Google clearly has a history of confounding webmasters with their algorithm updates. As an SEO enthusiast, you’re expected to keep constant track of the updates so as to ensure that your online visibility is not adversely impacted. In the course of the post, we have documented the most dominant updates rolled out by the search engine giant in recent times. Do remember that it’s no enduring handbook of sorts – but if you want to ensure that your present organic rankings are not affected negatively, you’ve to acquaint yourself with the major updates. Documented below are details.
1. Mobile-First Indexing
It was on 26th March 2018, that Google rolled out its “mobile-first indexing update”. Before you arbitrarily start equating mobile first indexing with search engine results, let us tell you that “ranking” and “mobile –first indexing” are independent of each other. The announcement from Google came only after one and a half years of meticulous experimentation when it decided that it’s the mobile version of the particular page which will be prioritized when it comes to crawling, indexing and ranking.
So far, it was the desktop version of a page which was used for indexing. However, the decision to shift to the mobile version was made in the wake of an increased number of mobile users facing issues. Mobile first indexing implies that mobile versions of web pages will now be used for indexing. This algorithm is all about “how content is gathered”—not how it is ranked. Content which has been secured from the mobile versions of pages will not necessarily enjoy ranking advantage of any sort. Even if you only have a desktop –site, you will continue to be featured in Google’s main index.
2. Shortening of Search Result Snippets
This particular announcement might as well leave you perplexed – considering the fact that it came only five months after increasing the length of snippets. The search snippets are now shorter on an average – but just a tad longer than what was announced in last December.
Danny Sullivan has pointed out that the length of the snippets doesn’t really have to be fixed. The search engine will select anything which is deemed useful. Webmasters don’t have to change the way in which they are writing meta- descriptions as of now. Google has adopted a dynamic approach towards the selection of snippets. It has been found that most of the snippets are generated from the content itself and not from the meta-descriptions.
3. Zero result SERP’s (Search Engine Result Pages)
Dr. Peter J Meyers clearly opines that zero SERPs make for the future of Google search that we should have clearly envisaged by now. As per latest reports, Google has already conducted extensive experiment whereby it has actually got rid of the organic results for a limited set of searches. The percentage of searches thus pertaining to this particular update is limited. So, as of now, if you’re seeking answers to a small set of questions (date/time queries), you might as well be greeted only with Google’s “Knowledge Card” minus the SERP.
Knowledge Card dominates Google Home (when it comes to these limited set of searches – you will find no SERP at all). On mobile –however- you still have the chance to at least continue with the SERP. This particular update was announced on 14th March, 2018.
4. The Core Algorithm update
On March 12, 2018 Google Search Liaison announced on Twitter that in the preceding week they had rolled out a large-scale core algorithm update, which is done on a regular basis every year. Actually, Google releases minor or major changes on a regular basis to shore up search experience. These changes might as well be “specific” in nature, while others are broader changes.
Keeping this particular update in view, webmasters aren’t really supposed to do anything. They may end up noticing a few changes in terms of ranking gain or drop. If your site has experienced plummeting rankings, all you need to do is improve your overall website.
5. Bolstering your local knowledge panel in Google My Business
The search engine giant has announced that businesses can now add a business description to the Google local listings directly within Google My Business. If you are doing that, then your business description will show up right in the local knowledge panel or for that matter in the Google Maps – as far as the results of your search is concerned.
In order to make the most of this particular feature, you can actually go on to log in to your Google My Business and click on the info button right on the menu bar – which will lead you to a newly added section called “Add Business Description”. Click right on the pencil button and you will be greeted with a menu, allowing you to enter a brief description of your business.