2015 Year in Review

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It’s been a bit since I last posted – nearly 3 months in fact. Been wicked busy and my brain has been focused on learning the ins and outs of my new gig. This post won’t be anything ground breaking but should be fun.

I figured I should write a 2015 wrap up post since there was a good amount happening last year, not only in Local SEO, but to me as well. Let’s just jump right in with some of the bigger happenings.

Google rolled out a Local 3 Pack mid-way through the year. They also introduced Local Knowledge Panels, One Boxes, Paid Ads in the Local Snack Pack, the ability to book a room in the Knowledge Panel and a Local Finder among many other changes.

From the standpoint of this website, it was a big year. It was my first full year blogging about SEO, I started to gain notoriety within the SEO Big Players Club and several of those Players published news I broke. My first break, in June, was news that Google was un-verifying listings in GMB accounts if they were to sit inactive. This was obviously huge news and created a bit of a stir for those who work in GMB often. After Mike Blumenthal received word back from Google, he wrote a good recap of the changes. SEL picked it up as well.

A month later, I wrote about GMB errors and why listings were marked as “Disabled” in the bulk feed. This was also something new which Google began implementing. You’ll see a pattern there.

Fast forward another month and Google dropped a huge bomb in Local going from the traditional 7 pack of listings to a Local 3 Pack. I spent a better portion of a month attempting to figure out who/what/when/where/why/how businesses get into the new Pack. The Pack was/is a mess and the initial results the Local community had were guesses at best. In addition to the Local 3 pack, Google rolled out the Local Finder and that was just as big of a mess. Pictures seemed sloppy, information was messy and it seemed Google did what they typically do with Algo updates, rolled it out and attempted to make fixes on the fly. The results are still bad in some industries but many of the issues are fixed.

I was seeing terrible results in the Local 3 Pack when analyzing the insurance industry so I thought I would take it to another level. I wrote a massive (3400 words) post trying to make sense of it all. I couldn’t find a pattern in the data and boldly claimed that big brands were being forced out of the Pack, a claim I still believe. The feedback I received on the article varied widely though none of the SEO’s who reached out really had an answer. The post is good food for thought anyway.

Just before Halloween, I found a different, exciting challenge and let go of the corporate gig for a small company with tons of potential. So far so good on that end.

Thanks for sticking around and taking the time to read my posts and rants. It was a fun year, I learned a bunch, continue to learn more and am meeting awesome people along the way. I plan to continue posting as much as I can, though it may be less than a post per month pending time. I have a feeling my 2016 is going to be bigger than my impressive 2015 and I’m looking forward to it.

As always, feel free to hit me up if you have any SEO questions or just want to chat.

Til next time…