Latest Google Algorithm Updates That Can Affect Your SEO in 2018

Posted byFervil Von

November 1st 2016

Latest Google Algorithm Updates That Can Affect Your SEO in 2018

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(Updated March 1, 2018)

The SEO industry is getting better and better every year.

Strategies change periodically, and many companies are now resorting to aggressive yet effective SEO plan.

It’s evident now: a business that doesn’t invest in SEO is doomed to fail.

Now that you’ve figured out the sheer importance of SEO, you can start drafting a strategy.

This is a fine move, but you should also be aware of some important facts.

Start your SEO journey by learning about Google’s algorithm updates.

Every now and then, Google changes its algorithm to make the World of Search fair.

All SEO campaigns live and breathe through these changes…

…be easy with these changes and your campaign won’t reach its mark!

2017 was a hot year for SEO, and 2018 is even hotter with some relevant algorithm updates.

Here are some highlights of Google Algorithm Updates in 2018 that you should be aware of:[/vc_column_text][vc_tta_accordion active_section=”10″][vc_tta_section title=”The Google Speed Update – Speed Up or Die” tab_id=”the-google-speed-update”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]

GOOGLE SPEED UPDATE

Google’s page speed update is expected to roll out in July 2018.

While there are still few months before the update’s release, so much buzz has been generated about it.

The most important thing about the ‘Speed Update’ is the fact that mobile page speed will now be a ranking factor in mobile search results.

However, Google has stated that the update will only affect pages with the slowest experience.

It’s not meant to target all websites as of the moment.

What It Means To Your Business

Google has stressed out A LOT on speed since the time of the dinosaurs.

If the Speed Update is green-lighted, then you need to be serious about your website’s speed calibration.

The speedier your web pages are, the better it’ll be for your overall site ranking…

And what happens if your site has boosted significant speed factors?

Your business will become more visible, thus leading to greater conversion rate someday.

It’s a long-shot investment.

What You Should Do

Monitor your website’s speed level and make the necessary adjustments.

One of the best tools that you can use for speed monitoring is Lighthouse.

Lighthouse can be used on all web pages, and it makes general performance audits.

You can get it from Chrome DevTools or install it as a browser extension.

Alternatively, you can check your waterfall stats in GTmetrix:

Waterfall-Diagram-from-GT-Metrix

With the explosion of mobile-first index and mobile-driven search, shifting your initiative towards speed improvement is totally beneficial.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Fred Update – The Unexpected” tab_id=”fred-update-the-unexpected”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]

GOOGLE FRED UPDATE

Fred is like that old high-school buddy who suddenly dropped by your home and requested to stay with you for few months.

Almost everyone in the SEO industry was surprised and waylaid by Google’s Fred Update.

It basically sent waves of panic all around the world, and most SEOs were just forced to watch.

Fred targeted aggressive monetization tactics because Google believes that such strategies have negative impact on user experience.

The websites that received negative impacts and penalties were the ones that failed to give substantial value to their readers.

Cash-cows, specifically.

Apparently, low-quality information portal sites were also targeted.

But Fred is not just a harbinger of bad news!

Some websites received massive traffic spikes in one night.

google fred update winnergoogle fred updateSource: GSQI

This could mean that Fred is just a pre-requisite for something that might happen along the SEO road.

One thing’s for sure…

Fred’s effects won’t go away anytime soon.

What It Means to Your Business

If your website is not negatively affected by the Fred Update, congratulations!

But you must not be complacent…

Google is now playing the high-quality card, and all website owners must follow suit.

Just think about this – if users think that your website is reliable, they will trust your business.

That’s a possible road to conversion!

What You Should Do

Right from the start, develop your website while thinking about your users’ experience.

You should also know that Google is getting serious with the “content quality is king” thing.

Combine all possible factors to raise the individual and general quality of your web pages.

By doing so, Google will view your website as ‘relevant, valuable, and user-friendly.’

Work closely with your webmaster, designer, and content strategist.

Brainstorm for the best content ideas, and don’t rehash topics.

Go for evergreen articles, but make sure they’re useful!

View the business spectrum using the perspective of your readers and visitors.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Possum – Little Changes Mean Big Things” tab_id=”possum-little-changes-mean-big-things”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]

GOOGLE POSSUM UPDATE

Even Google can play possum.

That’s how tricky the world has become!

Possum, one of Google’s useful updates, has specifically targeted the local SEO scene.

It may not be an impacting update for the entire search, but it changed the raw premise of the Local Search.

