It seems that for awhile, back in 2012, Google wasn’t really clear on what to name their algorithm updates. It started with somewhat descriptive update titles such as “Top Heavy” and “Exact Match Domain” (aka “EMD”). Then one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies must have been released as Google named their next updates “Pirate” and “Payday” (some one must have been hungry for fake caramel and nuts while watching the film)…
From that point forward Google decided to go all primal on us and began naming their updates after animals. (We know…a “pirate” is arguably an animal…but we digress). Most everyone has heard about “Penguin” and “Panda”. Other lesser known updates include “Pigeon” and “Hummingbird”.
Where does all of this lead us? Back to descriptive names such as the “Mobile Friendly” update. But why?
Quite frankly, the stats are over powering. Hitwise studied hundreds of millions of search engine queries over 11 different categories. To be precise, 58% of searches are via mobile devices. Some additional staggering statistics with some nice visuals indicate that voice search will account for more than 50% of searches by 2020…just 3 years from now people!
- Ok…so where does this leave you, the business owner, in 2017 (with or without a content marketing team)?
- What are the areas you need to focus on right now that are quick wins?
- And what do you need to begin doing that you should have started investing in 5 years ago (recall the Chinese proverb “the best time to plant a shade tree is 100 years ago…the next best time is today!”)
SEO Quick Wins
For starters, if your website is not “mobile friendly” as considered by Google, but also visually optimized for user experience; you may have already noticed your website slipping in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
One way Google is encouraging the visual user experience improvements on websites is to reward Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP as they are known in the search engine world.
Of course, if your website isn’t mobile responsive for smart phones and tablets, AMP is an intermediary step to the critical solution of your site registering as mobile friendly with Google. If your site is already mobile optimized then adding AMP is a significant bonus as Google features these types of Accelerated Mobile Pages in their Search Engine Results Pages.
Google Requires SSL Certificates
Google began to announce this change in the middle of 2016. Now, in January 2017 Google is well into “shaming” non httpS or SSL secured websites. That means that if your website loads with http…you will begin to see lower rankings and click through rates. Adding an SSL certificate to your site is a powerful benefit that will help ensure your site’s visibility in SERPs.
Search Engine Marketing
In addition to the above quick wins, you must begin to access your business in terms of its search engine marketing effectiveness.
The reality is that while implementing SSL httpS and Accelerated Mobile Pages on your site, and ensuring overall that your website is mobile responsive; are “one and done” projects:
It begins with a a bare minimum basic SEO Audit that will determine clearly where your site rests in the eyes of Google and Bing. There are many “checks marks” that your site must technically receive in order to:
A. be picked up at all by Google and Bing
B. be regularly indexed and “notified” as to when the search engines should crawl your site for new or updated content.
An SEO audit of this nature often reveals problem areas (weaknesses) in your site that need to be repaired in order to have a strong foundation in your online presence. Once the repairs are in place, and often side-by-side; moderate to longer term marketing strategies can be formed and campaigns created to deliver on your specific business goals.