In their simplest form, Google algorithms are a set of mathematical equations in the background that are designed to sort through billions of web pages to find the most relevant and useful results. With 500-600 algorithm changes per year, there’s no doubt that it’s a challenge keeping your business ranked highly in Google.
Here are some of Google’s most significant algorithm changes over the past year:
June 2019 Core Update
Although Google claim that there is ‘nothing to fix’, the main purpose of their core update this month is to improve search relevance. Simply speaking, showing users relevant results depends on the search engine truly understanding search queries and how to exclude spam. With there being no specific changes made in a core update, Google simply encourages best-possible content to continue to be created.
In 2019, Google now combines both mobile and desktop search indexes into one – which prioritises mobile when crawling. This means that now is the time to ensure your mobile site performs well in terms of functionality. Google offer a ‘Mobile-Friendly Test’ which can be used to see if your website is easy to use on a smartphone.
Google states: “Our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.”
Featured Snippets can be anything from reviews/testimonials to event calendars. They can offer a significant boost to your click through rate and site traffic if you can rank for them. Google are set to expand Featured Snippets throughout 2019, putting more emphasis on structured data. Structured data is a piece of HTML code which can provide Featured Snippets. By adding structured data to your site you can create much more visually appealing content for your user.
A study from Ahref on 2 million Featured Snippets revealed that a snippet shown for a search query will always get more traffic than the first organic search result.
The Importance of Security
In terms of security, Google now favours HTTPS sites, so they’re ranked slightly higher. They were not afraid to reveal that they will punish publishers who haven’t added a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) to their website. By adding an SSL to your site, you will ensure that all information going to and from your server is encrypted. More recently, free SSL certificates are being introduced; clearly demonstrating the importance and relevance of online security.
Remember: optimising your website is a marathon, not a sprint. To stay ahead in the race, always ensure you’re regularly updating your site with unique content, following and reading relevant articles, and keeping up to date with SEO influencers. You can also check out the Search Engine Journal or Search Engine Land which have plenty of useful insights on SEO. Or feel free to get in touch with us to discuss how optimising your website for search can help take your business to the next level.