In today’s digitalized world, search engine optimization matters. Let’s say you have a leather skin shop. You create a website to increase sales. Your site looks professional and well-built. You even brand it by including a professional logo. However, the site barely gets any traffic. Why would that happen?
Did you know that there are almost 2 billion websites out there? That surely is a lot of competition. Let’s face the facts. The users will access not all of these websites. What if your website is one of them? How do you combat this issue?
You do so by keeping up with the algorithm changes of Google and adapting your SEO strategy accordingly.
If you think you can optimize your content once and reap the rewards for years, think again. Google is explicitly keen on improving the search engine experience for its users. This is why it keeps on offering new algorithm updates.
Latest changes in the Google algorithm
We can never truly know how the exact changes in the algorithm work. However, we do know what Google is focusing on. These are the features that you should keep in mind when developing your SEO strategy.
- Mobile-first Index
One of the many things we know about millennials is that they are mobile shoppers. People now access the internet more via their mobile phones than any other device. In fact, 60% of the total searches on Google are done via mobile phones. This means that websites that are supported on mobile devices are likely to get a higher ranking on Google. Google has officially announced it as well. Not only has it divided its search index into two categories (desktop and mobile), it has also stated that from priority will be given to mobile phones.
Therefore, to make sure that your website ranks well, you must make it compatible with mobile phones. Google makes it easier for you to gauge your website’s mobile compatibility. Google has a “Mobile-friendly test” which can allow you to know where you currently stand. Make sure you improve your site accordingly if you wish to retain a high SERP.
- The Speed Update
Another common knowledge about modern internet users is they are impatient souls. We live in a fast-paced world and don’t like waiting. This is why a page which loads slowly can be a source of annoyance for most of us.
Well, now Google is coming up with a speed update that will rank websites based on their mobile page loading speed. Since page loading time is directly linked to user-experience, this update is likely to be crucial when devising SEO strategies. This update means that your website shouldn’t just load quickly on the desktop but should also do so on mobile as well. The fact that two updates are linked to mobile optimization, this showcases how important it is for your strategy to focus on mobile phones.
The good news is that according to Google, the speed update will only affect the slowest websites for now. The ranking of the rest of the websites will not be affected. However, this doesn’t mean you can rest easy. Sooner or later, this update will catch up to you. It is better to take proactive action today to avoid being the “slowest” tomorrow.
- Positive reviews and linkless mentions
There was a time when outbound links to your website helped in increasing the rank of your website. However, now Google is changing things a bit. Now, to get a high rank, you don’t necessarily need other websites to link to your website. Instead, a mere mention of your company in a positive light will do the trick.
This can significantly affect the SEO strategy. This is because suddenly the ranking of your website depends on word of mouth and positive reviews. This can encourage companies to deliver customer-centric experiences. As part of your SEO strategy, you should encourage users to share their positive testimonials about your brand. It doesn’t matter where they do so. It can be on a blog or a website. Google will view it as testimonials and rank you higher.
However, don’t take this to mean you should eliminate all links from your content. Hyperlinking to authority websites create credibility. Even if they don’t help in ranking, it helps in delivering a better user-experience since it allows users to check facts for themselves. So, do include them.
- Importance of security
The online world is also very vulnerable. Amidst data breaches and hacks, people are very particular about which website they visit. In an attempt to make the online platform safe for users, Google too prefers websites that are secured. This is why you would see that HTTPS websites have a high Search engine ranking than others.
However, the new update is taking it even further. Rather than just ranking secure websites better, websites that are not accompanied by an SSL will be punished. If your site doesn’t have an SSL or secure socket layer, it is time to enable it. This makes sure that all the information that goes to your website is encrypted. A mere “S” after the HTTP can make all the difference to your ranking. Make sure you acquire the SSL certificate and install it to your website.
Just because you alter your strategy and your website according to these updates doesn’t mean you are good to go. Instead, make sure you keep an eye out for more updates. The algorithm change history of Google proves that these changes won’t be the last. Keep tabs with the updates and keep changing your SEO plan accordingly. Make sure your website has a high ranking in the search engine. This will make sure that your website gets sufficient traffic. Once you get people to your site, your journey has just begun. You must then convert traffic into a potential sale. You have to decide how you will achieve this milestone.