As online searches become more prevalent with each passing day, Google is constantly working towards making its search engine adequately responsive to these growing demands. Hence, businesses that rely on Google to obtain leads and sales should be cognizant of the ever-changing tides of SEO by staying updated on Google’s new policies. As of 2018, Google has ushered in multiple new changes to its algorithm and other search engine features.
To stay updated on the current SEO trends, read on to learn about the four crucial Google updates you need to watch out for in 2018.
1. Page Speed
In previous years, webmasters could still obtain decent SEO growth with relatively slow websites. Now, Google isn’t having it, according to their recent policy. Page speed will now be a large factor that determines a website’s general ranking. Therefore, if your page speed is blatantly slow, you should seriously consider a web repair.
Fortunately, Google is also rolling out its new Speed Update tool to help slower websites get up to speed and avoid any stiff punishments from the major search engine. However, Google has explained that this tool will only help the slowest websites online and “only affect a small percentage of queries”.
2. Local Listings
According to a 2016 report from StatCounter, mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones were responsible for a whopping 51.3% of Internet usage, marking the first time mobile search has dominated traditional desktop search. Accordingly, many mobile users are starting to use local listings to find businesses in their area.
What does this mean for businesses? Frankly, this means that any business lacking a local presence will miss out on numerous leads and sales opportunities. Hence, businesses must make a committed and concentrated effort towards obtaining a spot in local listings, syncing with Google Maps, and participating in online directories.
3. SSL Certificate
An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Certificate is an extra level of encryption that theoretically provided protection for your website from hackers. Initially, websites were not required to possess this level of encryption. Though now that data leaks are starting to become more widespread and costly, Google is holding websites accountable for securing the data of its visitors by forcing websites to purchase a valid SSL certificate.
After July 2018, any website that lacks an SSL certificate will be flagged, “insecure”, which will be seen by incoming web visitors. Hence, it’s imperative to purchase an SSL for your business if you do not already possess it.
4. Google is Watching You
It’s a common practice for Google to personally monitor the quality of its search results. As a matter of fact, Google contracts with over 10,000 search quality raters to determine the actual value of existing search results online. Although this isn’t a big deal for most websites, everyone should still be mindful that Google is always watching, especially since the search engine just released a new set of guidelines for their search quality raters.
These new guidelines mostly focus on content, as Google wants to ensure that high-ranking websites are providing suitable and relevant content. Google has even hinted towards giving a boost to content that has been written by an authoritative individual. Overall, this means that high-ranking websites should be mindful of the contributors they employ for freelance submissions.
The world of SEO is always changing, as Google is steadily venturing into new methods of how to make their search results better. Staying updated on the new trends is a great way to ensure that your business is on the right track online.
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