Your business success hinging on search algorithms is a scary realization.
Google's decision to use new ranking factors can plummet your search listings. Each position you lose creates fewer conversions and fewer conversions mean less business.
Search engine optimization strategies rely on best practices. Yet, those practices change -- unexpectedly -- with tweaks to search algorithms.
How can you adapt, survive, and (hopefully) thrive?
Search Algorithms: The Changes So Far
Online search experienced several notable changes since its start. These changes to the search algorithms intend to provide better results and experience. Many webmasters saw sites virtually disappear from listings in one fell swoop.
Google's goal is providing the best information to its users. Those heavily affected by search changes teetered between white & blackhat SEO tactics. Changes negated (or punished) certain, abused tactics.
These were the big changes:
- Panda (2011) - Targeted low-quality, content-thin sites
- Penguin (2012) - Targeted sites with spammy link profiles
- Hummingbird (2013 - Provided better results based on intent
- Pigeon (2014) - Increased local search presence
- Mobile-friendly Update (2015) - Added SEO weight for mobile sites
- Rankbrain (2015) - Better results through machine learning
- Possum (2016) - Another boost to local business listings
- Fred (2017) - Targeted thin affiliate/ad-heavy sites
As they say, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it". Let's keep these in mind and jump to the present.
Search Algorithms: 2018 and Beyond
Modern SEO guides incorporate updated best practices for these major changes. Yet, we know Google is one-step ahead. What should we expect?
Google made a push with this mobile-friendly update. This was the beginning. An estimated 2.87 billion smartphone users will access the Web by 2020. Google will continue its focus on mobile as its base expands (especially abroad).
Google will soon merge desktop and mobile results.
The union creates a mobile-first experience. Your mobile version becomes the primary factor in design and search engine optimization. This may expand through Google AMP and progressive web app adoption.
Rich snippets are already present in search results. Though, these may increase as webmasters inject more microdata and formats.
What type of snippets do we find?
... these improve the Google experience, but they result in lower page views.
Google will begin punishing publishers not using HTTPS on their websites. This small change creates greater safety for its Web users. Implementing HTTPS is easy and inexpensive.
Forbes said 2017 would go down as the "year of voice search". Not quite on the nose though voice search is way up! Voice search has nearly tripled. Search results -- with Rankbrain -- will likely display better info based on natural phrases.
Google is exploring linkless ranking signals. This leverages Google's AI to understand brand mentions without backlinks.
Best Practices Evolve. SEO Is Forever
Updates to algorithms are a daily occurrence. Will we see named updates in the coming years? Certainly. But, most are incremental. This backs the need for best practices versus fly-by-night SEO tactics.
- Having a structured, easy-to-use website
- Creating & sharing valuable information & offers
- Building trust and relationships in your industry
Do these qualities define your business? Want to take it to the next level?
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