Google’s Newest Updates: What They Mean for You

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Every year, Google changes its search algorithm hundreds of times – and 2018 was no different. As a business owner, knowing when these updates happen (and what they mean to your website) can help explain changes in rankings and organic website traffic as well as offer insight as to how to improve your search engine optimization moving forward.

While many of those changes are less significant to how you operate day-to-day, there are some major updates that may notably affect your search engine results. Here are just some of Google’s algorithm updates that have had the biggest impact on search in 2018:

Mobile-First Index Update

In March 2018, Google announced that they would start giving preference to the mobile version of your website as the standard for determining rankings in search results. Prior to this, crawling, indexing, and ranking typically came from the desktop version your site. Mobile-first indexing now means that Google will push the mobile version of any website to the top in the indexing process – including yours. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, now’s the time to begin planning your update. 

image of mobile phone with google analytics search on the screen

Page Speed Update

In July 2018, page speed became a factor for mobile search ranking – something Google has been promising for years. In the past, speed was primarily considered for desktop rankings, but with more and more users relying on their mobile devices to search for information, it’s clear that attention needs to include mobile rankings as well.

The bad news is that the average website still takes about 15 seconds to load, according to Google’s analysis, but 53% of mobile site visitors will abandon a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.

To ensure that your mobile site speed is up to par for Google, your website redesign plan should reduce redirects, compress images, and always use page caching. Also, work with a web design company that will take the time to compress your HTML, JavaScript (JS), and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) files whenever and wherever possible.

While it remains unclear how this will impact desktop rankings, now’s the perfect time to evaluate page load time for all of your users. And remember, to meet user needs, relevant content is still king and will continue to rank highly with them regardless of your mobile page speed. In other words, don’t skip one for the other.

Medic Update

This August 2018 update was a core search algorithm update meaning that Google changed the overall framework for how content gets ranked on search results. While websites across the board were affected by this update, there were significant changes in health, medical and fitness sites – hence the name “Medic Update” coined by a tech leader and editor. But don’t be fooled by the name: a huge swath of the internet including “ecommerce, insurance, finance, B2B, entertainment” and other sites were impacted as well.

open macbook computer sitting on a reception desk in a medical office

Call it what you will, the best way to outsmart this update is to provide relevant content on your site to prove that you are a reliable authority in your field. By doing that, you’ll build and maintain a reputation that’s credible on the critical issues that matter to your audience. Never underestimate the value of quality content, clean visuals, helpful external links to trusted sources, and clear calls to action for your site visitors.

Optimize your site content with the acronym EAT in mind: be the Expert, stay the Authority, prove your Trustworthiness. Click To Tweet

The internet is always evolving, and it can be tough to keep track of what changes will directly impact your website and your business. At Black Bear Design, we focus on building the visibility of your business and we know when updates need to be made to continue to help you optimize your web presence. Our team of search engine optimization experts stays on top of the trends and how they apply to our clients to ensure you have nothing to worry about.  Please contact us to learn more.

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