Hundreds of small and large google algorithm updates have shaped how SEO works and how businesses can use digital marketing. For any digital marketer or business, they are always on the lookout for new Google algorithm updates.
The frequent changes cause a lot of speculations about how a business can adjust their SEO strategy to ensure they remain at the top of search engine ranking. While you may not always be privy to information about the new changes to expect, there are certain areas you should pay close attention to your digital marketing campaign to ensure your business is always ready for new algorithm changes from Google.
Mobile first index
Today, more than 60% of internet searches are done through mobile devices. This means that mobile compatibility for websites has become an integral part of any marketing campaign. A few years back, Google was focusing on mobile-friendly sites, today it focuses on mobile first sites. In 2016 google split the search index it used into two, one for mobile and the other for desktop. In 2018, Google will combine the two indexes into one.
Check whether your current website is well suited to mobile browsing. You can do this using Google’s mobile-friendly test. In 2018, your mobile site needs to perform better than your desktop website. You need to ensure that all site elements are functional and crawlable on mobile devices. Having a ‘view on desktop’ link for websites that don’t perform on smartphones is no longer acceptable.
Featured snippets are shown above regular results on search engine result pages. Therefore, if you can ensure you rank for snippets you can offer serious boosts to your site’s traffic and click through rate. Featured snippets can be done in many forms. They can be reviews, lists, dates and even answer boxes. In 2018, Google is expected to expand features snippets as they give more relevance to structured data.
To add structured data in your HTMS for featured snippets:
- Customize code snippet
- Create a tag for google tag manager
- Paste and save the tag into the available custom HTML text box
- Create a new trigger
- Go back to schema markup, add page view as the trigger
- Text the snippet by using the structured data testing tool
Link free mentions
In 2017, digital marketers learned that it was finally possible for Google to associate your business with a mention without the need for a link. Linkless or link free mentions are expected to play a major role in SEO marketing in the future. Positive reviews, referrals, and testimonials are some of the ways linkless mentions are made.
Ensure you gain as many mentions about your company, people, and products as possible. This can be positive mentions from your blog, website or other sites. Even if these mentions are not hyperlinked, Google will treat them in favor and this helps in ranking. Even so, do not completely neglect the use of linked mentions as these too drive traffic to your site which is still important for ranking.
Google prefers HTTPS sites when it comes to security and thus ranks these higher. In their future roadmap, Google made it clear that in 2018 they will have strict regulations on sites that do not add SSL to the sites they publish. SSL ensures that data to and from your server is encrypted. It is a requirement for sites, especially those that use online payment, geolocation and transfer confidential information.