4 Ways Search Changed in 2018
Digital strategists don’t always know about 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.
Google pushed an unprecedented number of algorithm changes this year. Most were smaller ones that flew under the radar. The most substantial 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.
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.
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.
Like so much of digital marketing, the only constant in SEO is change. As we look toward the next few years in search, we expect these trends will lead the way for new best practices. 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.