4 Ways the SEO Landscape Has Changed


One of the SEO changes in 2018 was the switch to mobile-first indexing

The search engine optimization (SEO) landscape is in a state of perpetual change: some minuscule, some major and some we just don’t understand at first. In 2018, we saw a record number of SEO algorithm changes from SEO’s biggest player, Google. Of the thousands of tweaks and evolutions, there are a few that are worth a closer look as we plan new SEO strategies. Let’s take a look back at how SEO changed in 2018.

1. Mobile-First Indexing 

Digital strategists don’t always know about seo algorithm changes ahead of time, but this one was a long time coming. Since its introduction early this year, mobile-first indexing has completely changed how websites are ranked on desktop and mobile devices.

Mobile-first indexing is one way Google is adapting to the rise of smartphones. Simply put, websites designed for mobile devices are now ranked higher than those not. This has kept web developers across the country busy as they redevelop websites to include more mobile-friendly user experiences as the SEO landscape continues to evolve.

2. Algorithm Changes

Google pushed an unprecedented number of algorithm changes this year. Most were smaller ones that flew under the radar. The most substantial SEO algorithm change came on August 1st and has since been dubbed the “Medic Update.”

Google has not released any specifics about this update, but refers to it as a “core algorithm change.” Digital strategists, however, have noticed significant changes for websites relating to the medical industry. Google has told us there is no fix for the effects of this change.

3. No-Click Searches

We recently discussed the rise of no-click searches, explaining how most searches on mobile devices don’t end in a click. Instead, searchers find the information they’re looking for in snippets found above the search results.

These snippets have completely changed our SEO strategies. Ranking on the first page is still a great achievement, but the real prize is ranking in one of these snippets. Featured snippets boost brand recognition and are the key source of information for voice assistants, like Siri and Alexa.

As these facets of search get more relevant, as does the key to reaching these “position zero,” structured data.

4. Privacy-First Search Engines

Global data breaches from companies like Facebook and Twitter have left searchers increasingly concerned about their data security. Search engines offering improved privacy features, like DuckDuckGo and Ecosia, are gaining market share with each week.

Interestingly enough, these search engines do not operate with their own algorithms. Both DuckDuckGo and Ecosia rely on Microsoft’s Bing search algorithm. Google remains the rightful king of search, but the rise of alternative search engines proves that marketers should also consider optimizing for Bing as they plan their SEO strategies through 2019.

Adapting to the Changes in the SEO Landscape 

Like so much of digital marketing, the only constant in the existing SEO landscape is change. As we look toward the next few years in search, we expect these trends will lead the way for new best practices and more changes in SEO algorithms. Mobile-first design will become mandatory, content will focus on providing meaningful answers and structured data will dictate a website’s construction

For more on the best SEO strategies, take a look at our Search Engine Strategy services or reach out to our digital marketing experts as you navigate the next phases of the current SEO landscape.