Organic Food For Thought: Our Top All Things SEO Columns For 2015

It’s tough being an SEO practitioner. Every time you think you’ve got the best practices down, some new development comes along that forces you to change your tactics or adjust your strategy. From algorithm updates to SERP layout adjustments to new search features, optimizing a website for organic search can often feel like trying to hit a moving target.

That’s where our All Things SEO columnists come in. By sharing their insights and advice, columnists were able to help SEO newbies and veterans alike navigate the fast-changing organic search landscape throughout the year.

As with previous years, 2015 saw its fair share of major developments in the organic search world, each of which presented challenges as well as opportunities to search marketers.

In particular, we saw a huge shift in focus towards mobile this past year. On April 21, 2015, a day known within the tech world as “Mobilegeddon,” Google released an algorithm update which gave a rankings boost to “mobile friendly” pages in Google’s mobile search results. The mobile friendly update also gave greater visibility to app content within search results, which left search marketers eager to learn more about app indexing. Columns related to mobile search captured three of our top 10 spots this year.

Readers were also interested in “big picture” articles about Google. Two excellent thought pieces by Nate Dame, which focused largely on Google’s evolving relationship with the SEO community, each garnered enough page views to break into the top five All Things SEO columns for 2015. Both are essential reading for those who want to gain a broader perspective on the state of the industry.

Top honors went to Adam Audette’s piece, which explored how Google crawls and indexes JavaScript. Based on original research done by Merkle | RKG, this column offered concrete information on a topic which had previously been shrouded in mystery.

For these columns and more, check out our top 10 All Things SEO columns of 2015:

    We Tested How Googlebot Crawls JavaScript And Here’s What We Learned by Adam Audette, published on 5/8/15.
    Social Activity: Facebook 2498, Google+ 1357, LinkedIn 10925 Essential SEO Techniques To Master In 2015 by Jim Yu, published on 1/27/15.
    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.
    Social Activity: Facebook 1371, Google+ 526, LinkedIn 769They Fooled Us All: Why Google May No Longer Announce Major Algorithm Updates by Nate Dame, published on 3/27/15.
    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.
    Social Activity: Facebook 779, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 473App Indexing & The New Frontier of SEO: Apple Search + iOS App Indexing by Emily Grossman, published on 7/6/15.
    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.
    Social Activity: Facebook 1276, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 717Research Reveals What It Takes To Rank In Mobile Search Results by Jayson DeMers, published on 10/20/15.
    Social Activity: Facebook 1917, Google+ 206, LinkedIn 557Mobilegeddon Is Beginning, Not Ending by Bryson Meunier, published on 5/7/15.
    Social Activity: Facebook 662, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 6207 Key SEO Activities That Can Now Be Automated by Aleyda Solis, published on 6/25/15.
    Social Activity: Facebook 1225, Google+ 298, LinkedIn 644

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

PPC Paydirt: Check Out Our Top Paid Search Columns Of 2015!

The past year has seen many interesting developments in the paid search world. Google released TrueView for Shopping ads, giving advertisers the ability to feature their products alongside their TrueView in-stream video ads. Yahoo’s Gemini platform expanded its reach to Yahoo’s desktop search results this year, giving marketers another platform in which to invest their paid search efforts. AdWords also released a handful of exciting new features in 2015, including Customer Match and Call-Only ads.

Yet despite all these new developments, readers on this site seemed most interested in columns that focused on broader topics related to account and campaign management. Frederick Vallaeys’ piece on how to be successful with AdWords, in which he provided a comprehensive checklist for managing campaigns, was the top paid search column this year.

Tactical pieces that garnered the highest interest were largely focused not on new features, but rather on perfecting the basics (such as retargeting and conversion rate optimization). As the industry as a whole matures, its practitioners are also becoming more advanced — and they’re looking for ways to take their PPC performance to the next level. The fact that AdWords scripts became a hot topic in 2015 is further proof of this.

