A Look Back at 2018’s Google Checklist
We’re through with 2018 and it’s been a crazy year. What were we thinking about this time, a year ago? Take a look back at what SEO was like in 2018 right here.
By 2022, retail eCommerce sales are expected to hit over 700 billion dollars. It’s no wonder why we are all paying close attention to the Google checklist and how we can secure our rankings in the search engines.
If you have anything to sell, from services to products to ad space, you want to rank in the search engines. Organic search traffic doesn’t require you to pay every time you get a click like PPC does, either.
While PPC is a solid strategy to gain traffic for your business, let’s focus on what we need to take away from 2018 in terms of SEO and ranking in Google. Continue reading for a blast from the past and see what you might have missed in 2018.
The Mighty Google Checklist & SEO Must-Knows
The SEO landscape was rather choppy in 2018 with significant new updates rolling out. Google is always changing something and SEO companies are trying to stay ahead of the curve and learn how to improve SEO.
Let’s take a look at the major SEO changes in 2018.
1. Mobile-First Index
Not all Google roll-outs go smoothly, and this includes the mobile-first index roll-out. If you were watching your search rankings, it is likely you saw some serious dancing going on in the search.
Some webmasters were rather upset to see their rankings go down even though they had built websites specifically for user devices. Responsive websites didn’t have much of a problem, and Google finally sorted out the issue, but it was still big trouble.
Even the people that experienced the temporary bump to the top of the search engines were upset when they lost their rankings.
If your site didn’t make it to mobile responsive design in 2018, this is something you need to take care of immediately. Having a responsive website is a necessity if you want to continue to rank in the search engines.
2. The Speed Update
If you had a slow site in 2018, you experienced the hit. When mobile users experience slow sites, they don’t have any patience. If results aren’t delivered in less than 3 seconds, that person is clicking away.
Since Google aims to deliver the best user experience for their search users, if your site wasn’t giving a great user experience because it was slow, your site was in trouble.
The good news is that Google gave plenty of helpful advice on how to make your website faster like using AMPs. AMPs are accelerated mobile pages, but some people aren’t a fan of these pages since they can strip out code some programs require to operate.
3. More Voice Search
Alexa and other voice search powered technologies have shaken up the search world. 2018 was filled with many different recommendations on how to make sure your website was the result pulled up from voice search.
Since voice search is considerably new, it is likely we will see many more changes. The changes we experienced in 2018 may be considered mild once we get into the things that will take place with voice search in this year.
4. Backlinks Aren’t as Much of a Factor
If you were to rewind before 2018 to years like 2010, links ruled the world. If you could create a bunch of spammy comment or forum links, you would be set to rank at the top of the SERPs. In 2018, the importance of backlinks decreased, but they are still an important part of SEO.
The way links are valued has changed while Google hasn’t been completely forthcoming about the changes, making sure to be consistent with your link building efforts is important. The good news is that other sites with low-quality content are less likely to be able to outrank your high-quality website with the use of backlinks.
5. Content Is Increasingly Important
Since links have lost some of their weight, more weight goes toward the actual content on the page. The more high-quality content you have on your page that is helpful to the people viewing the page, the more likely you are to rank on Google.
While content has been important even before 2018, it is even more important today. The type of content you create should be varied including text, video, infographics, and other images. The more helpful media you have on your page, the more of a chance you have to get favorable search engine rankings.
When you create content, have a strategy before you post a topic. Failing to create a content strategy could keep you from finding valuable linking opportunities to or from your top pieces of content. Since interlinking passes link juice, it is essential to your strategy that you carefully place these links within your website.
Using the Information You’ve Learned Strategically
The updates above will continue to be important as you go into 2019. While there will be more updates that you’ll have to learn about and adjust accordingly, these updates are here to stay.
Putting a plan together that will allow you to benefit from these updates instead of being penalized from them is important. Pay attention to best practices like interlinking your content, citing authority sites by linking out in your content, and using schema to mark up your important content.
Each positive change you make to your website can make a major impact on your search engine rankings. Don’t wait to move on the knowledge you have. Using the information quickly will help you stay ahead of people trying to rank for the same terms you are trying to rank.
Don’t Navigate the Online World On Your Own
If you don’t have a full-time staff to dedicate to your marketing efforts, you might need help in various areas. After reading the Google checklist above, you might feel like you are behind on your marketing efforts. Instead of feeling left behind, take a look at our SEO services page today to get the help you need.