Last year the SEO dream team made some predictions; some bold, some fairly obvious (we need some to be right!). So, following the DMM’s recap, here’s ours.

Dave

Last year I said Google would fix hacked sites which optimise for image search. At the time, I gave the example of “Nike Roshe Shoe” which showed lots of hacked sites which redirect off to the attacker’s websites – sadly, it appears the same is still happening, so that’s a fail.

I also thought we would see personalised and local SERP’s improve to the point that long and short click will affect the results local to you – while not conclusive on exact numbers (obviously), we are seeing more and more localisation – Win!

Google will lose a big EU lawsuit, which will have devastating effects on web search and mobile around privacy – another win for me.

I predicted Google would ignore issues in paid search and continue to allow bottom feeders to push up CPC – #Winning.

Predictions were made around something going wrong with the disavow system and will affect millions of websites, hmm, kinda right with the disavow file not being needed due to Penguin, yet Google saying to continue disavowing??

Google will be hacked – the data leak will be amazing – Win… Google was hacked; over 1 million user accounts were hacked by Android Malware known as Gooligan – allowing access to your Google account and everything in it. You can read more about it here.

I said Bing would increase market share but no one will know why. Following this, Comscore reported Bing had gained on Google with 20% UK market share. Another win.

I’d also stated, people will find out that the whole web being SSL is still insecure – this is a fail, so far.

Finally, I said Donald Trump will try and ban Muslims from using the internet – Give it time!

Craig

I predicted we would see further Knowledge Graph integrations, and I think I’ve got this one right, with increased focus on things like brand pages as well as increased support for JSON-LD formats.

I also thought Google would move into further comparison markets, such as holidays, while they actually shut down their compare tool, they’ve kept Google flights,  though I guess this one’s a fail.

I said data science would also begin to become more apparent. I think this is a firm win, you can’t swing a stick without hitting someone mentioning machine learning. The application of data science is subjective, however, I feel like the whole industry has become more data driven than previous years – I feel there’s a lot more to come here.

I’d stated that site speed and mobile friendliness would continue to be a big focus for Google and a stronger ranking factor in general, this one, I’ve smashed it out of the park. Just a few months after my prediction, Google released a blog stating they were ramping up their mobile signals. We’ve also seen a flurry information and support from Google on AMP as well as Mobile First Indexing.

Rory

Last year I predicted that the potential for ranking for someone else’s brand on the first page of Google will become harder as more social and other brand owned websites take the main positions. This is due to growth in brand bidding and other companies optimising landing pages to rank for their competitors.

People are just as aggressive with brand bidding as they were last year. Social outlets have moved away from the main SERP listing and into the side bar freeing up space in the SERPs, which is likely to be filled up with other competitors which are still trying to influence their rankings for you. To a degree, nothing has really changed apart from Google’s page layout.

I’d also predicted review sites would be harder to manipulate, again, this doesn’t seem to be the case with lots of fake reviews.

Ant

Last year I predicted closer integration between social and cloud storage devices, this hasn’t happened as I expected. Google, in particular, is gradually connecting the dots, though – with the introduction of Google Home, and much closer integration of Google Drive in Android devices automatically backing up all photos.

We have not seen the integration with Dropbox and OneDrive like I predicted, though.

Matt

Last year, my prediction of Digital Marketing in 2016 was that Google’s real-time algorithm would continue to grow more and more intelligent meaning sites will be punished or promoted much quicker. This potentially leading to a lot of link clean-ups or on the flipside, faster testing and validation!

I think it’s fairly safe to say that for once I’d got this pretty much down to a T! Google announced that as of 23rd September 2016, Google Penguin (4.0) was now part of the Google core algorithm that would roll in real time. Historically, this update has been rolled out periodically, leaving sites in a visibility deficit, or improvement, until the next one rolled out up to a year later. Google themselves confirmed that this update would now work much faster, taking effect shortly after the recrawl of a page.

This change has already made a huge mark on the SEO industry and has really impacted the competition in Google search results. I personally am really excited to see what next year has to bring.

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