According to Joy Hawkins’ study, here are some of the highlights of the Possum Update:

  • Businesses that fall outside of the physical city limits saw a huge spike in ranking – this gives them an equal footing in ranking with businesses who are located inside the city area.
  • Google is now filtering based on address and affiliation – if you have multiple business locations but all profile contains same phone number and points to the same website, Google will just show up one or 2 of your listing in the local search results.
  • The physical location of the searcher is more important than it was before – this one is pretty straightforward. It means that the search results will vary on where the searcher is located.
  • Search results vary more based on slight variations of the keyword searched – if you permutate the keywords (e.g. Metro Manila condominium, condo Metro Manila, or condo in Manila), you will get different search results for each keyword.
  • The local filter seems to be running more independently from the organic filter – as explained in this graph below:

google filterPossum’s goal is to diversify local results and make them more ‘spam-free.’

Google filter, for example, was beefed up to reflect better results, thus leading to exceptional local business improvements.

Even businesses outside physical city limits received a considerable ranking boost.

With Possum, Google will also filter businesses according to address and affiliation.

This made the local SEO game fairer for everyone.

Possum also paved the way for long-tail keywords, especially ones that are directed by location (i.e. Petting Zoo NY or NY Petting zoo).

So if your business relies on local search, Possum can give you the needed boost.

What It Means to Your Business

The tweaked filters will increase the visibility rate of your business, depending on chosen keywords.

Possum will give your small business a fighting chance in the local scene.

You don’t have to worry a lot if your business is outside city limits.

With a local keyword-based strategy, you’ll be safe.

What if you have multiple business centers using the same address?

From time to time, only one of those centers will appear up in local search results.

Fair game, indeed.

Google My Business listings have also become more valuable than ever.

What You Should Do

Work with a reliable local SEO specialist.

This is a very sound strategy if your business relies on local search traffic and all that jazz.

But if your business was established with global scale in mind, you may need specific adjustments.

A suitable example: refocus 35-50% of your SEO strategy to local premise, but don’t neglect a global reach strategy.

This strategy is scalable, so you’re always free to make changes.

You should also optimize your keywords properly so that more areas are properly covered.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”The Mobilegeddon – Mobile Rules the World” tab_id=”the-mobilegeddon”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]

GOOGLE MOBILEGEDDON

There’s no doubt about it: the propensity for mobile search has climbed by as much as 150%.

Why not?

Mobile search is more convenient and has the potential to deliver the same caliber of a desktop search.

The Mobile-friendly update, also known as Mobilegeddon, is an update focused on prioritizing mobile users.

It’s considered as one of the most important modern updates of Google, and perhaps the one that has generated the largest positive impact.

Mobile-friendliness is a real thing nowadays.

If your site is not mobile-friendly, it’ll lose out in the long-term SEO game.

Fortunately, there are numerous effective ways to make your site mobile-friendly.
amp - accelerated mobile pages

AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages is a fine example.

This open-source project aims to improve your site’s mobile standards.

An AMP-driven work will make your site pages clean, efficient, beautiful, and totally compatible with all known devices.

On top of all positive things brought by Mobilegeddon, Google will also put more sites into its mobile-first index.

Great news for mobile-optimized websites!

What It Means to Your Business

Hundreds of websites are now mobile-optimized, but you shouldn’t lose hope.

If your website is not yet mobile-optimized, you can simply look for an AMP expert and lay down your expectations or preferences.

What are the benefits of a mobile-friendly site?

Since many buyers conduct transactions through their smartphones, the funnel is faster for you.

This can lead to better conversions and more sales.

The real goal is maintaining the attention of the prospect or visitor.

Mobile search is rigged on its own.

It has tons of distractions, and people love to think about many things simultaneously.

One pop-up is enough to take away a sale.

You have the first 3-5 seconds to get the attention of your visitor.

Within that range, site’s convincing and persuasion factor plays a major role.

And you should bear in mind that mobile optimization is a continuous game.

More changes might roll out in the coming years, so you need to be ready.

What You Should Do

Check the mobile-friendliness level of your site.

The tools that you can use are Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, PageSpeed Insights, BrowserStack, and W3C’s MobileOK Checker.

Afterwards, you can use the insights to determine the direction of your mobile improvement strategy.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Pigeon – Croo, Croo, Local Businesses” tab_id=”pigeon-update”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]

GOOGLE PIGEON UPDATE

While Possum has improved the game of local search, Pigeon created the foundations.

google pigeon updateThe Pigeon update has many things under its belt, primarily ranking signals, search synonyms, local search variations, and the popular Knowledge Graph.

Pigeon has also improved the density and value of Google Maps Search.

Thanks to Pigeon, everyone can now search the Maps in a rather clean and coherent way.

Also, Yelp may be old, but Pigeon has affected it positively as well. Yelp queries now have better results.

Just like the free-flying pigeon, the Pigeon update spreads bits of useful information in the local business search arena.

This update is the main reason why many local businesses have flourished in the past years.

What It Means to Your Business

Optimizing your business for local search will unlock the raw, positive power of Pigeon.

True – the effects may be behind the lines, but you’ll see dramatic improvements.

If your business operates in the local scene, the positive effect is even more prevalent.

