketers.
In particular, we saw a huge shift in focus towards mobile this past year. On April 21, 2015, a day known within the tech world as “Mobilegeddon,” Google released an algorithm update which gave a rankings boost to “mobile friendly” pages in Google’s mobile search results. The

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PPC Paydirt: Check Out Our Top Paid Search Columns Of 2015!

The past year has seen many interesting developments in the paid search world. Google released TrueView for Shopping ads, giving advertisers the ability to feature their products alongside their TrueView in-stream video ads. Yahoo’s Gemini platform expanded its reach to Yahoo’s desktop search results this year, giving marketers another platform in which to invest their paid search efforts. AdWords also released a handful of exciting new features in 2015, including Customer Match and Call-Only ads.
Yet despite all these new developments, readers on this site seemed most interested in columns that focused on broader topics related to account and campaign management. Frederick Vallaeys’ piece on how to be successful with AdWords, in which he provided a comprehensive checklist for managing campaigns, was the top paid search column this year.
Tactical pieces that garnered the highest interest were largely focused not on new features, but rather on perfecting the basics (such as retargeting and conversion rate optimization). As the industry as a whole matures, its practitioners are

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