As we head into the New Year, it’s important to take a look at some of the (many) changes made by Google over the last year and see how they might be affecting the SEO of your website in future.
As an owner of a digital agency, I have my ear to the ground for all the new updates and algorithm changes, so I thought I would share 4 of the top changes to take into account.
Hopefully, this information will help your business prepare to hit the ground running in 2019 when it comes to your online strategies!
- Google AI Algorithm. A significant change to the algorithm in August 2018, was a ‘ranking update’. Google is a search engine, so its purpose is to rank websites based on relevance to the searcher. This update allows Google to rank based on more than just title tags and headings – it matches the overall page content to the ‘intent’ behind a query. For example, if Google sees (based on the search query) that the searcher is looking to shop, it will match not just the page title, e.g. Large Black Gucci Handbag, but see if the page content mentions the words shop, buy or compare. This way, the searcher is guaranteed to land on a page where they can buy the bag, not just read a review or article.
- Search Console Changes. Early this year on Jan 8th, a new version of the Search Console was released, allowing users to view a full 16 months of stored data. This made it easier for anyone to see how to optimise their website for Google and employ a longer-term analysis of data. If you haven’t been making use of this feature to analyse your traffic data and use it to predict and determine your marketing strategy – you should be! Then in February, Google changed the Console Crawl Limits, so you can now only submit up to 10 individual URLs per day, using the ‘crawl only this URL’ feature. The Feb change should really have only affected black-hat users who often abuse that feature, so it’s not a big deal to us white-hat types.
- Mobile-First Indexing. Around the end of March, Google implemented the mobile-first indexing update, meaning that if you have a mobile-friendly website, Google would index and rank your mobile version first. This means that, if you haven’t already, optimising your website for mobile should be first on your list to boost your online marketing in 2019!
- Organic Search – and this is still the big one! Once again, Google prioritised paid ads over organic results and added one more paid ad slot at the top of the page. What does this mean? There are now 4 paid ads above first page organic results, so if you worked hard to get into organic spot number 1 – you are now under the fold on most desktop searches, requiring a scroll to find you. There are also paid ads at the bottom of the page, leaving only a few spots for organic results on page 1.
Our recommendation? Combine paid ads with a content strategy. With all the algorithm changes, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket, and, as Google Search Liaison states, “There’s no “fix” for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content.” Great content adds value to the user experience.
It’s important to note that most of the big changes in 2018 were based around improving the user experience. As always, the best way to improve your website ROI and SEO, is to ensure that it is as valuable and targeted towards your customer as possible; no annoying pop-up ads, fast page loading speeds, mobile optimised and relevant, clear content!
Google cares about finding the searcher what they want – it’s your job to be as clear as possible on what you offer, along with providing a user-friendly experience, so your website will be presented to the right audience.
If you have any questions or would like to chat about possible strategies to improve your SEO in 2019, give me a call on 1300 FROGON ( 376 466) or flick me a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.