For more expert insights and practical, actionable advice in the world of PPC, check out our top 10 paid search columns in 2015:

    The Secret To AdWords Success, Told By A Former Googler by Frederick Vallaeys, published on 1/21/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 686, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 100Here’s An AdWords Script That Lets You Optimize Bids Every Hour Of The Day by Daniel Gilbert, published on 1/13/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 622, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 7How To Track Your AdWords Competitors Over Time Using Auction Insights by Daniel Gilbert, published on 4/8/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 302, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 2Site Speed & PPC Performance: Why You Can’t Ignore A Slow Site Anymore by Pauline Jakober, published on 1/26/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 608, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 1310 Things People Want To Know About AdWords, Direct From Google by Matt Lawson, published on 11/5/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 924, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 12Most Googled Products On The Planet In One Epic Map by Larry Kim, published on 7/16/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 381, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 113 Crazy PPC CRO Hacks To Boost Conversion Rates Right Now by Larry Kim, published on 5/29/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 367, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 6The Minimum Quality Score That Can Save You Money In AdWords by Frederick Vallaeys, published on 8/5/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 287, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 410 Top Retargeting Tips For AdWords Users by Rebekah Schelfhout, published on 6/23/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 580, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 100Why You Should Be Using Google Analytics Smart Lists For Remarketing by Rebekah Schelfhout, published on 5/26/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 395, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 8

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

Locally Sourced: Search Engine Land's Top 10 Local Search Columns Of 2015

Search engine optimization (SEO) is important for any business with an online presence — but for those that serve a specific geographical area, it’s crucial. While the basic tenets of traditional SEO do indeed apply to local businesses, the fact is that local search is its own beast, and it requires a particular set of skills.

Optimizing a local business website for search engines requires some additional work that goes beyond traditional SEO, and our readers took a particular interest in tactical pieces this year, from how to do local content marketing to how to structure local landing pages. Matthew Barby’s comprehensive guide to local SEO was by far the most widely read local search column on Search Engine Land in 2015, serving as both an excellent starting point for newbies and a handy refresher for veterans in the space.

Google threw local search marketers for a loop earlier this year when it made some changes to how local results are displayed, getting rid of the 7-pack in favor of a more condensed, more mobile-friendly 3-pack. While this change may have created a better user experience for searchers, many local businesses were left with questions — and Jason Decker’s piece provided some much-needed insight into the implications of this new display format for searchers and businesses alike.

Finally, in addition to learning about what to do for local SEO, readers were just as concerned about what not to do. Four of the top 10 columns this year were focused on mistakes to avoid when performing local search engine optimization.

Following are the top 10 Local Search columns published on Search Engine Land in 2015.

    Local SEO: How To Rank Your Local Business by Matthew Barby, published on 4/22/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 710, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 43This Small Business Redesigned Its Website & You Won’t Believe What Horrible SEO Thing Happened Next by Andrew Shotland, published on 1/19/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 539, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 910 Common Mistakes To Avoid On Local Websites by Greg Gifford, published on 2/2/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 903, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 22The New Google Local Search Display by Jason Decker, published on 9/21/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 748, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 15Local SEO Landing Pages 2.0 by Marcus Miller, published on 6/12/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 619, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 25Local Content Silos: The Secret To Local Search Success by Greg Gifford, published on 6/22/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 319, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 9The 16 Secrets Of Guerrilla Local SEO by Marcus Miller, published on 8/7/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 790, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 196 Local SEO Stats Every Online Marketer Needs To Know by Jayson DeMers, published on 8/13/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 818, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 10Top 5 Issues Wrecking Local SEO For Multi-Location Businesses by Marcus Miller, published on 7/10/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 636, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 27How Not To Do Local SEO In A Post-Pigeon Era by Neil Patel, published on 5/1/15.
    Social activity: Facebook 720, Google+ 0, LinkedIn 10

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

Search Engine Land's Top 10 News Stories Of 2015: Google's Quality Update, Mobilegeddon, RankBrain & More

If there was one buzzword that permeated the world of online search in 2015, it was “mobilegeddon.”

Google’s decision to begin ranking mobile-friendly web pages higher in its mobile search results made news across marketing and tech websites, as well as in numerous traditional media outlets. Mobilegeddon wasn’t the most-read single news article of the year here on Search Engine Land, but it does have two of the top 10 spots — and another story about the growth of mobile search also makes our list.

Unlike 2014, which was dominated by Google’s animal-themed updates, only one of this year’s top 10 stories was about Panda, Penguin or Pigeon. Replacing those? The Quality Update, RankBrain, and even a couple of Google Doodle articles.

Between now and the end of the year, we’ll be looking back at the most-read articles and columns we published in 2015. Recaps from our SEO- and PPC-related columns will start to arrive tomorrow, 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 2015

This list is based on page views and includes news stories published between January 1 and December 19, 2015.

