SEO 2015: What Changed In The Past Year Mobilegeddon: The label given to April 22, 2015, the day Google changed the rules so that mobile friendly sites are required to show up on SERPs for mobile searches in the vast majority of cases.
Rankbrain: Announced on October 26, 2015, Rankbrain is Google's machine learning technology that adds a level of Artificial Intelligence to their indexing and ranking processes.
We were informed by Google that they updated how website and content quality is assessed during May. This led to noticeable shakeups of the SERPs when it rolled out.
Panda 4.2: Google progressively rolled out Panda 4.2 over the late summer and into October.
Snack Pack Update: Many in the industry have adopted this nickname for Google's early August change to the Local Pack.
Google+ Rebirth: Later in the year, Google announced that they are changing the description and positioning of Google+.
Let's go through them now: Bot Traffic and Black Hat techniques attacked head on: One member of the audience suggested that Google will get even more aggressive about uncovering cheating, automation/bots, and black hat SEO.
With Google's Rankbrain and other recent announcements, it is clear that they are factoring in a range of items including Trust.
Algorithm vs. Point Updates: Following on #5 above, it is pretty apparent that Google's goal is to evolve away from penalties to algorithmic spam management.
Massive Growth of Artificial Intelligence Functionality by Google, and a Bigger Shift to Intent Based Results: Following up on the Rankbrain announcement in late 2015, this is a logical prediction for 2016.
The question is how much more advancement Google can generate over what they have already built since mid-2013 in this area.
More Semantic: With so many websites finally starting to adopt semantic markup, and Google's latest advancements in machine learning, semantic will dominate in 2016 and beyond.
Fear of Google: As another one of my own predictions, I expect fear of Google to reach a fever pitch this year.
AMP- Mobile Fast Render to Impact Rankings: Google is part of a movement to help content render faster on Mobile, and Austin SEO founder Scott True expects this to start impacting mobile SERPs before the year ends.
Writing "SEO copy" for Google and "Building links" for Google were never respectable practices.
Core Marketing principles have remained while Google gets better at serving the best content.
Google has already been returning results that match user intent vs. the words they type in.