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2021 Clapping Dog Media Year End Review

Dec 20, 2021

In the spirit of Spotify Wrapped and Peloton’s Cool Down, we thought it would be fun to recap 2021 – SEO Style.

It’s fun to take the time to step back, look at the big picture, and realize how much happened this year.

So here is a run down of what happened here at CDM, a bit about our clients and the highlights of what happened in the ever-changing world of Google’s Algorithm. 

What Happened at Clapping Dog Media

1. New People

This year we have added two full-time employees.

Nick. Nick is a co-owner of CDM and is head of all things operations. He does everything from finances, to business strategy, to sales calls, to project management. He officially began working with Clapping Dog Media on January 1, 2021. Happy Anniversary Nick.

Maria. Maria is a marketing genius. She is amazing at the nitty gritty details of SEO and has years of content marketing strategy experience. If you have run out of ideas for blog/podcast/video topics, Maria will whip up a strategic content calendar for you in no time.

2. New Website

Our previous site was a sad victim of continuous updates. For years we added, deleted, tweaked until it was a collection of misaligned chaos.

So we started fresh.

Our big goal of the website is to visually represent who we are and to provide helpful and insightful SEO content.

3. Improvement of our Services & Processes

We are constantly assessing what we do and how we do it.

Our goal is to provide amazing SEO services that make a big impact on small businesses. So things are constantly evolving here. If you are a client, I am sure you have noticed that our reports subtly change each month– and for the better.

We are committed to growing and getting better each day so we expect to keep tweaking as we go.

4. Development of online SEO Growth Community

We love working with partners:  designers, developers, writers, marketers – really everyone who helps small businesses grow. In November we hosted the first SGC (SEO Growth Community) for our partners.

It was a live webinar where we shared what was working in SEO and we answered questions. We are hosting another in mid January where we are going to talk about our SEO Predictions for 2022.

Our Clients

  1. We have worked with over 85 business in 2021.
  2. We have clients from all different industries including travel, health and wellness, medical devices, fine art, financial planning, birth doulas, recipe sites, horticulture, cybersecurity, executive coaching, digital marketing, online magazines, crisis management firms, interior designers and more.
  3. We have clients on WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify and a very few on Wix.
  4. We have seen social traffic from Pinterest and Instagram decline for nearly every client this year.
  5. Visitors from Google are typically the most engaged traffic source for all of our clients.
  6. We have helped plan nearly 1500 blog posts for our clients in 2021.

Google Updates in 2021

Google has a long history of famous algorithm updates, search index changes, core updates taking place several times throughout the year.

2021 will literally go down in the record books for the most unusual year of Google Updates.

There were 10 significant updates and several hundred minor tweaks that Google made to its algorithm.

The continuous changes in Google’s ranking factors was a reason for ongoing frustration to the SEO community and to sites trying to survive 2021.

We at Clapping Dog Media closely track the updates from Google and refine the strategies for our clients.

1. Passage ranking (February 2021)

With the use of artificial intelligence Google can index not only web pages, but individual passages (paragraphs, sentences) from web pages. This means that specific passages can show up as the featured snippet. The goal is to quickly answer very specific queries without having to comb through the relevant web page to find it.

2. About this result (February 2021)

With this update, Google provides additional context to individual search results to the right side of the page so that users can determine which results would be most helpful to them. The “About this result” isn’t a ranking factor; but a list of facts about the page such as page security, backlinks quality are ranking factors.

3. 100% mobile-first indexing update (March 2021)

We are in a mobile-first world.

Mobile-first indexing means that Google crawls and ranks your website pages according to the mobile version of that content. This means that Google will only get the information of your site from the mobile version.

4. Product reviews (April & December 2021) Updates

With these two updates, Google’s goal was to boost product reviews that don’t just summarize a list of products, but rather provide in-depth research, insightful analysis, and original content. Google advises that to give prominence and high ranking to your product reviews, you need to:

  • provide evidence such as visuals, audio, first-hand expertise
  • content that shows in-depth research and authority
  • other links of your own experience with the product, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.
  • include links to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice.
  • Google says it’s fine to have affiliate landing pages, repurpose existing images & text, use affiliate links, etc — “it’s not however a review”. Since it is early in the the rollout we have to keep an eye on how this will affect the product review sites.

5. MUM update (May 2021)

Google keeps adding AI in their algorithm and that is what Multitask Unified Model update is about. It is designed to help users when there is not an answer to their query MUM is capable of using contextual information from different sources to present comprehensive answers to complex questions.

6. Core Web Vitals Update – Page experience (June – July 2021)

Google introduced a set of metrics the Core Web Vitals to evaluate the UX (user experience) of a page. They measure how fast users will be able to interact with your website and what kind of result they will receive. These signals also measure how easy and fast it is for users to navigate through the website. In other words, speed and great user experience are what matters to Google for giving prominence and higher ranking to a website.

7. Page Speed

Google puts faster websites above slower sites on the search results page.
For speed — Google updated their page speed insights tool.

8. Spam Updates – (June, July, November 2021)

With this algorithm update, Google aims to improve the quality of search results answering the users’ query by emphasizing on the quality of backlinks rather than quantity. Google rewards sites that follow:

  • Use high-quality links, both incoming and outgoing,
  • Produce high-quality content and stay away from manipulating links.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing the headlines or page titles because those methods focus on beating the search engine algorithm rather than improving the user experience.

9. Page titles (August 2021)

Google introduced a new system that no longer adjusts titles according to queries, but rewrites the titles in order to better represent the page and its content as a whole.

10.Core Web Update (November 2021)

This core update is not a big change to what we have known so far about Google’s search quality guidelines. It basically refers to how Google assesses content overall and emphasizes on the quality of the content and whether the user can trust the answer it provides. Google scans the content and looks for:

  • Εvidence of author Expertise
  • Your site is an Authority in your area and has quality backlinks to authoritative and relevant websites
  • Whether the user can Trust the answer

We are so grateful for all that has happened in 2021 and are very much looking forward to 2022.  

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