Changes in Google and SEO strategies in 2018

Updated on: 25 November 2018

Keeping up to date with the latest in Search Engine Optimization is a tough ask for anyone, even for digital marketing agencies.

Google itself has confirmed that it changes its search engine’s algorithm at least once a day, and more than 500 changes are made every year! Staying with Google’s daily updates can seem impossible, but it is a necessary task to undertake to ensure you or your client’s websites are fully optimised.

Doing what you’ve been doing for the last 5 years will simply not deliver organic rankings or leads. You need to stay abreast of Google’s latest changes, and here’s what you need to know.

Mobile and Page speed to the Fore

Optimising websites for mobile use used to be just another part of the process, the last box to tick when optimising your website. In 2018, however, mobile optimisation is key to SEO and must be a priority for all Digital Marketing agencies in Singapore.

Mobile traffic gained significant popularity in 2016 and has been projected to account for 75% of all Internet traffic by the end of 2018.

Google has recognised this trend and has altered their algorithm since. Websites must now be optimised for mobile users to attain high organic rankings while matching content from your desktop sites. Page speed and responsiveness are also crucial to be recognised by Google as a performing web page.

Keeping bounce rates low with a good mobile site boosts your ranking and increases the likelihood of a repeat visit.

Zero-Result Search Pages

Google’s search algorithms are not the only things to have undergone major changes since its infancy. Google’s result pages are nearly unrecognisable from those from 8 years ago.

Now, more and more information is displayed directly on search engine results pages, epitomised by the prevalence of zero-result search result pages. Answer boxes and frequently asked questions are now mainstays of result pages, reducing the need to actually visit the page to attain the information you are looking for.

Definitive answers are also shown on zero-result pages, where a single piece of information can definitively answer a search query.

To capitalise on these developments, one can no longer rely just on a network of links for a high organic ranking. Search engines are becoming smarter and smarter at matching content with search queries, and our content must correspond.

Identify the questions haven’t been asked yet, and tailor your content to be specific to those searches. Standard search results are a positive sign. Target these and enjoy the spike traffic!

Relevance to the user

In March 2018, Google released an update that resulted in ranking changes for many websites. This was an update to the core of Google’s algorithm, something that changed how Google fundamentally went about its rankings.

Instead of focusing purely on content available on a website, this update brought relevance to Google’s mainframe. Content with more relevance to the user, by directly answering the search query or establishing a clear link, brings a better results page ranking.

Content shouldn’t be created for the sake of it. Instead, marketers should focus on bridging the gap from content to user intent.

Google is changing all the time, and so are the best practices for SEO. While daily changes might not be feasible, your digital marketing strategy should be regularly updated to stay with these changes.

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