1.) Love Quotes & Tech-Themed Valentine’s Day Google Logos Help Searchers Get In The Mood

Amy Gesenhues, February 14: “Google is spreading the love today with five animated Valentine’s Day-themed Doodles and quick answer romantic quotes from writers like Sylvia Plath, Carson McCullers, e.e. cummings, Maya Angelou, Jane Austen, Dr. Seuss and more.”

2.) The Quality Update: Google Confirms Changing How Quality Is Assessed, Resulting In Rankings Shake-Up

Barry Schwartz, May 19: “It’s not your imagination. Google’s results have changed since the beginning of this month, and Google’s officially confirmed to Search Engine Land that this is due to a change with how it assesses content quality. Call it ‘The Quality Update,’ if you will.”

3.) FAQ: All About The New Google RankBrain Algorithm

Danny Sullivan, October 27: “Among those can be complex, multi-word queries, also called ‘long-tail’ queries. RankBrain is designed to help better interpret those queries and effectively translate them, behind the scenes in a way, to find the best pages for the searcher. As Google told us, it can see patterns between seemingly unconnected complex searches to understand how they’re actually similar to each other.”

4.) Google Panda 4.2 Is Here; Slowly Rolling Out After Waiting Almost 10 Months

Barry Schwartz, July 22: “The rollout means anyone who was penalized by Panda in the last update has a chance to emerge if they made the right changes. So if you were hit by Panda, you unfortunately won’t notice the full impact immediately, but you should see changes in your organic rankings gradually over time. This is not how many of the past Panda updates rolled out, where typically you’d see a significant increase or decline in your Google traffic more quickly.”

5.) Mobilegeddon Checklist: How To Prepare For This Week’s Google Mobile Friendly Update

Barry Schwartz, April 20: “Early tests show that it can take anywhere from a few hours to over 72 hours if you do everything right for Google to show your web pages as mobile friendly. I would not be surprised if large sites can take up to a month to be displayed as fully mobile friendly.”

6.) Google Is Hiring An SEO Manager To Improve Its Rankings In Google

Barry Schwartz, July 15: “Google is hiring an SEO manager, based on a recent job posting on the Google Careers portal. The job listing is for a ‘Program Manager, Search Engine Optimization.’ The description of the job makes it clear that this is about marketing…”

7.) Mobilegeddon Cometh: New Google “Mobile Friendly Update” To Reward Sites Beginning April 21

Barry Schwartz, February 26: “Google said that on April 21, 2015, Google’s mobile ranking factors will not only label your site as mobile-friendly, but will also use that to determine if your site should rank higher in the search results. Google said this algorithmic change will have a ‘significant impact’ in the mobile search results, impacting all languages worldwide.”

8.) Independence Day USA Google Logo Reflects Timeless Fourth of July Traditions

Amy Gesenhues, July 4: “Today’s Google Doodle by Brian Kaas celebrates Independence Day with a classic Fourth of July scene: aluminum lawn chairs, a cooler and flip-flops.”

9.) Google Releases The Full Version Of Their Search Quality Rating Guidelines

Barry Schwartz, November 19: “Google’s Mimi Underwood said that ‘ratings from evaluators do not determine individual site rankings, but are used to help us understand our experiments.’ She added, ‘The evaluators base their ratings on guidelines we give them; the guidelines reflect what Google thinks search users want.’”

10.) It’s Official: Google Says More Searches Now On Mobile Than On Desktop

Greg Sterling, May 5: “With this revelation that mobile search has now overtaken desktop search we get a bit more color and context for the recent mobile-friendly algorithm update. I’ve been arguing for well over a year that mobile is now the ‘primary screen’ for marketers. That now extends to search marketers as well.”

So there you have it — 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 2015 on Marketing Land, our sister site. Tomorrow, 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 2015. Happy holidays to you and best wishes for 2016!

The Social Side Of Search Engine Land: Our Top 25 Most Shared Stories Of 2014

Well, dear readers, here we are! The last day of 2014 has arrived, and in a few short hours (depending on your timezone), the New Year will unfold before us.

Whether you’ve been following along with our news stories for the past 12 months or quickly brought yourself up to speed with our ongoing Most Popular Stories series here on Search Engine Land, you’ve no doubt noticed that this year has been a pretty eventful one for our industry. (Understatement of the century?)

