18th Anniversary of the Search Engine Roundtable

I have been writing on this site for the last 18 years, covering that you – search marketers are tweeting. Today is the 18th anniversary of the Search Engine Roundtable. I’ve been writing about over 40% of my life searching – which is weird to think about. And I’ve been doing this for 17 consecutive years, every work day, several times a day, even through epidemics. It’s hard for me to understand that I can still find so many new things to write about each day.

18 years of madness:

18 years ago, I started this site as a way to keep notes about what the search marketing community is talking about. Round table of discussions between smart search marketing minds, if you will. That passion and that mission hasn’t changed – I still try to cover what the search marketing community is buzzing about, what the community thinks and what the community is doing in our space. What is she saying This is rare in forums these days, because sadly most of the old fashioned online forums have slowed down, but social media platforms have taken their place – not to say that all forums are gone. – It is not. But the community is gossiping and arguing and I try my best to find that discussion and bring it up for you all here.

I still post a lot of stories here one day and on Search Engine Land. I still make my own weekly video recaps, which I think have been getting a lot better lately (be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel). I also continued the SearchVlog where I try to focus more on new and maybe older people in my community, this has been a challenge during COVID with social distance, travel issues and lack of personal conferences. I now publish these videos on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or even your favorite podcast player. Don’t forget about the fun daily photos and the big monthly Google Webmaster Reports. The purpose of all this is to save your time, while introducing you to new topics and making you smile at the same time.

A year ago, we were on the verge of a vaccine and hopefully life will return to normal. Now we are talking about not only the third dose but also the fourth dose to keep us safe. We have two antiviral drugs approved to fight COVID and I hope that by this time next year, we can start to get back to normal – but who knows, it may be time to predict Google’s algorithm updates. Is equivalent to

If you wish, you can read last year’s recap – the 17th anniversary of the Search Engine Roundtable.

Our growth (I mean reduction) and analytics:

While in 2019 we saw a 25% increase in traffic, this year we saw a 13% decrease in traffic. Search traffic has dropped by more than 30% but our direct traffic has increased by 22%, email traffic has increased by 360%, and other channels are also increasing – hence Google’s own Diversity with features is important (and thanks to them, I mean it).

Mobile and desktop traffic is now almost equal, we are 47% mobile and 51% desktop with the rest of the tablet – which means more desktop traffic than mobile compared to last year.

There are now over 32,000 stories on this site, I’ve written over 29,600 of them – about 93% of them. I posted about 2,000 stories this year alone, which is about a hundred more than last year. We also had about 12,000 approved comments posted on the stories this year, the same as last year.

With YouTube, My Channel – Please Subscribe There are over 2,200 new subscribers (now at, 12,900 subscribers). I am clearly trying to expand this channel. I have over 6.4 million views on these videos, with over 54 hours of viewing time. Oh, and I made less than 6 1,600 in YouTube ad revenue last year, $ 200 more than last year. Although, if you look, you will see that I now have video sponsors – thanks to the sponsors!

The most important stories of the last 12 months:

Looking back on 2021, it is clear that this was the year of many verified updates to the Google search algorithm and rankings. We had three basic updates – June, July and November. We had several spam updates. Including November spam update, two-part spam update, one link spam update and predator update. We had other updates, such as the page experience update, the April product review update and the December product review update, and the title changes. We also had several AI / machine learning based algorithms like MUM, Passage Ranking, Sub Topic Ranking and some pairs from Bing like MEB and Speller100.

Indexing became interesting with IndexNow, which Google could also try. Google has spent a lot of time and resources on its support documents and resources, so it is no wonder that they are now ranking so well. Search Console has a new design and Search Console Insights has also been officially launched. Google continued scrolling for Google business profiles and rolled out Google My Business.

In addition, we had a lot of industrial movements, IPOs, acquisitions and organizational changes. And sadly, we have lost many esteemed and beloved members of the industry.

I wrote a lot, as I said above, but I think the most important stories of the last 12 months are (if I miss anything, let me know in the comments):

Related search algorithms:

Crawling and Indexing: SEO: Google Search Console: Bing Webmaster Tools: Search Features: Search Ads: Local Search: Business & Industry: RIP:

Most viewed stories in the last 12 months:

Here are the most viewed stories in the last 12 months of 2021 based on Google Analytics. I should note that my analytics does not combine AMP URLs with canonical non-AMP URLs, so this may not be exactly as popular:

Looking forward to 2022:

Last year I said it was about IoT, multimedia search features and of course BERT and everything else around natural language processing. I also said that 2021 will be a lot about health, safety “and I hope there will be vaccines.” But understanding natural language will be really impressive – I mean, passing signage should be fun. Mobile is here and in a few months mobile indexing is done with a complete change. And it was a big year, we announced MUM, even though it wasn’t used much in 2021 – Search on Events showed some applications of its use.

I expect a lot of announcements from Google around MUM in 2022 and more AI / machine learning efforts. You’ll see more with local search, you’ll see multimedia and more.

But a big change for our SEOs, I really think there will be a big change in quality algorithms. Like Panda and Penguin, the core updates are huge, but they are intended to address many of Google’s criticisms of its search quality over the past year.


As I said last year, I truly appreciate and thank you all for reading, commenting (or ignoring comments) and sharing stories here every day. Keep up the good content and let’s build an even better search community this coming year. Stay safe and healthy!


Barry Schwartz

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