Google wrapped up the year with its year in review of top trending searches and news stories. The top search ranking factors of 2016 were revealed in an industry study. Google image search got an update, promoted places on Google Maps were introduced, property sets in Search Console have been expanded, and Google My Business received a couple of new features.
Details about all of these top stories are included in this week’s SEO news update.
Top Google Search Ranking Factors of 2016
The annual Searchmetrics study of Google’s top search ranking factors has been released. In 2016, ranking factors became more personalized, content relevance grew in importance, the technical basics remained key, and backlinks were allegedly not as important as they once were in years past. To prepare for the new year, we highly recommend reading the detailed 63-page report when you have the time.
Top Google Searches of 2016
Google’s annual year in review reveals the top trending searches and stories of 2016. This report details what was trending worldwide or narrow it down to a specific geographic region.
Top 10 worldwide searches of 2016:
- Pokémon Go
- iPhone 7
- Donald Trump
- David Bowie
- Suicide Squad
As far as news stories go, around the world people were most interested in the US election, Olympics, Brexit, Orlando shooting, and Zika virus. Trending searches in tech were dominated mostly by smartphones. There’s a category for nearly everything you can think of, so check out the report to find out what people were searching for in your niche.
Property Sets Now Available to All Reports in Search Console
This week, Google rolled out property sets to all reports in Search Console. To get you up to speed if you’re not familiar, property sets allow those who own multiple websites, multiple subdomains or versions of a domain (for example, https versus http), and/or Android apps to combine them as one property in Search Console. Previously, you were only able to view Search Analytics report data for property sets, but now property sets are supported by all reports in Search Console.
Google My Business Updates
Google released a couple of updates to Google My Business (GMB) this week. Most recently it has added insights for photos. You can now see how many views the photos in your GMB listing received by navigating to the Insights tab and scrolling down to the bottom where you’ll see the Photos section. Google has also been spotted giving business owners the option to customize menu attributes, but it appears to be just a test at this time and not something everyone has access to.
Google Maps Promoted Places
Want your business to stand out in Google Maps? Well, now Google has an ad unit for that. Google is allowing several major brands to use Promoted Places in a limited test in Google Maps for Android. The difference between a promoted place and a non-promoted place appears to be that the former can add their logo to the map while the latter cannot. Tapping on a promoted place will reveal any deals, discounts, or promotions the business is currently running. Though this is just a limited test, it could very well see wider release in the future.
Product Schema Showing in Google Image Search
Schema is a type of code that can be used to help search engines better interpret the information contained on a page. This comes with the added benefit of Google displaying more information about the page in the search results snippet. Traditionally, Schema markup has only been displayed in web search, but it has recently been spotted in Google’s image search. This is a significant change to product Schema, and from what we can tell it is not a test but a widespread rollout. Google’s product markup documentation has been updated to reflect that product markup now shows in image search. So there’s one more way to get your products to stand out, if you’re not already using product markup.
Now we know the top search ranking factors going into 2017, we have a few new tool features to experiment with, and we have new ways of gathering valuable insights into how it’s all working.