Google’s search algorithm is constantly changing. Since 2000, there have been thousands of large and small updates that affect whether your website increases or decreases down the search engine results pages (SERPs). A new Google algorithm is always in the distance.

The regular and recluse algorithm changes have led to some serious speculation, around how businesses can change their SEO strategy to stay at the top of the rankings. Everyone will never know exactly how Google’s algorithm changes, however, there are areas you should pay attention to, to help adapt your SEO strategy.

Mobile-first index

With 60% of searches now performed on mobile devices,

Mobile compatibility is ever increasingly important as Google changes its focus from mobile-friendly to mobile-first. Google has already split its search index in two—one for mobile, one for a desktop. This year Google will combine the two search indexes into one to prioritise mobile when crawling.

You need to check how your website is currently to mobile browsing with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This will tell you if your website is easy to use on a mobile device.

Mobile site elements must be functional and crawlable on mobile and perform just as good as your desktop site. It’s no longer good enough to have a link to ‘view on the desktop’ for web pages that aren’t performing as well on smartphones.

Featured Snippets

‘Featured Snippets’ appear above regular results on SERPs. They can provide a huge boost to your click-through rate and site traffic. Featured Snippets can be various items like lists, reviews, event dates or answer boxes.

Google is going to give more importance to structured data. Structured data is a line of code that you can add to your site’s HTML to provide Featured Snippets, also known as rich search results.

How to add Featured Snippets to your website:

  • Customise the code snippet
  • Create a Google Tag Manager tag
  • Paste the code into the “Custom HTML” text box and save the tag
  • Create a new trigger
  • Return to “Schema markup” and add the “Page view” as it’s trigger
  • Publish

Telling it how it is

Voice search has been an excelling grower due to AI assistants like Cortana, Alexa, and Google Assistant. In the past 10 years, voice searches on Google have grown 3,500%, and 40% of adults now use voice search once per day. As it continues to grow, it puts further focus on mobile optimisation. Voice search can change the structure of search terms. There will be a more ‘natural’ search phrases that come through voice search.

Voice search will use longtail keywords – more conversational phrases should be used when optimising for voice search. Your keyword strategy should match this. Long tail keywords have a minor search volume, also it results in less competition and a higher conversion rate, i.e. the people searching for those longtail keywords know what they want.

‘Linkless’ mentions

Google can associate mentions without a physical link. These so-called ‘linkless mentions’ (i.e. positive reviews, testimonies, and other unlinked mentions of your company) will play a factor in SEO.

You need to gather as many positive references of not just your company, but it’s products and people as possible. Whether it’s on your blog, website, or on external sites, Google will love these testimonials, even if they are not hyperlinked. However, make sure to not neglect real links, as these still give these mentions substance and evidence if people want to check what you’re saying is true.

Security-centric

Google said a while back that they prefer HTTPS sites in terms of security, and so rank them a little higher. In 2018 they have been said to start punishing publishers who fail to add an SSL to their site.

By allowing an SSL (secure socket layer) on your site, you can ensure any information going to and from your server is encrypted. This is what differentiates “https” from “http” (the ‘S’ stands for secure) and is a must if your site to use apps like geolocation, online payments, or notifications that require the confidential transferral of information. All you have to do to have an SSL is to purchase a certificate and get your site host to activate and install it. Free SSL certificates are being introduced, too.

Check out our blog posts on the security of your site:

Website security you need to be checking

 Secure the safety of your website with HTTPS

How to stay onto of Googles Algorithm

Google makes around 600 updates every year, keeping up with these algorithm changes can be quite a challenge. However, the search engines do not make announcements whenever they make updates. Therefore website owners should always track them if they want to maintain a top position on the SERPs.

Follow SEO experts

It is easy to get overwhelmed with the constant stream of updates from the search engines. However, you do not have to follow every update by yourself. There are many websites and SEO blogs that are already doing the work for you. Google Algorithms have dedicated followers who spend most of their time tracking and analysing the updates as they occur.

Confirm the credibility of new updates

Never believe everything you read on the internet or other resources about Google updates. Many SEO experts will spend their time tracking algorithm changes as they occur, and some will even predict changes that may come true. Rumours about impending updates can spread all through the SEO field, causing panic among content creators. You need to always confirm the Google updates by ensuring that you only follow credible sources and verifying the data with higher authorities like the Google Webmaster Central Blog.

Implement website changes one at a time

Minor modification to your SEO strategy can have a significant impact. You should slowly adjust your website and content. It is best to avoid altering several changes at the same time. You may have challenges determining strategies that are most effective and those that need further research and testing. With the ever-changing nature of the search engine algorithms, resolving to a complete website revamp for every major update is ineffective and time-consuming.

Your SEO end-goal strategy

Website owners should always keep the end-goal in mind. This will ensure that they are always moving in the right direction regardless of the algorithm changes. Google algorithm changes are meant to bring the most relevant and fast content to users. Your SEO efforts and campaigns should focus on creating informative, fresh, and engaging content to users and using relevant keywords.

Google Algorithms will always keep changing and website owners must ensure that they keep up to date with these changes. You must always strive to offer the best content and unmatched experience to your users instead of focusing on the search engines.