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5 Critical Google Updates You Need to Know About in 2018

Posted by: Alexandra Heseltine - Thursday, June 07, 2018


Over the past few years, Google has talked about big shifts in user behavior and how they are changing their algorithms to align better with the way users are conducting online searches. This year, Google plans to roll out, or has already rolled out, several changes that may negatively affect your website, if appropriate steps aren’t taken. Below are critical changes you need to know about and the steps you can take to improve your web presence.


SSL Certificates and Secure Websites


For several years, Google encouraged web pros and their customers, to make their websites secure and upgrade them from http to https for Google Chrome searches ).

Websites that aren’t secure are likely see a large decline in visitors due to a warning message customer will see when visiting a site during a Google search. For eCommerce and B2C websites, not installing an SSL Certificate could heavily impact business and non-profits.

To identify a secure website, look at the left side of a website URL in the browser for the word “secure” and a padlock icon.Websites that are not secure will show "Unsecure" to the left of the URL. Some unsecure websites are already showing the above warning when visitors land on a page.


SSL Certificate Warning


To make your website secure, purchase an SSL Certificate for under $100 and have it installed by a professional. Depending on the size of website, installing the SSL Certificate can be a fair amount of work. For smaller websites 20 pages and under, it shouldn’t take a lot of time and is well worth the cost to hire a web pro to make this upgrade for you. Once the SSL Certificate has been installed, it can take up to 24 hours for it display the websites as secure.

Websites can be made secure by July, easily avoiding the unsecure designation and the risk of losing business.



Mobile-Friendly Websites and Mobile First for Searches

Websites moved from classic to responsive over four years ago, but a stunning number of websites have yet to make the leap to the responsive or adaptive design. Responsive and adaptive websites adjust in format from desktop to mobile devices. This is the best option for most businesses.

Google's Mobile First Search Algorithm

In April, Google announced they started ranking websites by mobile version, not the desktop version. This is a big shift and reflects user behavior changes from desktop searches to mobile searches.Google recently noted that 57% of all searches on Chrome are conducted from a mobile device and that number is expected to climb dramatically over the next few years.

There are several steps you can take to ensure your responsive website shows up well in Google “mobile first” searches. Moz states that mobile first websites should ensure that content, structured data, metadata, social metadata, and sitemaps are built into the responsive website.

Review your website to ensure it is properly set up for mobile-first searches. If your website is old and does not include a mobile version, now is the time to replace your website.

Google and Mobile Page Speed and Ranking

Page speed for mobile-ready websites will impact how well a website shows up in searches. Websites can be tested at: to identify areas that need improvement.

Here are five essential SEO tactics a website needs to improve page speed: structured data, Hreflang tags, user experience, metadata and verifiable mobile site.

Google My Business and Reviews Impact Search

Your My Business Listing on Google will have a greater impact on your website search results. Google My Business listings need to be fully optimized using keywords in the description, more photographs and plenty of authentic reviews. In fact, Google just released a change in business reviews so that only verified reviews show up in count an on the page. Unverified reviews are still available but not included in the review count.

Finally, other individuals beside the company designated person will be able to add content to your business listing. Be sure to check your business listing regularly to ensure information is accurate.

Voice Search is Here

Finally, websites need great content created for voice search. A recent article on Content Marketing Institute’s website indicates that each voice activated devices produces different results for voice search. Google’s Home device bases it search results on featured snippets from websites.

Google Home - Voice Search

We also know that keyword searches will likely show up differently on desktop searches than mobile searches. Craft content toward the mobile user and the experience you want them to have on a mobile device.

Quality Websites Reap Results

Quality websites are becoming more complex all the time. Today’s websites must be built to match the behavior of potential clients and the devices they are using for search. These websites must provide a great user experience with intuitive navigation, compelling content, quality structure and more. This new generation of websites takes careful planning and long hours to build a quality website that produces measurable results for a business but the effort is well-worth the investment in the long run.

Need help in upgrading or rebuilding your website to engage with today’s customers? Give us a call. We’d be happy to fill you in on the latest trends, answer questions and upgrade your website to meet Google's changes.

 Alexandra Heseltine | Marketing pro and creative director with over 25 years experience working with mid-sized to larger businesses and non-profits with experience in the construction, legal, banking and B2B sectors.

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