PPC insights: Our top SEM columns of 2017

Though paid search has long since cemented its place as a pillar of digital marketing, changes in technology and consumer behavior have continued to reshape the PPC landscape and keep search marketers on their toes. In 2017, we saw the last of “standard” text ads in AdWords as expanded text ads, introduced in 2016, became the new norm. We also said goodbye to the literal definition of “exact” as Google expanded exact match targeting to include close variants.

Yet, on the whole, search marketers spent more of 2017 looking forward than dwelling on the past. Two of our most widely-read columns, penned by former Googler Frederick Vallaeys, were forward-thinking pieces that focused on how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are driving innovation and automation in paid search.

This past year also saw a host of new feature releases, and with new capabilities comes the need to try new things — which is why so many of our top columns this year focused on testing. From ad copy testing to landing page testing, search marketers sought out resources to help ensure that their ads are reaching their full potential.

For these topics and more, check out Search Engine Land’s top paid search columns of 2017!

    The best-kept AdWords secret: AMP your landing pages by Frederick Vallaeys, published on 5/10/2017.Seriously, Google, can you just make exact match exact? by Daniel Gilbert, published on 3/21/2017.Attention search marketers: ALL keywords are branded keywords! by Larry Kim, published on 1/23/2017.10 AdWords ad copy testing ideas you can use right now by Jason Puckett, published on 3/14/2017.The AdWords 2017 roadmap is loaded with artificial intelligence by Frederick Vallaeys, published on 6/7/2017.3 free AdWords testing tools to adopt today by Todd Saunders, published on 3/7/2017.Three foolproof steps to excellent AdWords ads by Matt Lawson, published on 3/17/2017.This script creates Google Slides with AdWords data to automate your presentation-making by Frederick Vallaeys, published on 8/2/2017.The great big list of landing page tests to try by Amy Bishop, published on 5/2/2017.How artificial intelligence drives PPC automation by Frederick Vallaeys, published on 1/18/2017.

Mind your business: Our top local search columns of 2017

Local SEO practitioners have an increasingly important role to play in the digital marketing mix as searches with local intent continue to grow at a fast pace — particularly on mobile devices. Google has responded to this shift in consumer behavior accordingly, releasing several updates in 2017 that have allowed business owners to enhance their local listings.

This year, our readers seemed especially interested in learning more about new Google My Business features, particularly Google Posts, Questions and Answers and the new website builder. This interest may reflect increased competition for a limited number of spots in the local pack: When all of your local competitors have the basics down, utilizing new and advanced features is a great way to make your business listing stand out.

Although articles about Google dominated the top local search columns this year, there was one notable exception, by Local Search Association’s Wesley Young, that focused on how Facebook is solidifying its place in the local search ecosystem. Young’s column provided a compelling case for expanding your local marketing efforts beyond Google’s local pack.

Top honors this year go to Joy Hawkins’s excellent and thorough coverage of Google’s “Hawk” algorithm update, which impacted how local listings are filtered based on their proximity to similar businesses.

Wondering what else local search marketers were excited about this year? Check out our top 10 most popular Local Search columns for 2017:

    August 22, 2017: The day the “Hawk” Google local algorithm update swooped in by Joy Hawkins, published on 9/8/2017.Local SEO in 2017: 5 simple ways to dominate local search by Sherry Bonelli, published on 2/9/2017.5 ways you can improve your new business’s visibility on Google Maps by Wesley Young, published on 2/27/2017.7 unannounced updates to Google My Business we’ve seen in 2017 by Joy Hawkins, published on 5/18/2017.Hyperlocal marketing will soar in 2017: 5 tips to stay on top by Jim Yu, published on 2/21/2017.Google My Business website builder SEO review by Tony Edward, published on 6/27/2017.3 local SEO tips that deliver business results by Ryan Shelley, published on 2/7/2017.Do Google Posts impact ranking? A case study by Joy Hawkins, published on 11/2/2017.7 changes by Facebook that make it a real local search player by Wesley Young, published on 6/19/2017.6 business types that reap the most reward from local SEO by Pratik Dholakiya, published on 2/20/2017.