Over the past few days, we’ve explored the year’s most popular SEO evolutions, paid search articles, link building lessons, and everything in between. Now, however, we want to shift the focus a bit, zoom out to a bigger picture, and head over to the social side of things.

A fascinating takeaway from our SMX conference series this year was the concept of a hierarchy of social engagement. Within this hierarchy, likes and favorites are treated as “pretty cool,” comments are considered better, and shares are regarded as a supreme achievement.

Put simply, shares are where it’s at. More than likes and comments, they serve to validate that the content you’ve created is worth something, so much so that people feel compelled to, well, share it with their personal circle of contacts. That’s amazing.

So, across the invaluable cornerstones of our work and our professional lives — SEO, SEM, links, etc. — which stories did you, our readers, share the most?

Let’s find out…

Search Engine Land’s Most Shared Stories Of 2014

    It’s Over: The Rise & Fall Of Google Authorship For Search Results by Eric Enge. Published on 8/28/14. 13.6K shares across all platforms.Google Releases Penguin 3.0 — First Penguin Update In Over A Year by Barry Schwartz. Published on 10/19/14. 9.1K social shares across all platforms.Experiment Shows Up To 60% Of “Direct” Traffic Is Actually Organic Search by Gene McKenna. Published on 5/8/14. 5.3K shares across all platforms.Facebook Search Finally Lets You Search For Posts Again by Martin Beck. Published on 12/8/14. 4.5K social shares across all platforms.Google Analytics Rolls Out New Tag Manager Tools by Amy Gesenhues. Published on 10/15/14. 4.4K social shares across all platforms.Google Starts Giving A Ranking Boost To Secure HTTPS/SSL Sites by Barry Schwartz. Published on 8/7/14. 4K social shares across all platforms.How To Write A Meta Description That Gets Click-Throughs by Neil Patel. Published on 11/26/14. 3.7K social shares across all platforms.How To Win At SEO & Content Marketing In 2015 by Nate Dame. Published on 11/7/14. 3.6K social shares across all platforms.37 Awesome Tools To Get The Most From Your SEO Campaigns by Matthew Barby. Published on 11/5/14. 3.1K shares across all platforms.Pinterest SEO: 7 Tips From A Pinterest Engineer [#SMX] by Martin Beck. Published on 10/3/14. 2.8K social shares across all platforms.Google Keyword Planner Now Shows Conversion Estimates by Ginny Marvin. Published on 11/20/14. 2.7K social shares across all platforms.Google Says Penguin To Shift To “Continuous Updates” by Barry Schwartz. Published on 12/20/14. 2.7K social shares across all platforms.Was Your Site Hit By Google’s Panda Or Penguin? This Flowchart May Help You Find Out. by Janet Driscoll Miller. Published on 12/4/14. 2.5K social shares across all platforms.Facebook Launches New Places Directory by Greg Sterling. Published 11/12/14. 2.5K social shares across all platforms.Facebook Drops Bing From Facebook Search Results by Martin Beck. Published on 12/12/14. 2.5K social shares across all platforms.Learning SEO From Google Employees by Chris Marentis. Published on 11/24/14. 2.5K social shares across all platforms.4 Easy & Honest SEO Mistakes That Could Penalize Your Site by Neil Patel. Published on 11/14/14. 2.4K social shares across all platforms.Advanced SEO Experiments: Google’s Title Tag Changes by Tom Schmitz. Published on 4/25/14. 2.4K shares across all platforms.These 10 Analytics Reports Will Improve Your AdWords Results by Frederick Vallaeys. Published on 8/13/14. 2.3K shares across all platforms.Simple Tips To Set The Stage For Local SEO In 2015 by Greg Gifford. Published on 11/10/14. 2.3K social shares across all platforms.The 4 Hardest Parts Of SEO by Eric Enge. Published on 12/8/14. 2.3K social shares across all platforms.Google Analytics Begins To Roll Out New Benchmark Reports by Amy Gesenhues. Published on 9/10/14. 2.2K social shares across all platforms.Google Penguin 3.0: Worldwide Rollout Still In Process, Impacting 1% Of English Queries by Barry Schwartz. Published on 10/21/14. 2.2K social shares across all platforms.The Decade Is Half-Over: Where SEO Has Been & Where It’s Going by Tom Schmitz. Published on 12/5/14. 2.1K social shares across all platforms.4 Revealing Facts About How Consumers Search And Buy Online by Nathan Safran. Published on 4/3/14. 2K social shares across all platforms.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Methodology: For this roundup, we used Social Crawlytics, a free tool that analyzes each URL of a site to show how it’s been shared across top social sites. It’s a super useful tool to capture social plugin data and illuminate how  content resonates socially.

