Two significant search updates in 2018 and how they may affect your business

Google E-A-TGoogle’s Algorithm (the clever code that decides your fate in the search engine positions) changes all the time. Some cite hundreds of times a year. Most of these changes are minuscule and all but those checking their positions on a minute by minute basis wouldn’t notice any difference but occasionally there are some that come about worth looking at in more depth. This year there have been two that have caught my eye. What follows is a quick summary of what they are about, how they could affect you and and what you need to do about them.

1). Mobile First Indexing.  

You may have already received an email from Google telling you that your site is being ranked by its mobile site first. We’ve been watching this roll out over the summer months but it feels a bit more aggressive now. I’ve seen many of these emails go out over the last few weeks which tells me that Google mean business.

What does it mean for you?

Maybe nothing; if you have a responsive website which has the same content on it as your main desktop site, you’re probably going to be ok but keep an eye out for any fluctuations in traffic over the coming months. If you have a mobile site which you cut information out of because you thought it was irrelevant to the user on the move then you’ll need to think about this carefully, as you may also be hiding key information from Google which will affect your rankings. If you don’t have a mobile site at all….well shame on you…its 2018!

What you need to do.

Audit your mobile content. Is there anything missing and if so what? Make applicable changes based on your findings. Give Google what it wants.

 

2). Google E-A-T 

The second and slightly more difficult update to get your head around came in form of Google E-A-T. An acronym they’ve been using since ’14/’15 but just recently has the SEO world engaged in discussion more than I’ve seen for a while. This always means I sit up and listen. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Its expected to leap into the top 3 most important ranking factors this year. This needs careful consideration.

What does it mean for you?

In order to demonstrate expertise you need to be an expert in your field. This isn’t going to apply to every site but certain industries could find themselves hit harder than others – Finance, Health and Legal in particular (see YMYL). Authority comes down to the people writing your content. Are they recognised in their industry as thought leaders? Do other respected sites talk about or mention them? How well do they/you feature on reviews? To gain trustworthiness you need to make users feel safe. SSL certificates are a must these days and simple things like giving the user more information about you and your company will all help.

What you need to do.

There is no silver bullet here. Google recommends some of the standard advice around creating useful, engaging and educational content but you should be doing that anyway 😉 Other ideas include; ensuring your about us page is well crafted and up-to-date, same with your contact page. In my experience these two pages are often forgotten about and left for years. Consider including an FAQ’s page for your users (wow this harks back to early 2000’s). You’re also going to need to make sure your content writers engage on social media with others and have quality bio pages which demonstrate awards, citations and other reasons that show why they should be considered an authority. Encourage people to leave you reviews across the internet. The more good things people say about you/your company, the greater the trust will be.

So there you have it, a few tips you can act on today. For me this has just shown how important personal branding is again (helps demonstrate E-A-T) and I’m pleased that I launched my course on it earlier this year. It appears that a reinvigorated E-A-T may just have come at the right time for me! Thanks Google.

Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

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