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 his beginnings as a search industry reporter, the evolution of both SEO and online journalism and, of course, his decision to shift careers. I had the pleasure of doing the interview, and I think you’re gonna love it.

This week’s show runs just over an hour. You can listen here or use the link below to subscribe via your favorite podcast service.

We invite you to subscribe via iTunes or Google Play Podcasts.

Show notes

Danny Sullivan: My new role as advisor for Third Door Media

10 big changes with search engines over my 20 years of covering them

Thanks for listening! We’ll be back soon with another episode of Marketing Land Live.

[This article originally appeared on Marketing Land.]

Danny Sullivan: My new role as advisor for Third Door Media

After 21 years running sites about and covering digital and search marketing, it’s time for a change. I’m becoming an advisor to Third Door Media, a shift from my position as chief content officer.

Third Door Media is the company that I cofounded with our CEO Chris Elwell, VP of programming Chris Sherman and VP of sales Sean Moriarty. It publishes our Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, Digital Marketing Depot and MarTech Today sites and produces our SMX: Search Marketing Expo and MarTech conferences.

I’m extremely proud of all that we’ve accomplished since the company began back in 2006. We have the aforenamed industry-leading vertical publications and successful conferences. Our company has grown to over 40 people. And it’s all been done organically, without VC funding, and has been consistently profitable.

Update October 6th, 2017: Danny Sullivan joins Google, leaves advisor role at Third Door Media

Time for a change

My move to a new role is because I’m ready to try something different. What that is, I don’t know! I have no immediate plans, other than to enjoy some time off. I might do some consumer tech writing down the line, which I enjoy and did a bit in the past, in my extra time. I might explore other types of writing, perhaps about science fiction on TV and in movies. All I know for certain is that I’ll remain pretty active on Twitter with opinions about tech and beyond.

Goodbye to a great team that remains

We’ve transitioned to the change internally over the past few months. Michelle Robbins has been promoted to SVP for content and marketing technology — congrats, Michelle! She has great knowledge in search and marketing technology, having been on the front lines of that for years, making her well-suited to oversee the strategic direction of our coverage.

The excellent Matt McGee has already been overseeing our day-to-day and long-term coverage aspects since 2012. Barry Schwartz — the hardest-working person in SEO — continues as our news editor, employing his superhuman powers to monitor thousands of sources of information.

Ginny Marvin remains watching over the paid search space for us with an insider’s knowledge that’s unmatched, as well as the digital advertising space in general. Barry Levine keeps on as marketing technology reporter extraordinaire. Amy Gesenhues continues doing her insightful interviews with CMOs, CMTOs and coverage of all aspects of digital marketing. Greg Sterling remains our go-to person for all things mobile, local, legal and big picture analysis. Tim Peterson will keep on getting the scoops and deep coverage in the social media space, along with both Greg Finn and Tamar Weinberg.

Beyond our reporting staff, our stellar features team will continue doing the hard work that’s largely unseen, recruiting and editing content from in-the-trenches contributors. Pamela Parker, with her associates Jessica Thompson and Desiree DeNunzio, do such an outstanding job to ensure that our content goes above and beyond. And Liz Craig, our copy editor, makes certain that all of our content reads professionally.

On the conference side, Chris Sherman remains heading up our SMX shows, as he’s done since the beginning. His nearly two decades of experience in the search conference space is unmatched. Karen DeWeese knows the ropes of all our event logistics and will keep things running as smoothly as she ever does. Our MarTech event continues to be programmed through our partnership with Scott Brinker, the leading voice of marketing technology.