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

Search Engine Land's Top 10 Columns Of 2014

New Year’s Eve is typically regarded as a time of reflection — and so, in the spirit of being appropriately festive, we here at Search Engine Land would like to take a moment to reflect back upon the industry’s most significant moments of 2014.

Animals whose names begin with “P” were popular this year. We saw a refresh of Google’s spam-fighting Penguin algorithm and two updates to the Panda algorithm, which targets sites with thin and low-quality content. We also witnessed the release of a new search algorithm, Pigeon, which sought to improve Google’s local search results.

Google Shopping was rolled out to all users. HTTPS became a ranking signal. Quality Score documentation was updated. Mobile-friendliness grew ever more crucial to visibility within search results.

And let us not forget those we lost this year. Guest Blogging. Authorship. Product Listing Ads. Exact Match Targeting. Duane Forrester (temporarily).

Search Engine Land’s staff writers covered these breaking news stories in depth, while our incredible team of guest columnists supplemented this coverage by offering up their insights, tips, opinions, advice and predictions.

What follows are our most popular columns of 2014. If you missed them the first time around, take a moment to give them a read!

    It’s Over: The Rise & Fall Of Google Authorship For Search Results by Eric Enge. Published on 8/28/14. 13.6K shares across all platforms.Does Google Have A Secret “Translate” Service & Why Should Search Marketers Care? by Ariel Hochstadt. Published on 4/29/14. 1.2K shares across all platforms.Experiment Shows Up To 60% Of “Direct” Traffic Is Actually Organic Search by Gene McKenna. Published on 5/8/14. 5.3K shares across all platforms.Single Page Websites & SEO by Tom Schmitz. Published on 1/31/14. 1.2K shares across all platforms.Prioritizing SEO Strategies In 2014: Where To Focus by Warren Lee. Published on 2/14/14. 2K shares across all platforms.Why Did Google’s Pigeon Poop All Over Big Local Brands? by Andrew Shotland. Published on 10/27/14. 1.1K shares across all platforms.A Former Googler’s Routine For AdWords Management by Frederick Vallaeys. Published on 1/24/14. 892 shares across all platforms.37 Awesome Tools To Get The Most From Your SEO Campaigns by Matthew Barby. Published on 11/5/14. 3.1 shares across all platforms.Advanced SEO Experiments: Google’s Title Tag Changes by Tom Schmitz. Published on 4/25/14. 2.4K shares across all platforms.These 10 Analytics Reports Will Improve Your AdWords Results by Frederick Vallaeys. Published on 8/13/14. 2.3K shares across all platforms.

Happy New Year, readers! We hope to see you all back in 2015.

Methodology: Columns published in 2014 are ranked in order of pageviews measured by Google Analytics. Data were gathered on December 4 and include all columns published through December 3, 2014.

All Things SEO: Our Top 10 Organic Search Columns For 2014

All Things SEO is by far our most widely read column here on Search Engine Land, and our columnists have worked hard all year to provide a wide variety of helpful SEO content for our readers.

While many in the organic search community turned to these industry experts for their insights regarding major SEO developments this year — such as the Penguin 3.0 rollout and Panda updates 4.0 and 4.1 — it seems that readers were most interested in actionable advice that they could apply to their own campaigns.

Our most popular columns included many tactical and strategic pieces that run the gamut from basic to advanced, covering topics like how to write good meta descriptions, how to integrate Bing into your organic search strategy, and which tools to use in your daily work.

Readers were also very interested in forward-thinking pieces, suggesting that the industry as a whole is maturing — rather than scrambling to recover from unexpected changes in the search landscape, SEOs spent their time planning ahead and preparing for the future.