You just need to find a local SEO provider that will guide you accordingly.

What You Should Do

ROUTE A:

  • Create a draft template of your business.
  • Include everything that you need – keywords, local information (name, address, phone number or NAP), and other related data.
  • Next, coordinate with your local SEO guy.
  • Set your expectations, timeline, and other parameters.
  • Then wait for results.

Alternatively, you can also do a DIY local SEO campaign focusing solely on developing your website as a go-to hub for local activities and happenings.

ROUTE B:

Everything local can contribute well to your search visibility, regardless if you do it offline or online.

The idea is to create more mentions, links and buzz about your business to the point that it’s rocking in the local.

Here are some few steps you can try:

  • Target local keywords for ranking
  • Create local content ideas such as local events, local news, and local fun facts
  • answer informational questions in local areas through your website content (ex. what are the best places to dine in Puerto Princesa, Palawan)
  • generate local media coverage/publicity
  • guest post on local blogs
  • host/sponsor local events
  • attend local events
  • guest lectures at local universities

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Penguin – Ain’t No Happy Feet Here” tab_id=”peguin-aint-no-happy-feet-here”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]

GOOGLE PENGUIN UPDATE

A real deal SEO won’t cover algorithm changes without glazing over the Penguin update.

google penguin update cute but deadly
Google Penguin Update –
cute but deadly

Despite its cute and seemingly harmless name, the ongoing Penguin Update led to a massive crackdown against websites which spammed search engines.

Link buyers were hit hard, especially those who’ve built low quality links in a very vulgar way (over-optimized anchor text).

It’s a major initiative against spammy links aiming to manipulate the organic search results.

Still, website owners were able to use Google’s Disavow Tool to remove any suspicious/toxic links and regain their ranking.

Also, Penguin is so powerful that it can impact individual pages in your website.

Gone are the old days of site-wide checks and penalties.

What It Means to Your Business

Penguin is a cookie-cutter.

Simply put, it can make or break your business if you don’t pay attention to your link-building strategies.

But as long as you have a strong SEO strategy in place, you can set your alarm bells in a relaxed state.

What You Should Do

To remove all doubts, you should do a general website and link audit – search for those low-quality and toxic links using tools such as SEMrush.

Similar to SEMrush, I also recommend these tools for link checking:

  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • ScreamingFrog
  • W3C Link validation tool
  • Majestic
  • Ahrefs
  • CognitiveSEO

Be vigilant about these low quality links, and track them down efficiently.

If you haven’t had any links pointing to your site yet, then that’s good!

Start piling up strong, relevant and authority links while keeping your anchor text profile diversified.

If you want to save time, you can seek the services of a professional link-builder and link strategist.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_tta_section][vc_tta_section title=”Panda – Say Goodbye to Low-Quality Content” tab_id=”panda-say-goodbye-to-low-quality-content”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]

GOOGLE PANDA UPDATE

In the ‘ye olde’ days of SEO and Internet Marketing, it’s common to see blogs and websites stuffed with almost senseless keywords.

This is prevalent in the past.

Many site owners reaped profits from such manipulation, and Google’s leniency solidified numerous dirty SEO tactics.

Everyone believed that this leniency will stay for many years – a real paradise awaiting SEO moneymakers and cash cow creators.

But then Panda came…

…it’s not chewing on bamboo shoots.

google panda updateGoogle’s Panda update hit many low-quality sites almost without any warning.

Thousands of websites lost their traffic overnight, and it took them quite a while to recover.

Some even waved the white flag.

Fortunately, site owners who improved their content regained whatever traffic and ranking they’ve lost.

Perhaps even better!

With Panda, you should never – ever – think about making low-quality content.

What It Means to Your Business

Low-quality content will bring you nothing but penalties.

And worst, your users won’t gain value from your website as well!

Panda is actually a sweet deal if you plan to invest in your site quality, SEO, and greater overall value.

It’s probably one of the fairest algorithmic updates Google has ever introduced.

What You Should Do

Like any other algorithmic updates, you can surge past Panda if you have a plan.

Only if you have a plan!

Pin down your niche right from the start.

Determine the SEO keywords that must be used, and ask yourself how you can provide value for your readers and visitors.

Afterwards, you can now focus on creating cornerstone content using your SEO keywords (also map out plans on how to promote these content).

Never lose sight of high-quality content!

If you’re aware that you can’t make such content, outsource a team instead.

Craft a wonderful and coherent editorial calendar.

This will make your content distribution process highly efficient.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_tta_section][/vc_tta_accordion][vc_column_text]Knowing all about the recent and past SEO updates will mean a great thing for your organic search marketing campaign.

So study all of Google algorithm updates in 2018 and other SEO related trends.

Draft solutions and brainstorm possible ideas if you have a team.

This way, you’ll be few steps ahead of the competition.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]