Our social and growth teams, who I worked with closely, will continue to do their great work for Marc Sirkin, our SVP of experience and marketing. Monica Wright is so wonderful for ensuring that our engagement stays strong. Lauren Donovan keeps our content flowing on Facebook, Twitter and delights on Instagram. Kyle Pouliot does the same for our conference content and is a madman when we unleash him on Snapchat filters. And Katie Jordan helps them all where needed, our former intern — and third-degree blackbelt — so good that we brought her on full-time last year. Elisabeth Osmeloski keeps developing our audience and improving the experience of our conferences, including being instrumental in making our Search Engine Land Awards a great event.

See you at the Search Engine Land Awards!

Speaking of the Search Engine Land Awards — also known as “The Landys,” they’ll happen again at our SMX East show — and I’m looking forward to attending those this October and seeing people from our SMX and Search Engine Land communities.

Not just work colleagues but a second family

The people I’ve named above are those I’ve worked most closely with over the years, but our company includes many more people in our sales, marketing services, conferences and administrative areas. Everyone at Third Door Media is amazing. Our company is entirely remote. We have no central office, no headquarters, nor a need for that. It’s possible because of a great self-starting team that does its utmost each day.

A few years ago, my youngest son asked me if it was fun helping to lead a company because “you get to boss everyone around.” I told him it was much different than that. Helping run a company, I explained, was like having an entire second family. You worry about them. You want them all to succeed. You care about them. Or at least, that’s how it’s been for me at Third Door Media. It’s been a second family. It’s been a wonderful family, and I’m thankful to everyone in it. I’ll continue to be part of that family in my new role, offering advice as needed.

I know that the company will continue to do well with so many phenomenal people in it. I also know it will continue to do well headed by Chris Elwell, our CEO and my great friend, who I’ve worked with in our Third Door Media partnership and before that back to 1997. He has been the guiding hand that saw a company launched right just before huge economic downturn of 2008 get through that unscathed and ensure that we’ve grown and thrived. I look forward to watching him, along with everyone, succeed in the years to come.

I don’t have big reflections on my years reporting about search, because I largely did that last year, on my 20th anniversary of covering the space. If you’re interested, please see them here: 10 big changes with search engines over my 20 years of covering them.

I’ll repeat what I said at the end of that. I’ve been fortunate to have had a front-row seat in watching the search and digital marketing space unfold. It’s been an honor and privilege to cover the space. I’m glad that there’s a great team in place that will continue to do that, to help digital marketers succeed.

Please take Search Engine Land's SEO Success Factors Survey

Every two years, Search Engine Land updates our Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors. It’s that time again, and we’re inviting our readers to help us with the process.

The goal of the table is to cover the broad factors of search engine optimization that people should focus on. That means it’s not about trying to list all 200 Google ranking factors or its 10,000 subfactors in detail. It’s not about trying to advise if keywords should go at the beginning or end of an HTML title tag. It’s not about whether or not a Facebook Like is counted for a ranking boost.

Instead, the table is designed to broadly guide both people new to or experienced with SEO into general areas of importance. Title tags are generally important. Think about them. Social sharing is often generally seen as good for SEO. Aim for that, without worrying about the specific network. If you want to understand more about the philosophy of the table, read our post from when the last update happened in 2015.

To update the table, we’re running a survey. This lists all of the factors on the current table, plus a few new ones we think should be included. We’d like our readers to tell us how important they think each factor should be. For new factors, there’s an opportunity to offer some additional feedback about whether they should be included. There’s also the ability to leave general feedback about the table overall.

Be forewarned. The survey is long, encompassing about 40 factors spread across eight pages. It’ll probably take five to 10 minutes to complete. Everything on it is optional. You don’t have to answer all the questions, if you feel uncertain about some of them.

Still interested in taking the survey? I hope so — it really helps the editors in compiling the chart. To take it, please find it here:

Click Here To Take The SEO Success Factors Survey

Thanks!

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 back at the issues and announcements that scored the most social engagement across the board. (Catch up with all of our Search Engine Land Year In Review stories, while you’re at it!)

