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Amanda Harvey
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What to pay attention to for Google algorithm changes in 2018

Last modified: 2018/08/10 | Approximate reading time 4 mins

Within our technological landscape, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in order to suit the needs of modern trends and the way that people interact with the internet, Google makes plenty of changes to its algorithm. These changes happen at both a large and small scale, and they have a direct impact on how your website performs on search engines including the visibility and reach.

Although the changes that happen aren’t always publicized, there are plenty of whispers that indicate which direction Google is taking things. It’s important to be informed about these changes, as you’ll need to adapt your SEO strategy to comply and get the best results for your website.

What to pay attention to for Google algorithm changes in 2018

The creation of a mobile-first index

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source: unsplash

By now, we all know how integrated smartphones have become in everyday life. It shouldn’t be a surprise that your website needs to align with mobile compatibility. However, Google has shifted its algorithm from a mobile-friendly focus to mobile-first. The search engine has already made major moves in this direction, splitting its searching index into two parts- mobile and desktop. Even further, Google has moved their algorithm towards recognizing the mobile version of websites first. In order to rank on Google, it’s important to make sure the mobile-friendly version of your website is up-to-date and compatible with their mobile-friendly test.

With this in mind, we’d suggest having your mobile site perform better than your desktop. What does this mean exactly? Well, it’s recommended you make sure that all your website features are crawlable as well as functional on mobile devices. Unfortunately, a “view on desktop” link just won’t cut it. If you’re curious about the ways to make your website more mobile-friendly, take a look here.

Featured snippets: reaching position "zero" on Google

If you don’t already know what a featured snippet is, then we’ll give you a bit of context. Featured snippets are results that appear rich in data to search engines and are featured in the upper part of the page. In some cases, they are referred to as “the zero position.” Having your content as a Featured Snippet offers the maximum visibility possible. There are three basic types of featured snippets, and these are existant paragraphs, lists and tables but they can take other forms as well including reviews, event dates and answers to questions.

Google’s algorithms are going to be focusing on Featured Snippets as we move further into 2018, as they’ll be highlighting an emphasis on structured data. Luckily, this type of data can be applied to the code of your website and thus, your content can appear as a Featured Snippet. This can offer you a top spot on Google, especially when you choose the content to highlight correctly. In some cases, you can even have an overview of your company appear in the Featured Snippet in the form of a Knowledge Card.

Voice search on the rise

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source: unsplash

As we’ve mentioned in a few of our other articles regarding SEO trends in 2018, voice search has grown in popularity. It’s true that over 40% of adults use voice search at least once a day and this trend only continues to grow stronger and become more widely used. If you hadn’t already guessed, in the world of search engines, voice search is directly tied to mobile optimization. However, voice search actually changes the way that people use search engines, and thus, Google has updated its algorithms to comply with the structures of these search terms.

In this regard, more natural search terms are favoured as people using voice search will structure their queries as fully formed questions. Another point worth noting is that voice search will work in line with Featured Snippets. In the case of Google Assistant, they will go as far as reading the snippets out loud. If you’re curious about how to adapt your content to comply with the changing technology, our article covers the most recent SEO trends.

"Mentions" instead of physical links

It’s been suggested by many trend experts that Google can now associate mentions of your website without a physical link to your website. This will include any feedback, positive reviews or other un-linked but mentioned materials that relate back to your company. These all play a factor in your search engine ranking and should definitely be considered when moving forward with an updated SEO strategy. Look for ways to engage with your audiences in the hopes that they can offer positive feedback in return. Customer and client testimonials will be highly favoured, but of course, real links still count for credibility! Bear both in mind when creating a well-rounded SEO strategy.

Website speed

The speed of your website directly affects its functionality, and thus needs to be highlighted as you consider your SEO strategy. This is especially true for how your website performs on a mobile phone. Your site should load within the 3-second mark, and if you find it’s not able to do this then consider ways to make it run at a readable speed. Images and videos work to bloat yourself on mobile devices, so do bear this in mind when reworking your website.

Remember, although not all algorithm changes are public information, there are plenty of avenues for you to stay informed regarding changes to Google's algorithms. 

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