Without further ado, here are our most popular All Things SEO columns of 2014:

    Does Google Have A Secret “Translate” Service & Why Should Search Marketers Care? by Ariel Hochstadt. Published on 4/29/14. 1.2K social shares across all platforms.Single Page Websites & SEO by Tom Schmitz. Published on 1/21/14. 1.2K social shares across all platforms.Prioritizing SEO Strategies In 2014: Where To Focus by Warren Lee. Published on 2/14/14. 2K social shares across all platforms.37 Awesome Tools To Get The Most From Your SEO Campaigns by Matthew Barby. Published on 11/5/14. 3.1k social shares across all platforms.Advanced SEO Experiments: Google’s Title Tag Changes by Tom Schmitz. Published on 4/25/14. 4k social shares across all platforms.4 Easy & Honest SEO Mistakes That Could Penalize Your Site by Neil Patel. Published on 11/13/14. 2.2 social shares across all platforms.Penguin: Google’s Punitive Algorithm – And A Call To Google To Fix It by Eric Enge. Published on 7/30/14. 1.8 social shares across all platforms.The Bing Dilemma: What To Do With The Little Search Engine That Can’t by Nathan Safran. Published on 1/9/14. 583 social shares across all platforms.How To Write A Meta Description That Gets Click-Throughs by Neil Patel. Published on 11/26/14. 3.6k social shares across all platforms.Expert Insights On The Future Of SEO, Part 2 by Trond Lyngbø. Published on 9/11/14. 1.5k social shares across all platforms.

Methodology: Columns published in 2014 are ranked in order of pageviews measured by Google Analytics. Data was gathered on December 4 and include all columns published through December 3, 2014.

Quality (Score) PPC Content: Our Top 10 Paid Search Columns For 2014

This past year brought many developments in search engine marketing (SEM), and our Paid Search columnists provided insights, tips and advice for adapting to these various changes.

Search marketers briefly panicked when Google announced in April that it would be removing search query data from ad click referrer strings, fearing that this would mean the loss of keyword data in AdWords altogether. However, we soon learned that this was not the case (thanks in big part to our Paid Search columnists!) and calmed down.

Over the summer, Google Shopping campaigns officially replaced Product Listing Ads (PLAs) after a long transition period. We also lost true exact match targeting in AdWords when Google announced that advertisers could no longer de-select close variants.

Paid search marketers were interested in these topics and more. In case you missed them, check out our top 10 paid search columns of 2014:

    A Former Googler’s Routine For AdWords Management by Frederick Vallaeys. Published on 1/24/14. 892 social shares across all platforms.An AdWords Script To Make Exact Match, Well…Exact by Daniel Gilbert. Published on 9/29/14. 1.4K social shares across all platforms.What’s A Good PPC Account Structure, Anyway? by Sam Owen. Published on 9/5/14. 1.6K social shares across all platforms.Not Provided Comes To Paid Search: What Will The Impact Be? by George Michie. Published on 4/9/14. 1.1K social shares across all platforms.7 Hidden Features In AdWords To Make Your Life Easier by Frederick Vallaeys. Published on 9/10/14. 1.5K social shares across all platforms.The Real Reason AdWords Isn’t Working For Many Small Businesses by Larry Kim. Published on 2/27/14. 1.1K social shares across all platforms.This AdWords MCC Script Will Save You An Hour Every Day! by Frederick Vallaeys. Published on 4/24/14. 635 social shares across all platforms.What Marketers Need To Know About The New AdWords Quality Score by Larry Kim. Published on 7/11/14. 1.2K social shares across all platforms.Are You Ready For The New Google Shopping Campaigns? by Rick Backus. Published on 2/3/14. 716 social shares across all platforms.Will Ask.com Google Arbitrage Ever Stop? by Susan Waldes. Published on 9/22/14. 886 social shares across all platforms.

Methodology: Columns published in 2014 are ranked in order of pageviews measured by Google Analytics. Data was gathered on December 4 and include all columns published through December 3, 2014.

Mapping It Out: Our Top 10 Local Search Columns For 2014

Consumers have grown increasingly reliant on the web for discovering local businesses and determining which ones to patronize. In fact, a survey conducted by BrightLocal earlier this year revealed that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, underscoring the need for businesses to build and optimize an online presence.

Local business owners and search marketers responded to this trend accordingly, eager to roll up their sleeves and get to work. This was evidenced by the fact that many of our top columns in 2014 were tactical, providing readers with practical tips and advice for improving their local search campaigns.