Search Engine Land’s Most Social Tweets Of 2016

1. Google officially throttling Keyword Planner data for low spending AdWords accounts — by Greg Finn, August 13

Google officially throttling Keyword Planner data for low spending AdWords accounts https://t.co/QgkyQCMmf9

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) August 13, 2016

2. Confirmed: Google To Stop Showing Ads On Right Side Of Desktop Search Results Worldwide — by Matt McGee, February 19 (This story actually made the list three times. Three different tweets promoting this story throughout the week of publication ranked on the top 10 list, so… it’s kind of a big deal.)

Confirmed: @Google To Stop Showing Ads On Right Side Of Desktop Search Results Worldwide by @mattmcgee https://t.co/TEtYEaQNPy

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) February 20, 2016

3. RIP #Google PageRank score: A retrospective on how it ruined the web — by Danny Sullivan, March 9

RIP #Google PageRank score: A retrospective on how it ruined the web by @dannysullivan https://t.co/WWIDXw8uii

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) March 10, 2016

4. Moz trims product line to focus on search, lays off 28% of staff — by Barry Schwartz, August 17

Moz trims product line to focus on search, lays off 28% of staff by @rustybrick https://t.co/1HvNShmfOb

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) August 17, 2016

5. Google expanded text ads are live, and device bidding & responsive ads for native roll out — by Ginny Marvin, July 26

Google has officially launched expanded text ads. https://t.co/271xtkomzD #ppcchat #SEM pic.twitter.com/PyTkvwW8aR

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) July 26, 2016

6. Google is completely redesigning AdWords: Offers first peek — by Ginny Marvin, March 28

Google is completely redesigning AdWords: Offers first peek by @ginnymarvin https://t.co/B9Zg98eDKH

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) March 28, 2016

7. Google’s New SERP Layout: The Biggest Winners & Losers — by Larry Kim, February 24

Google’s New SERP Layout: The Biggest Winners & Losers by @larrykim https://t.co/a40OWmnLEh

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) February 25, 2016

8. Saying a third of mobile searches are local, Google brings “Promoted Pins” to Maps — by Greg Sterling, May 24

The Big G is introducing new local search ads on @Google and @GoogleMaps: https://t.co/oDs0NarrCQ pic.twitter.com/FII0PHAEXS

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) May 24, 2016

9. Everything you need to know about Google’s “Possum” algorithm update — by Joy Hawkins, September 21

Everything you need to know about Google’s ‘Possum’ algorithm update by @joyannehawkins https://t.co/lVF5VUh59Q

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) September 21, 2016

10. The real impact of Google’s new paid search ad layout on organic search — by Winston Burton, March 28

What is the real impact of Google’s new paid search ad layout on organic search? Check in with Winston Burton: https://t.co/jyPbxyHabe #SEO

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) March 29, 2016

Honorable Mention

.@dchordigian shutting it down at #GoogleDance #SMX ???? pic.twitter.com/71JWbay6St

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) March 3, 2016

Because obvi.

Search Engine Land’s Most Social Facebook Posts Of 2016

1. Confirmed: Google To Stop Showing Ads On Right Side Of Desktop Search Results Worldwide — by Matt McGee, February 19

2. Google Panda Is Now Part Of Google’s Core Ranking Signals — by Barry Schwartz, January 12

3. Google Had A Major Core Ranking Algorithm Update This Past Weekend — by Barry Schwartz, January 12

4. Google has confirmed it is removing Toolbar PageRank — by Barry Schwartz, March 8

5. Google is completely redesigning AdWords: Offers first peek — by Ginny Marvin, March 28

6. Google expanded text ads are live, and device bidding & responsive ads for native roll out — by Ginny Marvin, July 26

7. Everything you need to know about Google’s ‘Possum’ algorithm update — by Joy Hawkins, September 21

8. Google+ Accounts No Longer Required For Leaving Local Reviews In Google — by Barry Schwartz, April 4

9. Study: Quality Backlinks & Comprehensive Content Are Still Biggest Factors In Google Rankings — by Greg Finn, January 20

10. iPhone Users, The AdWords App For iOS Has Arrived — by Ginny Marvin, January 28

Methodology: Top tweets were identified by native Twitter analytics. Top Facebook posts were identified using Simply Measured analytics.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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 in 2016.

