SEO is an ever-evolving, ever-changing medium. Google reportedly changes their search algorithms upwards of 600 times every single year. Though many of these are insignificant and will not affect the effectiveness of your SEO, there are some major changes that are happening right now that could change how well your search engine optimization works. Here are seven of the most important changes Google has made to their algorithm:

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1.      Cracking down on penalties. Though penalties are still the least-understood portion of Google’s algorithm, Google is make serious strides to ensure that those who break the rules—especially those who break the rules repeatedly, do not maintain a positive ranking. For example, if you buy links, word-stuff websites, or use any other tactic deemed “black hat” by Google, you are going to get a warning, and then a ban.

 2.      New rich snippets. What is a rich snippet? When you search for a keyword, many website links will pop up with a picture of the author and a snippet about them—once they’ve joined the ranks of Google authors. What this means for your website right now is that you need to incorporate useful, attractive pictures, as they are what will likely spring up once rich snippets take effect.

 3.      Indepth results more important now than ever. Google is putting a strong emphasis on whether or not websites are authoritative and useful. That means that websites labeled as in-depth are given more clout that those that are not. But how can you incorporate that into your website? Start with authoritative content, apply for a Google authorship, and make sure your articles and content are informative and deep.

 4.      App content approaching the same level as page content. Google has now given special dispensation to apps, indexing their content just like any other content. What does this mean for your business? If you do not already have an app, consider getting one developed as soon as possible. This will be just another place to promote your company.

 5.      Watch out for PageRank. Without announcing the update, PageRank was spontaneously improved at the end of last year, after a year of dormancy. You can now use it again to see how well your keywords are doing and track your page’s authority.

 6.      Here comes semantic search. You have probably already noticed this in your personal searches, but Google is becoming even more complex and helpful than ever. You no longer have to eliminate conjunctions and articles from your keywords in order to make them effective. This is big news for SEO, as the emphasis continues to turn towards the value of the content, rather than keyword density.

 7.      Too much linking could be your downfall. Google is now flagging pages that have more than one hundred external links. Not only does this make it difficult for Google to index the page, but it looks like spam.

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