SEO is a strategy that doesn’t remain static. Marketers and website owners must reevaluate their SEO updates every year or even they see significant changes in their traffic or rankings. It is important to keep an eye on search engine changes and act promptly when you notice a shift in the patterns.
This article provides a look at the latest SEO updates and changes, their impact, and how to handle the strategy in 2019.
What Are the New SEO Updates in Search Engines?
Google changes its search engine algorithm regularly. There are dozens of major upgrades and around 500 to 600 smaller upgrades every year. Over the last year, Google released several influential upgrades, including the ‘Medic’ Core Update, Chrome Security Warnings, Mobile Speed Update, Video Carousel update, and much more.
January is typically a busy month for Google, but there hasn’t been confirmed activity. But SEO professionals and webmasters have noticed significant movement in their rankings and traffic, especially over the first two weeks of January. Many suspects it might be a reversal of the Medic update but that isn’t confirmed.
It is a little too early to speculate about updates and search engine activity. However, there are several SEO updates that happened in 2018 and they will influence SEO is 2019 significantly. If you’ve not already optimized your website for those changes, you have the perfect opportunity to do so now.
The Impact of SEO Updates and How You Can Optimize Your Website for Them
Every update influences SEO in different ways. For example, an update that reduces the length of rich snippets only needs you to upgrade your website’s metadata. An argument can be made that if you maintain a high-quality website, Google changes should have no impact on you. However, it is still a wise idea to keep an eye on the changes and consider their impact as we have done below.
1. Rich Snippets
Google released an unnamed SEO update in March 2018 that is called ‘Brackets’ by SEO experts. It is a core update, which means it has a global, widespread impact. It was focused on the quality and authority of the website content. Rich Snippets are meta descriptions that provide an image on the search engines and are more eye-catching than plain snippets.
The quality upgrade has impacted this component of the search results. Google doesn’t just value Rich Snippets, it factors in their quality as well. You need to optimize the rich snippet to ensure it delivers information in a concise and attractive manner.
Good quality Rich Snippets will lead to more clicks on your website. A large number of clients coupled with decent dwell times will single RankBrain, the algorithm that focuses on user experience. As RankBrain is the third most important ranking factor according to Google, you’ll experience a boost in rankings.
2.E-A-T and Y-M-Y-L
Everyone knows that page quality is a ranking factor. The same ‘Brackets’ update heightened the scrutiny on the quality of content by focusing on E-A-T. This concept has been around for a while, but it is especially important to focus on it in 2019. The Brackets update along with the Medic update focus on the Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness of the content creator.
For example, if you’re writing content on healthcare, it helps you have a background in the medical field and have published work on respectable platforms before. E-A-T determines what kind of value the website will provide search engine users.
Y-M-Y-L stands for Your Money Your Life. It is basically a set of instructions given to search for quality people in Google. They are told to follow higher standards for websites that directly impact a customer’s health, wealth, and well-being. This means healthcare, legal, financial, and other such sites.
However, experts have noted that Y-M-Y-L also affects every website that hosts online transactions. If someone can buy a product on your website, it falls under the Y-M-Y-L category.
In 2019, you need to pay more attention to these factors. Make sure your credentials are displayed on your website and work on bolstering your authority in the industry.
3. Mobile-Related SEO Updates
Google is pretty serious about mobile and knows it is the future of search. Traffic on mobile search has already surpassed desktop search by a large margin. That’s one of the reasons why it is necessary to ensure your website is mobile-friendly. There are several key aspects to focus on in 2019, especially if you haven’t upgraded your website for mobile performance already. These include:
- Mobile Speed – Google made page speed a ranking factor (https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2018/01/using-page-speed-in-mobile-search.html) for mobile search results in July. Most people expect websites to load in around three seconds or less. Around half of the visitors will abandon websites if it takes more than that time to load. The mobile speed update only affects the slowest of mobile websites, but the average load times are improving. This means you need to make sure you maintain a good speed over the long term.
- Mobile-First Index – Google rolled out a mobile-first index in March. This means all websites that have mobile versions will be ranked based on their mobile performance. For example, if you have a desktop site and a mobile site, but your desktop platform performs much better, you won’t score well in the rankings.
You need to make sure your website provides a great experience on all platforms, especially mobile.
4.The Three Holy Grails
Content, links, and user experience (RankBrain) are the three most important ranking factors. They will continue to dictate your website ranking throughout 2019. If you reach the required standards in these fields, it is easier to rank well. Here are some factors to keep in mind:
- Content – Make sure you have long-form, detailed content of more than 2,000 words. Research suggests that links on the first page of Google have anywhere between 2,000 to 10,000 words. Anything below 1,000 words doesn’t rank high. It is also important to make sure all content is informative, current, contains original research, and is well-written.
- Links – Links help build authority, which is especially important if you content E-A-T and Y-M-Y-L. Make sure you gain backlinks from high-authority websites and have a good link-building campaign.
- User Experience – High bounce rates, low website dwell times, and low CTR are all an indication of bad user experience. RankBrain is a sophisticated Machine Learning AI that keeps an eye on all of these factors. You will lose your ranking if it notices users having bad experiences.
It is important to keep an eye on these three factors associated with SEO updates and constantly optimize them in 2019. That will ensure you don’t fall back.
Keep your ear to the ground and be aware of Google’s algorithm updates. They will help you stay ahead of the game.