Perhaps the biggest curveball of the year for those in the local search space came in late July, when Google released its new local search algorithm, which we dubbed “Pigeon.” The Pigeon update changed the way rankings were calculated for local search results, and readers turned to our expert local SEO columnists to help them understand its impact.

In case you missed them during the year, be sure to check out our top 10 Local Search columns of 2014:

    Why Did Google’s Pigeon Poop All Over Big Local Brands? by Andrew Shotland. Published on 10/27/14. 1.1K social shares across all platforms.Learning SEO From Google Employees by Chris Marentis. Published on 11/24/14. 2.4K social shares across all platforms.One Positive Pigeon Result: We Can Finally Ditch Ranking Reports by Greg Gifford. Published on 9/15/14. 1.6K social shares across all platforms.6 Local Tips For Small Business SEO Success by Wesley Young. Published on 2/3/14. 2.1K social shares across all platforms.Simple Tips To Set The Stage For Local SEO In 2015 by Greg Gifford. Published on 11/10/14. 2.2K social shares across all platforms.12 Things To Check In Your Local Homepage SEO Audit by Chris Silver Smith. Published on 10/6/14. 1.9K social shares across all platforms.Why “Barnacle SEO” Is Making A Big Comeback In Local by David Mihm. Published on 3/26/14. 1.9K social shares across all platforms.5 Tips To Kill The Competition In Local Search by Jason Decker. Published on 2/5/14. 1.3K social shares across all platforms.Post-Pigeon Best Practice: How To Optimize For Internet Yellow Pages & Directories by Chris Silver Smith. Published on 9/8/14. 1.3K social shares across all platforms.Simple Math To Show Potential Clients Why Local SEO Is Important by Greg Gifford. Published on 10/13/14. 1.7K social shares across all platforms.

Methodology: Columns published in 2014 are ranked in order of pageviews measured by Google Analytics. Data were gathered on December 4 and include all columns published through December 3, 2014.

Useful Links For Link Builders: Our Top 10 Link Week Columns For 2014

When Google’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, kicked off 2014 by denouncing guest blogging as a link building strategy, link builders knew they were going to be in for an interesting year.

And indeed they were right. We saw major brands like Expedia and eBay get hit with manual penalties, and many speculated that these were related to spammy link building practices. Google also released Penguin 3.0, the sixth update to its spam-filtering algorithm which targets (among other things) websites with “unnatural” backlink profiles.

All this news led to increased anxiety among link builders, as evidenced by our most popular Link Week columns this year. Three of the top 10 articles addressed concerns that link building was dead or dying — or, at the very least, a waste of time. Readers also wanted more information on how to avoid penalties, both by practicing ethical link building and protecting themselves against negative SEO.

For that information and more, check out Search Engine Land’s top link building columns of 2014:

    11 Reasons Link Building Is A Futile Waste Of Time — And One Big Reason It Isn’t by Eric Ward. Published on 1/29/14. 1.3K social shares across all platforms.Google’s Matt Cutts: Link Building Is Sweat Plus Creativity by Jon Ball. Published on 7/25/14. 1.4K social shares across all platforms.Yahoo Says Goodbye, ZEEF Says Hello by Eric Ward. Published on 10/7/14. 950 social shares across all platforms.Will Link Building Soon Be A Thing Of The Past? by Casie Gillette. Published on 1/25/14. 1.4K social shares across all platforms.Negative SEO From Links — What Can You Do If You’re Hit? by John Lincoln. Published on 5/20/14. 1K social shares across all platforms.Preparing For The Link Apocalypse That May Or May Not Be Coming by Nate Dame. Published on 1/3/14. 1.2K social shares across all platforms.Why SEOs Need To Stop Automating Email Outreach For Links by Matthew Barby. Published on 10/8/14. 1.1K social shares across all platforms.Food For Thought About Link Building: Some Tasty Tidbits by Eric Ward. Published on 4/22/14. 630 social shares across all platforms.21 Link Building Ideas That Have Nothing To Do With Guest Posting by Erin Everhart. Published on 11/18/14. 1.4K social shares across all platforms.8 Small Tweaks That Can Deliver Big Link Building Results by Erin Everhart. Published on 7/29/14. 904 social shares across all platforms.

Methodology: Columns published in 2014 are ranked in order of pageviews measured by Google Analytics. Data were gathered on December 4 and include all columns published through December 3, 2014.