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No matter what you personally think about Google, there are two undeniable facts about the massive company. They are the number one source of online searches by a wide margin, and they are constantly changing. Trying to keep track of all the individual updates from Google can be dizzying. It seems every time you are almost adjusted to one change, there is a new update popping up.

But, following the changes over at Google is important for anyone running a website. There are some pretty clear patterns in Google’s updates over the past year, and if you want your website to be successful through 2014, you will need to be prepared for the types of changes on the horizon.

To assist you in reviewing the changes from last year, E2M Solutions produced an infographic that covers a few of the most important updates on Google Search during 2013. As you might expect, Penguin and Panda are both big parts of the infographic. But, there are also some less known search updates such as Google Hummingbird.

The infographic isn’t perfect however. Search Engine Land points out that Hummingbird was not rolled out on August 20, 2013, as it is listed. Also, “Link Devaluation” has never been confirmed by Google, and thus it is only speculation. It is arguably pretty clear that links have lost some of their power in the past year, but it can be debated how that was actually implemented.

You can view the infographic below, or over at E2M’s website.

 11-Most-Important-Google-Algorithm-Changes-2013

2014The New Year is here and many are already looking forward, making resolutions and formulating predictions about the year to come. But, we can’t know what is going to look for in the future without looking back at 2013. The past year brought big changes to online marketing thanks to some big revisions in Google’s policies and the ever-changing world of design.

Whether you spent the past year doing the Harlem Shake or actively following all the notable blogs to keep your site up to the latest standards, you might want to refresh yourself on the big events and articles from the past year. With that in mind, we thought we would share our most popular posts from 2013. You can remind yourself what mattered in 2013, and see what might be important in 2014.

Our Most Viewed Posts

Mandela 2008

Nelson Mandela in 2008
Source: WikiMedia Commons

Not to be outdone by Bing, Google published their top ten lists of the year, centered around their list of global trending searches of 2013 and their annual “Year-End Zeitgeist” page. The list is dominated by public figures and huge events, but it also features a few entries from popular electronics released this year. However, unlike many other lists, the public figures are exclusively male, and mostly associated with tragedy.

Both Paul Walker and Cory Monteith, two star actors who passed at young ages, are on the list, and the highest ranked trending search of the year was awarded to Nelson Mandela, the recently deceased South African leader who has made such a huge impact on his home country and around the world. As Google says:

It’s perhaps unsurprising that the #1 trending search of 2013 was an international symbol of strength and peace: Nelson Mandela. Global search interest in the former President of South Africa was already high this year, and after his passing, people from around the world turned to Google to learn more about Madiba and his legacy.

Google’s Top 10 Trending Global Searches of 2013:

  • Nelson Mandela
  • Paul Walker
  • iPhone 5s
  • Cory Monteith
  • Harlem Shake
  • Boston Marathon
  • Royal Baby
  • Samsung Galaxy s4
  • PlayStation 4
  • North Korea

Along with their Trending Global Searches list, Google published their Year-End Zeitgeist page, which lists more than 1,000 top ten search lists from over 70 countries. It includes topics such as the most searched celebrity pregnancies (Kim Kardashian), most searched Fortune 500 (Google), most searched for movies (Man of Steel), and the most searched TV shows of the year (Breaking Bad).

Of course, Miley Cyrus made a serious impact in search after her notorious MTV VMA performance, by contributing to the most searched “What is…?” question, which was “What is twerking?” She also won the most searched person of the year, showing controversy always leads to a surge of interest.

To top it all of, Google released a video to spotlight all of the highlights of the year:

OldSpice BabyEvery brand wants their commercials to go viral, but how do you connect with viewers on the internet? It might seem like common knowledge, but the best way to get users searching for your commercial is comedy. At least, according to Bing Ads’ list of most searched for ad campaigns it is.

Just as with their recent list of 2013 search trends, Bing Ads has put together the most searched for ad campaigns of the last year, as well as the most popular brand searches on Bing in 2013. Perhaps unsurprisingly Old Spice took top billing with its “Baby” as starring Terry Crews, as well as their more surreal “Watermelon” ad, viewable below.

http://youtu.be/hfiiWGWhB9g

Despite mostly dominating the top 10, humor wasn’t the only thing internet viewers looked for in commercials. The third most popular commercial was from Skype’s “Stay Together” campaign, and GoPro’s “Fireman Saves Kitten” also closed out the list. Notably, two of the ads – Chrysler Ram Truck’s ad and GoDaddy’s “The Kiss” – originally appeared during this year’s Super Bowl.

