Google updates its algorithm hundreds of times each year. But a few of those changes matter significantly more than others. Some of the changes that are most material in the last 6 months follow. Ignore them and risk your place in Google rankings at your own peril.
Page Load Speed
Google has tools to allow you to see how fast your pages load. On mobile we know users are less patient than on a PC and the rule of thumb is 3 seconds. If your pages take longer than that, users are starting to give up. And Google is also going to give up. If your pages take longer than that Google will now reduce your ranking in search engines. Search for Developer Page Speed test to see how your website fares. If it is slow talk to your web developer to optimise your page loading time.
Especially for physical businesses and for regional businesses this is paramount. Another edit that will impact your Google rankings is claiming your business’ location. This is easily done via Google My Business, and these listings are critical. You must ensure your Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP) are consistent with all mentions of your business online. You can also foster this with submissions to business directories to build the ‘citations’ inbound to your site, improving the strength of your location in Google’s eyes.
Google is looking to answer questions for people as quickly as they can. Sometimes this means they answer the question before the user goes to ANY websites for more info. Google “scones recipe” and you will see the first listing is not a search result, but a snippet. What are the questions in your industry you can answer that might help your business and brand dominate these Rich Snippet results? If you think you have one then get your SEO or Digital Marketing agency to structure your info for Google to consider them for certain questions.
Mobile friendly layouts are a must today. Mobile searches make up 60% of all searches, nearly half as many as PC searches. Your website MUST work well on mobile or Google will penalise your rank. And this is very east to check, simply look for Google Responsive Website test. Additionally, popups are now considered a no-no. If you have intrusive popups for users when the page loads then Google will be penalising your site since earlier in 2017.
Content and Links
Lastly and probably most importantly Google looks for quality content that is popular and well linked to by other parties. Quality content on your home page and strong internal linking within your site will help signal to users and web crawlers that pages in your site that are most valuable. Valuable pages equals better Google rankings.
Search ranking and the principles that guide it are constantly changing. But following these few principles will ensure you are aligned with the simple tenets that Google continues to guide marketers and website owners in order to have your website rank well for topics you are an expert in. As always, if you have a question we would love to hear from you.
See our other Marketing articles….
Mark Jones is the Managing Director of Your Digital Solution. A specialist Digital Strategy, Marketing and Technology consultancy in Brisbane. www.yourdigitalsolution.com.au