If you weren’t already aware, Google makes regular updates to its algorithms in order to determine how a website ranks in its organic search results. Their aim is to help users find what they’re looking for faster, so they spend less time on the search page.
“Contrary to popular belief, we actually are trying to reduce the amount of time that users spend on our search results page. We want them to find the information they are looking for quickly; which means less time on the search results page”
Illya Grigorik, Google Webmaster Team
More specifically, they are looking for ways to deliver better results to users faster and more efficiently. This includes a very strict focus on security as well.
With 60% of searches now performed on mobile devices, mobile compatibility is increasingly important. With the increase of mobile users and the development of mobile technologies in emerging countries, Google is encouraging website builders to focus on their mobile experiences and mobile results to searchers.
The changes that Google makes to adapt to these markets and changing mobile behaviour will dramatically impact publishers; regardless of who their target visitor is. As Google alters its algorithm to meet the needs of new users, publishers positioned to provide content in line with what Google is looking for will likely see an improvement in ranking.
From March 2018, Google began to move their entire search index to mobile-first, previously when looking for search results the index would perform two searches desktop first then mobile. They plan to combine the two and crawl the mobile version of a page first to rank pages in results.
This means that if your website is not mobile friendly or has a particularly low mobile load speed you may see a significant drop in your rankings.
Google have said that they prefer HTTPS sites in terms of security, and so rank them a little higher and that they will start punishing publishers who fail to add an SSL to their site.
By enabling 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 transfers confidential information such as online payments. You can purchase certificates easily online, you then need to ask your site host to activate and install it.
Most newer websites will be mobile friendly, if your website is a little older it’s possible that it might not be so it’s wise to check. This provides a great opportunity to evaluate your site to make sure it contains all the relevant information and conforms to Google’s demands. Most DIY web platforms such as WordPress, have mobile friendly options making it easy to change your site.
If your website has been built externally it would be useful to speak to your developer to discuss your options.
Google is now going one step further and putting a lot of emphasis on ‘featured snippets’ – additional information which appears above the organic results or ‘position zero’. The good thing about featured snippets is that they can be easy to introduce. When searching for featured snippets, Google wants to know that your post or blog etc answers the exact question being asked. If you know your audience well and do research to find popular questions, you can then write posts around this.
The mode of search changes search behaviour, Google has told us that voice searches are different, in that they’re 30 times more likely to be action queries than typed searches which will affect how a site owner optimises a page.
With the rise of products like Alexa and Google Home, Google have estimated that by 2020 50% of online searches will be conducted via voice search. It’s a good idea to start thinking about preparing your website now, how would potential customers search for your services using their voice as opposed to typing it out.
To ensure that your website isn’t negatively affected by the algorithm change, its best to evaluate your website and look for any areas which could perform better.
If you need any help to find out how your website is performing, Genesis Business Systems have an in-house team of developers which could assess your website and make recommendations of how it could be improved.
We would love to help you improve your website presence, contact us now email [email protected] or call 01482 210999