After the emotional roller coaster that was 2016, many people are ready for this year to be over. But for those of you brave enough to want to relive it, here are Search Engine Land’s top 10 columns of the year:

    Everything you need to know about Google’s ‘Possum’ algorithm update by Joy Hawkins, published on 9/21/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 2,931, Google+ 492, LinkedIn 17987 essential Google Analytics reports every marketer must know by Khalid Saleh, published on 5/30/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 1,727, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 2863How To Get Started With Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) by Paul Shapiro, published on 2/24/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 632, Google+ 194, LinkedIn 524Top 9 reasons Google suspends local listings by Joy Hawkins, published on 4/21/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 855, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 794How To Localize Google Search Results by Clay Cazier, published on 1/13/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 622, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 393Google’s New SERP Layout: The Biggest Winners & Losers by Larry Kim, published on 2/24/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 751, Google+ 196, LinkedIn 1234Infographic: 11 amazing hacks that will boost your organic click-through rates by Larry Kim, published on 10/5/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 1086, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 821Test Your Knowledge Of SEO by Eric Enge, published on 1/5/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 900, Google+ 189, LinkedIn 594HTTP to HTTPS: An SEO’s guide to securing a website by Patrick Stox, published on 4/14/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 962, Google+ 219, LinkedIn 619Google’s Take On The Recent Changes To The Results Page by Matt Lawson, published on 3/2/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 627, Google+ 168, LinkedIn 944

Methodology: Columns published in 2016 are ranked in order of page views measured by Google Analytics. Data includes all columns published through November 30, 2016. Social data provided by SharedCount.

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 John Lincoln’s “6 Big Mistakes That SEO Rookies Make.” It seems there’s room for SEOs of all levels here on Search Engine Land!

And in case you don’t know where you fall on the spectrum from rookie to guru, columnist Eric Enge put together a handy quiz to test your knowledge of SEO. It’s not too late to take it!

For these stories and more, check out Search Engine Land’s top ten SEO columns of 2016:

    How To Get Started With Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) by Paul Shapiro, published on 2/24/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 632, Google+ 194, LinkedIn 524Infographic: 11 amazing hacks that will boost your organic click-through rates by Larry Kim, published on 10/5/2016. Social activity: Facebook 1086, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 821Test Your Knowledge Of SEO by Eric Enge, published on 1/5/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 900, Google+ 189, LinkedIn 594HTTP to HTTPS: An SEO’s guide to securing a website by Patrick Stox, published on 4/14/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 962, Google+ 219, LinkedIn 619KPIs for SEO: measuring SEO success by Marcus Miller, published on 8/5/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 894, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 9297 quick SEO hacks for the SEO newbie by Stephan Spencer, published on 8/25/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 970, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 733SEO is as dirty as ever by Patrick Stox, published on 7/7/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 991, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 885The real impact of Google’s new paid search ad layout on organic search by Winston Burton, published on 3/29/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 953, Google+ 224, LinkedIn 12716 Big Mistakes That SEO Rookies Make by John E Lincoln, published on 1/15/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 744, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 5327 e-commerce SEO trends we’re seeing in 2016 by Jayson DeMers, published on 6/14/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 1096, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 1201

Methodology: Columns published in 2016 are ranked in order of pageviews measured by Google Analytics. Data includes all columns published through November 30, 2016. Social data provided by SharedCount

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 one that stood out and made it into our top ten stories of the year.

