7 Google changes that will make or break your SEO [The Next Web]

Each year, Google changes its search algorithm over 600 times. Each year, there are more updates than a year before. 2015 was a rollercoaster for marketers who were trying to keep up with Google… and we can expect much more yet to come in 2016.

Featured Snippets: Be the Answer

Using keyword research tools, you can craft your writing in a way which answers these questions succinctly yet leads the searcher to more detailed information. Over time, Google should acknowledge and select your results over the competition, while your cliff-hanger Answer Cards can attract more clicks.

RankBrain: Machines are Taking Over

“Machine learning is a core transformative way by which we are rethinking everything we are doing,” said Google’s Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichaion the company’s earnings call.

RankBrain is Google’s new machine-learning algorithm with artificial intelligence at its core, which better interprets search queries and learns from each action taken by searchers. In 2015, “a very large fraction” of the millions of queries a second that people type into the Google’s search engine were interpreted by RankBrain. The results – according to Google – were “better than expected.”

Structured Data: Soon a Ranking Signal

John Mueller, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst, let it slip that search results with rich snippets may soon rank higher

Mobilegeddon: The Mobile Update

Nevertheless, while Google has given website owners ample time to improve their mobile experience, the honeymoon may soon be over. Expect search becoming more mobile in 2016, and so you want to stay ahead of this trend.

Moreover, it is still absolutely critical to own a mobile-responsive website to appease user-experience (another Google ranking factor) and increase conversions.

If you haven’t made your website mobile yet, you need to. Fast. It’s the standard of the world we live in; people expect a great mobile experience at all times and if you can’t offer that, they will leave your website pronto.

Secure Web: HTTPS as a Ranking Signal

However, taking note of Google’s shifts now means better preparation for the future. Google may well give the HTTPS another push soon; weighting rank signals heavily towards HTTPS websites where user data is captured, such as e-commerce sites.

Bad Links: Real-Time Penguin Update

The fresh update to Google’s algorithm means more immediate positive ranking results should ensue if you rectify any detrimental assets i.e. low quality links, spammy anchor text and ratio of exact match (providing the rest of your website is solid). There’ll be less waiting for severe drops in rankings to become elevated.

On the other hand, it will become just as easy to get slapped with an algorithmic debunk in rankings if you are breaking Google’s Quality Guidelines, whether you are aware of them or not. Most penalties and filters are automated if your website gets flagged for violation.

Google My Business and Local Results Shake Ups

The need for local visibility is undeniable and Google have recently made these positions especially coveted…

For example, local search packs in the SERPs now show only three listings instead of seven.

In addition, local businesses have welcomed the new Google My Business, which replaces the failed Google+ Local experiment, and provides a hope for better, integrated management of local listings.

Lastly, Adwords Ads are continually taking up critical room above the fold on both desktop and mobile devices. On mobile in particular, not owning a top 3 ad position for a sales-focused query simply means – you’re not going to get a look in.

Curated from 7 Google changes that will make or break your SEO [The Next Web]

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See also  6 tips to help set up your startup on a shoestring [Business Insider Australia]

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