June 5, 2018

5 Changes to the Google Algorithm

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Michael Jenkins
Michael Jenkins

CEO - Shout Agency
[email protected]


Google has been busy over the last few months with changes to their algorithm. From updates to their mobile algorithm to adjusting the search engine layout, we see plenty of positive and negative changes happening at the search engine.

We already discussed some changes in a previous article. However, we want to talk about all of them in one place.

Five Google algorithm changes

#1. Mobile first indexing

We discussed the update to a mobile-first index a few times over the past year. What does that mean? Traditionally, Google would index sites for desktop users. Then in 2016 mobile searches outpaced desktop searches for the first time. Hitwise reports how some industries like food & beverage show 72% of searches from a mobile device.

Mobile users have different patterns than desktop users. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on their needs.

For example, 2 out of 5 adults perform a voice search every day according to Location World. The vast majority of these searches take place through smartphones or smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

#2. Brackets updates

Google made a few changes to how snippets affect your search traffic. Snippets are the mini descriptions you see under a listing on a Google search. The importance of snippets is that they are mini sales pages for your website.

However, Google always wants the highest quality content. Therefore, the updates focus on how you can provide the quality content in your Google Snippet.

You start by answering your audiences’ questions right away in the search. By doing this, you become a go-to source they trust when visiting your website.

The other reason for the Bracket update is the search engine does not want you to use annoying marketing techniques on your Google Snippet. Instead, of a “buy now” hard sell that worked in the past, customers on the internet want a conversation.

In your snippets, ask questions based on their needs. When you do this, you give them a reason to learn more and click on your link.

Make your snippet approachable and informative with a hint of intrigue, so they want to learn more.

#3. Increased Google Snippet size

Additionally, Google used to restrict snippets to 160 characters. Since Google wants to give us as much information to searchers as possible, they extended Google snippets from 160 to 320 characters.

The description acts as a sales copy to entice people to visit your site from Google.

Google snippet

The additional characters give you more real estate to sell your site on Google. However, brevity is an essential component of conversions. In essence, don’t get too wordy!

#4. Zero result search update

The zero-result update is an extreme example of the direction Google might go with future searches. The good news is that the update so far only affected .01% of searches. The update hid all searches on the page and asked people if they wanted to see the results of the search.

Not having any results for a search engine is scary. However, more than likely this was a test for Google to improve their Knowledge Cards in the future. That means search marketers need to focus on a good schema structure for each web page.

Google Knowledge Graph Results

#5. Google map adds

The next update is not technically a Google algorithm search update. However, the recent changes to Google map affect your Google local search results.

The new Google map ads take valuable organic real estate. Just like how Google ads changed organic results placed in the top search, Google map adds can affect Google local results as well

If you want excellent local search results, you need to focus us on getting more local citations and positive reviews for your Google local page. If you do not have the Google local page, make sure to register through Google My Business.

Final thoughts

As Google continues to update their search algorithm, it is imperative to know how to use their system to get organic search traffic. The more you can stay on top of updates like this, the more you can beat your competition at search.

You have any questions about the new Google search algorithm changes or want to improve your search results the general schedule a free consultation with the leading SEO Agency in Melbourne today!


Book a free 45 minute consultation today.

    Book a free 45 minute consultation today.

      Shout logo in grey

      As Founder and Director of Shout Web Strategy, Michael Jenkins is at the forefront of digital marketing. Since it’s inception in 2009, Shout has built a strong reputation as one of Australia’s leading strategic SEO agencies, assisting online businesses to formulate, implement and track successful marketing strategies. Michael is a respected thought leader and digital strategist, specialising in online strategy, corporate SEO, Google retargeting, email and conversion rate optimisation, and online reputation management. Follow Michael on Google+, connect with him through LinkedIn or visit the Shout Web Strategy website.

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