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.

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.

Search Engine Land's Top 10 News Stories Of 2016: Goodbye right-rail ads, goodbye visible PageRank & more

If it feels like the search results changed a lot this year — especially Google’s — you’ve done a good job staying on top of search news. As we look back on the biggest stories of the year, several of them cover changes in SEO and ranking algorithms, and others are about new developments in AdWords and paid search.

In 2016, we said goodbye to those text ads on the right side of Google’s desktop search results and to the visible green PageRank bar. Paid search specialists said goodbye to an outdated AdWords interface. And we’re all in the process of bidding adieu to the idea of a single Google index. What a year it’s been!

Between now and the end of December, we’ll be looking back at the most-read articles and columns we published in 2016. Recaps from our SEO- and PPC-related columns will start to arrive next week, but we begin today with a look at the most popular news stories of the year.

Search Engine Land’s Most Popular News Stories Of 2016

This list is based on page views and includes news stories published between January 1 and December 12, 2016.

1. Confirmed: Google To Stop Showing Ads On Right Side Of Desktop Search Results Worldwide

Matt McGee, February 19: “Google is rolling out a dramatic change that removes ads from the right side of its desktop search results, and places ads only at the top and/or bottom of the page. At the same time, the company says it may show an additional ad — four, not three — above the search results for what it calls ‘highly commercial queries.’”

2. Powerball Numbers? You’ll Be Surprised Which Search Engines Knew Them

Matt McGee, January 10: “So who is showing the winning Powerball numbers in easy view for this popular search term tonight? Would you be surprised to know that both Yahoo and Ask.com are doing so? It’s true — have a look.”

3. Google Search iOS App Adds “I’m Feeling Curious” To 3-D Touch

Barry Schwartz, February 1: “Google has added a small but cute feature to the Google iOS search app that lets users hard press on the app and brings up a “3-D touch menu” for the ‘I’m Feeling Curious’ button. This is to make it faster for searchers to get ‘a fun fact’ from Google.”

4. Now we know: Here are Google’s top 3 search ranking factors

Barry Schwartz, March 24: “We knew last year that RankBrain was said by Google to be the third most important ranking factor, but Google refused to say what the first two were. Yesterday, in a Q&A with Google, Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, said the other two factors were links and content.”

5. RIP Google PageRank score: A retrospective on how it ruined the web

Danny Sullivan, March 9: “Ever gotten a crappy email asking for links? Blame PageRank. Ever had garbage comments with link drops? Blame PageRank. Ever had to ferret out the how and why you should make use of the nofollow attribute on links? Blame PageRank. More appropriately, blame Google for ever making the PageRank score visible.”

6. Google updates Penguin, says it now runs in real time within the core search algorithm

Barry Schwartz, September 23: “Those long delays are now to be a thing of the past, according to Google. With this latest release, Penguin becomes real-time. As Google recrawls and reindexes pages — which happens constantly — those pages will be assessed by the Penguin filter. Pages will be caught and/or freed by Penguin as part of this regular process.”

7. Is a big Google search update happening? Chatter thinks so.

Barry Schwartz, September 2: “To be clear, it seems like there were two updates in the past twenty-four hours. The large update seems to be around core web search, which kicked off earlier this morning or late last night. The second update was likely around local rankings in Google.”

8.) Within months, Google to divide its index, giving mobile users better & fresher content

Barry Schwartz, October 13: “Google is going to create a separate mobile index within months, one that will be the main or ‘primary’ index that the search engine uses to respond to queries. A separate desktop index will be maintained, one that will not be as up-to-date as the mobile index.”

9. FAQ: All About The Changes To Google’s Ad Layout On Desktop Search Results

Ginny Marvin, February 22: “Google has stated that four ads instead of three may show more often on highly commercial queries, but what exactly does that mean? Well, examples from Google include ‘hotels in New York City’ or ‘car insurance.’ And yet, what you deem highly commercial may differ from Google’s definition. Generally speaking, the term is used for queries in which Google perceives an intent to purchase.”

10. Google is completely redesigning AdWords: Offers first peek

Ginny Marvin, March 28: “There are a few things that can be gleaned from the Google-supplied screenshot below (click to enlarge). In the image on the left, the Campaigns and ad groups are shown in the left-hand navigation, as they are now, but clicking on an individual campaign brings up a dashboard view that Google is calling an ‘Overview’ screen. Overviews will be available at the campaign, ad group and ad levels.”