What other topics resonated with search engine marketers in 2016? Check out our top ten paid search columns to find out:

    Google’s New SERP Layout: The Biggest Winners & Losers by Larry Kim, published on 2/24/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 751, Google+ 196, LinkedIn 1234Google’s Take On The Recent Changes To The Results Page by Matt Lawson, published on 3/2/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 627, Google+ 168, LinkedIn 944Google’s right-side Adpocalypse: What really happened (DATA) by Larry Kim, published on 3/21/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 2129, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 888Reverse-engineering AdWords Quality Score factors by Brad Geddes, published on 3/9/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 527, Google+ 63, LinkedIn 818How to get the old Google Keyword Planner volume data by Patrick Stox, published on 8/4/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 479, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 422The 5 strangest search terms in 2,000+ AdWords accounts by Jacob Baadsgaard, published on 5/26/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 474, Google+ 98, LinkedIn 59110 ways to get ready for the new AdWords by Frederick Vallaeys, published on 6/8/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 536, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 8543 Google AdWords hacks to drive high-quality leads by Todd Saunders, published on 5/31/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 496, Google+ 153, LinkedIn 735What Google’s New Layout Means For Search Marketers by Alistair Dent, published on 2/23/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 742, Google+ 178, LinkedIn 794New benchmarks: Google AdWords cost per acquisition across 20 industries [study] by Larry Kim, published on 3/23/2016.
    Social activity: Facebook 1150, Google+ 78, LinkedIn 558

Methodology: Columns published in 2016 are ranked in order of pageviews measured by Google Analytics. Data includes all columns published through November 30, 2016. Social data provided by SharedCount

Eat Local: Our Top 10 Local Search Columns of 2016

At the beginning of the year, BrightLocal conducted its annual Local SEO Industry Survey, which seeks to gauge the general mood and outlook of professionals in the local search space. At the time, 78 percent of respondents believed that 2016 would be a “good” or “great” year for business. Now, as the year comes to a close, one can only wonder: Were they right?

Local SEO continues to be a thriving niche within the search industry. And this year, while relatively quiet, still saw some major developments that impacted how local search practitioners perform their jobs.

Midway through the year, Google launched “Promoted Pins” on Google Maps, giving marketers a new paid option to incorporate into their local marketing mix. Will Scott’s article discussing this new ad type in more detail made it into our top 10, suggesting that local SEO practitioners may soon be expanding into local PPC as well.

Then, in September, businesses were hit with an update to Google’s local ranking algorithm, dubbed “Possum” by the local SEO community. This update was thought to be the largest adjustment to the local search results since the Pigeon update of 2014, reportedly impacting 64 percent of local SERPs. The local search community certainly took note, as columnist Joy Hawkins’ Possum explainer was our top local search column of the year.

So, was 2016 a great year for SEO? Check out our top 10 local search columns from the past 12 months and decide for yourself!

    Everything you need to know about Google’s ‘Possum’ algorithm update by Joy Hawkins, published on 9/21/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 2931, Google+ 492, LinkedIn 1,798Top 9 reasons Google suspends local listings by Joy Hawkins, published on 4/21/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 855, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 794How To Localize Google Search Results by Clay Cazier, published on 1/13/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 622, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 39310 Ways To Simplify Your Local Marketing Strategy In 2016 by Wesley Young, published on 1/4/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 1,062, Google+ 337, LinkedIn 947Google Is Fixing The “Permanently Closed” Problem by Joy Hawkins, published on #N/A
    Social activity: Facebook 355, Google+ 123, LinkedIn 270Angie’s List is now free: What this change means for your business by Brian Patterson, published on 7/5/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 708, Google+ 115, LinkedIn 724The big picture guide to local SEO: ranking in 2016 & beyond by Marcus Miller, published on 6/10/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 704, Google+ 206, LinkedIn 564The perfect local SEO landing page by Marcus Miller, published on 7/8/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 1307, Google+ 259, LinkedIn 840Google Posts are going to kill (at) local SEO by Andrew Shotland, published on 3/14/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 754, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 767Excited about Google’s new map ads? You should be! by Will Scott, published on 7/29/2016
    Social activity: Facebook 934, Google+ 168, LinkedIn 759

Methodology: Columns published in 2016 are ranked in order of page views measured by Google Analytics. Data includes all columns published through November 30, 2016. Social data provided by SharedCount.