Last year was one of the more active years for Google and all of their changes. There was something new coming from Google at every turn, and as always, some changes were well received, some weren’t, and in the end we all had to deal with it. Consider all of the changes below with a little holiday twist to help gear up for Christmas in just a few days!

Santa was clearly checking his list twice…


These updates and changes from Google helped improve the web. The updates may have taken a little bit of time to get used to, but it’s clear that Google checked the list twice and made sure these changes had be made, but were going to be for the better.

1.     May 22: Google Penguin 2.0 Update Launches.

About 2-3 percent of English queries were affected by this update. The update was said to be one of the larger Penguin updates and focused on only very poor, spammy websites.

Read: Google Penguin 2.0: Now What for SEO?

2.     August 20: Hummingbird Update Launches for the First time in 12 Years.

This was an update that simply fine-tuned the entire algorithm as opposed to just parts of the algorithm. The algorithm hadn’t be revamped in 12 years, and since people are now searching differently than they were 12 years ago, an adjustment was needed.

Read: Google Hummingbird and What It Means to You

3.     August 28: Google Keyword Planner Replaces the Keyword Tool.

All of the functionality of the Keyword Tool remained, but there are new data columns with the new tool and the old Traffic Estimator was merged.

‘Tis the season to give…


We saw quite a few changes that seemed like little presents for online marketers as well as Google users. Not only do they make the web a better place, but they can have a direct positive effect on your company and your search queries.

4.     August 6: Google Announces In-Depth Articles.

This is a new section that you can see on a SERP that only lists out very detailed and thorough articles. Very abstract and broad topics, such as love or scientific questions, are often found in this new section.

5.     October 21: Google Media Tools Launched for Journalists.

A one-stop-shop for all things journalists might need for a story that Google can offer. Whether it’s a national tragedy or a small local story, things like Google Maps, Google Trends, etc. could potentially help a journalist. Visit this hub and you’d also find a hotline to reach someone from Google if the company can help you by providing a quote for your story.

Read: New Google Media Tools for Journalists: What Do You Think One Month Later?

6.     October 14: Google Enables Review Extensions for AdWords Advertisers.

With this new feature, an advertiser can have a little review that will show up on their listing that is shown on a SERP. Only 67 characters are allowed, but it’s a good way for consumers to get more information about a company right there on the SERP.

Read: Google AdWords Now Offers Review Extensions

An obvious scrooge move…


Sometimes Google just wasn’t nice. It seemed like a few of their changes might have been for personal gain, and whether or not it was annoying for users came second.

7.     September 23: Google Encrypts Search Data for All Marketers.

Most people weren’t happy with this one. Google encrypted all search data except for the data that comes from ads, so many felt that Google was doing this to boost their ad revenue. Because marketers could no longer see this data, it was more difficult to see where people were coming from and then optimize accordingly. People ending up looking at data from Bing and Yahoo and focusing on search volume numbers as a response.

Read: Ask the Experts: Impact on Marketers from Encrypted Keyword Searches

8.     November 7: Google+ Integrates with YouTube and Causes Backlash.

Once again, Google tried desperately to make Google+ really work and keep things connected for people. Whether or not they actually thought this would help, most people agreed that integrating YouTube comments with Google+ profiles was a horrible idea. If you want to comment on a video, you now have to attach your personal profile. Although the ideas was that this integration would help comment moderation and make comments more relevant, it was seen as an invasion of privacy to YouTube lovers.

Read: What’s Up with the Google+ Integration with YouTube, and What Does This Mean for My Business?

Baby it’s cold outside…


Some things ended that needed to end. It might not have been positive for everyone, but this is an area where Google did what Google wanted to do and the rest of us just sort of sat there and watched that annoying snowfall.

9.     December 6: Google Updates PageRank for the First Time in 10 Months

Most people thought that PageRank was dead, and the general consensus was that PageRank should die. Google’s lack of updating PageRank in 10 months showed many that Google felt the same, but all of a sudden there was an update in December. Most companies saw a negative drop thanks to the update.

Read: Google Updates PageRank: So What?

As you might notice, there are only 9 changes on this list. We want to hear your thoughts for our number 10, so let us know some of the changes that really affected you in the comments below (bonus if you can put a holiday spin on it).