Date: 1st May 2018
Google often changes its algorithms to in order to determine how a website ranks in it’s organic search results. Google have recently confirmed the next batch of changes which looks to take place in July of this year.
How will this affect my business?
For several years now, Google has started to take a businesses mobile presence more and more seriously. In the last few batches of algorithm changes Google have given more authority and really started to take into consideration as to whether a site is mobile friendly. Google have now confirmed that, as of July 2018, they are going mobile first. This means that if your website is not mobile friendly or has a particularly low mobile load speed you may see yourself significantly drop in the rankings. You can prepare for that by ensuring that your website is fully mobile optimised. Google offer a free tool which will allow you to run this check by clicking here.
How can I make changes?
Whilst most newer websites will be mobile friendly, if your website hasn’t been changed in a while and is a little older it is entirely possible that it is not. This gives you a great opportunity to re-evaluate your site and put steps in place to ensure that you conform to Google’s demands. Most DIY web platforms such as WordPress, Wix and Squarespace all have mobile friendly options making it easy to change your site. If your website has been built externally it would be well worth speaking to your developer to discuss your options.
Anything else to be aware of?
You are probably aware of structured data and rich snippets – the extra pieces of information which can appear in your organic search listing. Google is now going one step further and putting alot 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 a little easier introduced as long as you do your research. 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. There is a very handy Moz guide to featured snippets which you can read here.
With security being a hot topic in the news lately, Google knows that its users are becoming more and more concerned about their safety online. Because of this, Google have said that they will start ranking those sites that do not have an SSL certificate lower. You can determine which sites have SSL certificates by looking at the beginning of the web address. A secure site will have HTTPS infront whereas a site without an SSL certificate will just be HTTP. If you do not yet have a security certificate for your site, I would highly recommend it. You can acquire these through many sites online and they are not expensive and, in some cases, now can even be free.
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. With this in mind, it is a good idea to start preparing your website now. This goes very much hand in hand with the featured snippets as when providing answers by voice search you are presented with the most relevant answer to your question rather than a list of results. Start thinking about long tail keywords. These are longer phrases of around four words which often also contain a main keyword, for example ‘business support programme Leeds’. Start to think about how potential customers would search for your services using their voice as opposed to typing it out.
If you need help with any of the above, we have expert mentors on hand who can offer advice on ways to improve your site for the algorithm change. If you would like some advice, please get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org