2018 can be tagged as a fruitful year for Search Engine Optimization or SEO. With a number of algorithm changes, mobile first indexing, or changes in the Google Search Console, and other Google Maps, Google Local, or Google My Business updates, it has been a good year so far.
The limitations on personalization features, the dependence on structured data for Google search, and other such things bear proof of the rankings Google is moving towards. Here we have put together a small recap for you to remind you of the year that went by with respect to SEO.
1. The Algorithm & Search Ranking Updates
This year, Google has witnessed various kinds of search ranking algorithm updates. Some of these were huge while others were smaller in comparison. Some of these were confirmed while some others were not. And then there were others which were not even announced.
2. Speed Update
Speed update was announced in advance in January 2018 but it released much later in June. According to Google, this update had a deep impact on the slowest sites when it came to their rank during search. It had it’s effect only on a few restricted queries.
3. Medic Update
This was the most significant search ranking algorithm which happened around August 1st. It was also confirmed by Google and classified it under the “broad core algorithm update.” It is something that they do every year and according to Google, there was no easy fix for better rankings.
4. Mobile-first indexing
Google took forward it’s mobile first indexing experiment forward that it had initiated in 2016 but this time it was rolled out in a bigger manner. It also started sending out notifications via Google Search Console if a site had been shifted to mobile first indexing. After 3 years today, Google believed that more than 50 percent of the search results are currently being indexed through mobile first indexing.
5. The Latest Changes in SEO
- Structured Data: The overall theme of SEO with respect to Google seems to be focused on how Google dealt with structured data and schema. It has enabled the speakable markup to address the queries based on voice search, a new indexing API for the purpose of image search changes, recipe markup updates, job posting schema, new guidelines on job posting, live stream support, FAQ schema, and a lot more.
- Light Personalization: The Facebook targeting and 2018 targeting for personal data usage fallback persuaded Google to disapprove the use of personalization to a great extent. Personalization, according to Google, should be light and must be used for matters such as the knowledge regarding showing local results or when one should display European Footballs versus American Football along with matters like the last query that was used.
6. Voice Assistants
The spread of the Google Home and Google Assistant adoption along with the voice assistants is quite an issue of interest to the community of SEO. The way Google reacted to “Okay Google, tell me about X,” is another matter of concern for the SEO specialists. Here, there is also a great role that needs to be played by the featured snippets of Google and the SEOs are aware of it. The Google Home devices are considered to be the smartest although it faces competition from Amazon Echo, Microsoft Cortana, or Apple Home, and so on.
So, these were the major changes that you should take note of if you are involved in the SEO field.
Bookmark: Jennifer Chang, a regular blogger on SEO trends, here writes on the updates or changes that affected Google and SEO in the previous year. Follow her blogs to know more.