Bing Ad’s Most Searched Advertising Campaigns of 2013

  1. ‘Baby’ and ‘Watermelon’ – OldSpice
  2. Baby & Me – Evian
  3. Stay Together – Skype
  4. Show Your Joe – Kmart
  5. Hump Day – Geico
  6. The Kiss: Bar Rafaeli’s Perfect Match! – GoDaddy
  7. ‘Grandma’ and ‘Werewolf’ – AT&T
  8. Test Drive – Pepsi MAX
  9. The Year of the Farmer – Chrysler Ram Truck
  10. Fireman Saves Kitten – GoPro

Bing didn’t stop with just the most popular ad campaigns though. They also collected the most searched for brands of the year, organized by their market. Ebay was the most popular shopping network, followed by Amazon, while Ford came out the winner for automobiles. You can see the rest below:

Most Searched For Brands 2013

Source: Flickr

Typography lagged behind a lot of innovation online for years because of constrictions on font use. Text on the internet relied on a few fonts that would be on almost every visitor’s computer, and even then you were doubly limited by text legibility. Web-safe fonts opened the doors a little for designers, but they also created their own set of unique problems.

It hasn’t been until just recently that creative typography became easily achievable and widespread online thanks to a few technological jumps. Higher display resolutions, more control over text, and the wonderful @font-face implementation has made typography not just a creative flourish, but a necessary concern when trying to make a gorgeous site.

Whether or not this is related to the burst in popularity for typography in design as a whole is hard to tell, but it is hard to deny that while the internet has been making typography easier, more traditional designers have also been enjoying a renaissance for calligraphy and innovative use of text.

Paula Borowska is as big of a typography lover as I am, and she agrees that 2013 is going to be huge for online typography. She predicted the typography trends for this year over at Designmodo, and it is interesting to see how many of her predictions are parallel with the wider trends for web design at the moment. The first trend she mentions, an increased utilization of white or negative space, has been on every web design list for this year, and it is hard to deny that eye-popping use of text has helped push minimalistic design to new heights recently.

SEO changed so much, it is hard to predict what will be best for 2013. Just this past year, Google has issued so many changes that it has become pretty much a constant. Trying to pinpoint where we will be a year from now almost feels impossible.

Paul Bruemmer from Search Engine Land, however, believes he knows how to keep up with everything for the next year with just a few tactics that can help guide you. Some are timeless, such as always keeping up with the best SEO practices, specifically starting with the Google 2012 Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide. When in doubt, Google usually has an answer for any SEO practice you should be focusing on.

Social Media is, of course, also going to be a strong driving force in SEO for the next year, as there are no signs of them losing popularity. Even with the ever-changing heirarchy of sites, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are solid constants that can be leveraged increasingly to keep in touch with consumers.

Falling behind in SEO is dangerous for your career and your clients, and any good SEO knows to keep up. Brummer’s suggestions are by no means comprehensive, but if you are wanting to make sure you’re in a good place to take on the coming year, the article is a great start.

We’re officially in 2013 now, and it is time to plan for the year ahead, if you haven’t started already. Planning means trying to predict the biggest trends that will hit design before they get here, which can be tricky, but there are plenty of lists already out there of people making their predictions.

The one I believe is the most accurate is Andrew Kuchariavv’s article on Intechnic. He starts with the same item that has topped just about every list I’ve seen, and seems less like a prediction than a statement. Yes, responsive and adaptive design will only be more important in the next year. There are a few drawbacks, but the bottom line is responsive design means a quality design will look good, if not great, on any display from an iPhone to a desktop.

Predicting parallax scrolling will be more common in 2013 however is a bit more of a reach. Parallax scrolling is a technique where multiple layers of a website scroll at different speeds, creating a 3D effect. For an example, check out Bagigia’s website. There have been sites with parallax scrolling for a short while now, but it is only now beginning to catch on, because it works great for product presentations and looks excellent on smart phones or tablets.

Probably my favorite prediction Kuchariavv made might be more of a hope than a foresight, but it is still fairly probable Flash could finally die in the next year. Javascript, HTML 5, and CSS3 enable just about every animation effect you could make with Flash, but without the need for plug-ins, and compatibility issues with mobile devices.

The next year looks promising for web design, and I personally am excited to see what comes out. There are always the new things we can’t see before they get here, but just these trends suggest websites will keep getting sleeker and more fun to use.