Those are the most-read news stories of the year on Search Engine Land. In case you missed it earlier this week, we already published the top 10 news stories of 2016 on Marketing Land, and a similar list for MarTech Today is coming soon. Next week, we’ll begin posting a daily look back at the top columns that we published here on Search Engine Land throughout the year.

On behalf of the Search Engine Land editorial team, thanks for reading us during 2016. Happy holidays to you and best wishes for 2017!

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 mobile search, and that was Emily Grossman’s piece on Apple Search and iOS app indexing. Indeed, app indexing became a hot topic this year as search engines began surfacing more and more app content within their search engine results pages.

The most widely read column on the site by far was Adam Audette’s piece on how Google handles JavaScript. Search marketers have long wondered to what extent the search engine can crawl this content, and Audette’s column (which summarized the findings of original research performed by Merkle | RKG) shed some light on this previously underexplored topic.

So, here you have them — Search Engine Land’s top 10 columns of 2015!

    We Tested How Googlebot Crawls JavaScript And Here’s What We Learned by Adam Audette, published on 5/8/15 in the All Things SEO Column.
    Social activity: Facebook 2498, Google+ 1357, LinkedIn 10925 Essential SEO Techniques To Master In 2015 by Jim Yu, published on 1/27/15 in the All Things SEO Column.
    Social activity: Facebook 921, Google+ 399, LinkedIn 61410 WordPress SEO Questions That Took Me 10 Years To Answer! by Trond Lyngbø, published on 2/12/15 in the All Things SEO Column.
    Social activity: Facebook 1371, Google+ 526, LinkedIn 7695 Techniques To Safely Get Links In 2015 by Neil Patel, published on 2/20/15 in the Link Week Column.
    Social activity: Facebook 733, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 32Local SEO: How To Rank Your Local Business by Matthew Barby, published on 4/22/15 in the Local Search Column.
    Social activity: Facebook 710, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 43They Fooled Us All: Why Google May No Longer Announce Major Algorithm Updates by Nate Dame, published on 3/27/15 in the All Things SEO Column.
    Social activity: Facebook 585, Google+ 317, LinkedIn 621How Google Won The PR Battle Over SEO, And Why That’s A Good Thing by Nate Dame, published on 10/9/15 in the All Things SEO Column.
    Social activity: Facebook 779, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 473The Secret To AdWords Success, Told By A Former Googler by Frederick Vallaeys, published on 1/21/15 in the Paid Search Column.
    Social activity: Facebook 686, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 100App Indexing & The New Frontier of SEO: Apple Search + iOS App Indexing by Emily Grossman, published on 7/6/15 in the All Things SEO Column.
    Social activity: Facebook 552, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 503YouTube Ranking Factors: Getting Ranked In The Second Largest Search Engine by Tony Edward, published on 7/24/15 in the All Things SEO Column.
    Social activity: Facebook 1276, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 717

Methodology: Columns published in 2015 are ranked in order of pageviews measured by Google Analytics. Data includes all columns published through November 30, 2015. Social data provided by SharedCount

Getting Social With Search Engine Land: Our Most Engaging Stories Of 2015

Well readers, if you can even believe it, the year will be over in a mere 48-ish hours, and as it ends, 2016 will begin. It seems like just yesterday, experts were casting predictions for what 2015 would hold for the world of search. If we have learned anything over the past 12 months (and surely, we have learned a lot!), it is that time moves pretty dang fast. (Hello? 2016, already?!) But it’s not just time that moves quickly. It’s technology. And every year, its pace seems to double.

Yes, one of the most remarkable things about our industry surely is the incredible speed at which it evolves. New platforms, channels, tools and tactics emerge every single day, and it’s our job as cutting-edge professionals to stay as up to speed as possible. Daily digests like our SearchCap and Marketing Day can help keep us abreast of search, social and all-around digital marketing news as it happens, but as we enter into a new year, it can be insightful and inspiring to zoom waaaaay out and take a look at the stories our readers found most fascinating over the past 12 months.

This particular roundup, part of our annual year-in-review coverage, looks at the Search Engine Land stories that generated the most social engagement on Facebook and Twitter, that is, the most combined likes, favorites, shares, comments, retweets, replies — you name it, it was tallied. (We tip our hat to Simply Measured, a social analytics platform we used to gather these metrics!)

So, without further ado….

Search Engine Land’s Most Social Tweets Of 2015

For Twitter, total engagement points are defined as combined likes (favorites), retweets and replies. 

