Online marketing greatly depends on an understanding of Google’s algorithm, but this algorithm has been reported to change 500 to 600 times every year. In this sea of updates, change is the only constant we can rely on in the vast SEO landscape.
Here are five major updates we want to keep in mind so that we’ll always be ahead of the competition.
Mobile Is More Important Than Ever
- Starting in 2015, mobile searches exceeded desktop searches, including e-commerce transactions. It is now more important than ever that your website is mobile-friendly and fully responsive. Our implementation of responsive design simply means the website will scale and adjust to whatever device is displaying it, whether that is desktop, mobile, or a tablet.
- Google will label websites that they deem to be mobile-friendly and rank them higher on search results. Google’s main objective is to provide the best user experience, so as a result, they show a preference for mobile-responsive sites.
Content Is King
- Now that we’ve checked our website is fully responsive and mobile-friendly, here comes the second most important element, our content.
- From Google’s Panda Update in 2011 and continuing in successive updates, there has been a shift toward selecting quality content over thin, duplicate, or machine-generated content. The best strategy to adapt to this new algorithm is to focus on content that is unique and has substance.
Depth Vs. Breadth
- After we’ve carefully curated our content to be as genuine and useful as possible, let’s consider meaning.
- Google introduced the Hummingbird Algorithm in 2013 and started the trend for semantic searching by transitioning from searching focused on the literal keywords to searching for content that has the same meaning as the keywords. This doesn’t mean we stop focusing on explicit keywords as part of our SEO strategy, but we consider the bigger picture and how that ties in with the smaller details. According to Matt Cutt, Google’s then head of webspam, Hummingbird affects 90% of all Google searches.
Link Quality Over Quantity
- Perhaps one of the most widely adopted and controversial strategies when it comes to SEO is backlinking. Backlinks are incoming links to a webpage to increase reliability and thereby increase search result rankings. In the past, many digital marketers would backlink in bulk to cheap and irrelevant links in order to rank at the top.
- With Google’s Penguin update in 2012 to 2016, Google will now penalize any websites that are caught in this type of activity. Acquiring high-quality and relevant links is essential. Quality is far more valuable than quantity.
The Future With AI
- Last but not least, as Artificial Intelligence becomes more powerful and personal, Google’s update that falls under the Hummingbird algorithm revamp uses RankBrain to give the best results for users’ searches.
- With RankBrain, there is no one approach that is guaranteed to work, as it uses machine learning from existing user data to learn, grow, and provide the most specialized and useful information for user searches.
- To be proactive, consistently check the overall health of your site, including visitors, CTR (clickthrough rate), bounce rate, and remember to view your site from your patient’s perspective.
As Google’s algorithm changes and more value is placed on user experience and providing the most reliable information, our focus at Adit is on quality content, relevant backlinks, mobile-friendly website design, as well as the bigger picture.