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Google Search Algorithm Updates 2018  

 

To stay relevant with Google and other search engines, our team at Smart Offices strives to stay in front of significant algorithm changes before the competition catches on.

 

Search Algorithm updates we feel is vital for a prepared 2018 SEO campaign:

 

1. Speed

Server response times and page element file sizes are going to play a significant role in mobile search rankings. Even though we are past the slow 3G days, and since free WiFi hotspots are getting smarter with throttling, sites that take too long to load will get ignored; and in turn, ignored by Google. On slow websites, the usual culprits are high resolution, large sized images which need to be compressed to a more reasonable size. Server response time is the next most substantial factor in speed results. That’s why it’s always a good idea to choose the right hosting provider for your website needs. A shared-host website on a budget server in California doesn’t help customers local to the Lansing area, for example.

2. The User Experience

Google is making the user experience, or UX, a critical SEO factor for 2018. Google wants to favor excellent user experiences for their users to discover not just relevant pages, but now also pages that engage more with the user. The strongest factors include:

  • Word Count

250-word count on each page was the old standard. 900 is the new one! Pages that contain 1200 words or more get an even higher score. Search engines are favoring longer articles in hopes to phase out those keyword-farming “spammy” sites that utilize split advertisement-heavy pages instead of grouping them into one page.

  • Reduced Duplicate Content

Search engines want to deliver sites that contain the highest level of unique text for the user. Duplicate content isn’t referring to words that are taken from other domains, or plagiarized material. Instead, it’s relating to content that repeats around the same site, or even on the same page (such as an ‘about’ section that appears on every page). Reiterating some things is fine, but in excess, it doesn’t add much to the overall user experience. An easy fix for reducing duplicate content is using the practice of paraphrasing. Also, if a page contains a significant portion of text that originated from another website, citing the source is an excellent idea for legal reasons. However, it does nothing for search engines because they aren’t able to make that connection, and might end up flagging that page as plagiarized.

  • More Rich content

Google’s search algorithms factor the presence, or lack of, rich content. Images, graphs, and video are good examples of rich content that increases the user experience on a webpage. The data shows that walls of text end up being categorized as TLDR (too long, didn’t read). According to our research, displaying text that is broken up with rich content is more likely to be fully digested by the reader. However, don’t go too crazy with images and video as you’ll see in the next segment.

3. Quality Backlinks

A backlink is a hyperlink from another trusted domain that links to a page on your website. Backlinks are now weighted differently based on the originating domain. The higher quality the link, the higher the bonus. The same goes for sites that are less than stellar, and could even cause a downrank is the originating domain isn’t in good standing with Google. Sites that sell backlinks are going to struggle with Google’s recent algorithm changes. Social media links are an example of strong backlinking.

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