1. Research Reveals What It Takes To Rank In Mobile Search Results by Jayson DeMers, 10/20/15 – 202 engagement points

Research Reveals What It Takes To Rank In Mobile Search Results by @JaysonDeMers https://t.co/E7ElPHR2yw

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) October 20, 2015

2. FAQ: All About The New Google RankBrain Algorithm by Danny Sullivan, 10/27/15 – 164 engagement points

FAQ: All About The New Google RankBrain Algorithm by @dannysullivan https://t.co/EN5YUGsFDG #google #SEO

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) October 27, 2015

3. Site Redesign & Migration Tips To Avoid SEO & UX Disasters by Modestos Siotos, 12/8/15 – 164 engagement points

Site Redesign & Migration Tips To Avoid #SEO & #UX Disasters by @Modestos_ https://t.co/aE3JzCkYiB

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) December 8, 2015

4. Google Testing “Slow To Load” Warning Label In Mobile Search Results by Barry Schwartz, 6/15/15 – 145 engagement points

Google is testing a "Slow to load" yellow sign in mobile search results. http://t.co/BgmjlXnRHZ pic.twitter.com/ztfzHCJ9Yc

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) June 15, 2015

5. Mobilegeddon Checklist: How To Prepare For Today’s Google Mobile Friendly Update by Barry Schwartz, 4/21/15 – 142 engagement points

Mobilegeddon Checklist: How To Prepare For Today's Google Mobile Friendly Update by @RustyBrick http://t.co/kOd5Qj3gpT #Mobilegeddon

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) April 21, 2015

6. Keywords Are Back For Google Shopping Campaigns! by Daniel Gilbert, 9/23/15 – 133 engagement points

.@danielgilbert44 shares a new @adwords script for managing Google Shopping campaigns with keywords: http://t.co/z4mQ9SJUIy

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) September 23, 2015

7. Google Panda 4.2 Is Here; Slowly Rolling Out After Waiting Almost 10 Months by Barry Schwartz, 7/22/15 – 132 engagement points

Google Panda 4.2 Is Here; Slowly Rolling Out After Waiting Almost 10 Months by @rustybrick http://t.co/r3l0Hm6exM

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) July 22, 2015

8. The 7 Characteristics That Can Make A Link “Bad” For SEO by Jayson DeMers, 12/14/15 – 131 engagement points

These 7 characteristics can make a link "bad" for #SEO, says @JaysonDeMers: https://t.co/p9KH10wkaF

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) December 15, 2015

9. Infographic: Mobile SEO Tips To Help You Survive The Coming Google Mobilegeddon, 4/7/15 – 127 engagement points

Infographic: #Mobile #SEO Tips To Help You Survive The Coming @Google Mopocalypse http://t.co/96eEFNljHc

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) April 7, 2015

10. DuckDuckGo Surpasses 10 Million Daily Queries  by Barry Schwartz, 6/23/15 – 124 engagement points

.@DuckDuckGo hit a major milestone – 10 million daily queries: http://t.co/huAQMb7cOg pic.twitter.com/bNOlCpoQPZ

— Search Engine Land (@sengineland) June 23, 2015

Search Engine Land’s Most Social Facebook Posts Of 2015

For Facebook, total engagement points are defined as combined likes, comments and shares. 

1. Google Is Hiring An SEO Manager To Improve Its Rankings In Google, 7/15/15 – 1061 engagement points

2. Google Files Suit Against SEO Firm Accused Of Robocalling, Launches Complaint Center For Users, 9/16/15 – 1017 engagement points

3. Google Releases The Full Version Of Their Search Quality Rating Guidelines, 11/19/15 – 1017 engagement points

4. It’s Official: Google Says More Searches Now On Mobile Than On Desktop, 5/5/15 – 901 engagement points

5. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Update Is Rolling Out Right Now, 4/21/15 – 703 engagement points

6. Google To Begin To Index HTTPS Pages First, Before HTTP Pages When Possible, 12/17/15 – 690 engagement points

7. Is “Facebook Professional Services” Facebook’s Stealth Project To Beat Yelp? 12/15/15 – 672 engagement points

8. FAQ: All About The New Google RankBrain Algorithm, 10/27/15 – 637 engagement points

9. Worldwide, More Than Half Of Google’s Searches Happen On Mobile, 10/9/15 – 594 engagement points

10. Google Search Algorithm Adds Mobile-Friendly Factors & App Indexing To Ranking, 2/26/15 – 523 engagement points

Until next year!

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