Google is smarter than us. Not just smarter than you, not just smarter than me, but smarter than the collective us. And that is okay. It also means that it learns what works and what doesn’t and changes accordingly. Don’t be surprised by the changes Google makes — be prepared! Read on and learn about some of the anticipated changes in Google for 2018.
Plan for Updates to the False News Algorithm
Since 2010 Google has been having issues with content farm-type spam content appearing in the search engine results. Google has released a plethora of Google Panda updates that target poor-quality and thin content that has been appearing since February of 2011.
This information is especially relevant since Google has been dealing with the problem of the promotion of false news for almost two years now. They have been implementing a series of corrective and disciplinary actions such as removing and banning individuals and pages that publish or promote false stories or news (actual fake news), developing fact checking tags into the search results to maintain accuracy of information, making sure Google’s algorithm doesn’t value non-factual information, and evaluating new methods for people to properly report offensive auto-suggestions. One of the anticipated changes in Google for the new year is just how seriously they are taking the threat of false news, and moving forward they are actively working to make sure that truthfulness is an important consideration when it comes to ranking factors.
Unlinked Brand Mentions Becoming a Factor
Search rankings could be in for a bit of a change with the confirmation from Bing that they will be taking linkless brand mentions as a ranking factor. Experts throughout the SEO industry, not to mention a recent Google patent, have a number of SEO community members believing that Google is also tracking unlinked brand mentions.
Unlinked, or linkless, brand mentions are far more frequent than linked mentions and this could be a great benefit to brands with a smaller reach. The tactics behind brand mentions have never changed, and this should motivate your dealership (or dealerships) to engage in as many conversations as possible with users about your brand. This is one of the unconfirmed, yet still anticipated changes in Google moving forward.
Mobile Is Now Priority
You don’t have to be as smart as Google to have seen this one coming; after leapfrogging desktop queries about three years ago, mobile search is the clear front runner in how the average user searches for an item online. As the user behaviour continues to move in the direction of mobile, Google has reacted by beginning to rank their search listings using mobile first indexing.
Expected to launch this year, the anticipated changes in Google regarding the ranking factor of your search listings will be heavily swayed by the mobile version of your content. It appears that, while being kept somewhat separate in the past, mobile searches will impact rankings for searches on all devices — not just mobile. Your dealership must be sure to have a website that not only works, but works well, on mobile devices in order to ensure that Google doesn’t deem it irrelevant.
Google’s Intrusive Interstitial Penalty will Ramp Up
Launched in 2017, the Intrusive Interstitial Penalty was meant to clean up the online advertising space to improve user experience; by not allowing intrusive and overwhelming ads, users would have a more enjoyable and efficient experience. The penalty’s main target was websites that had advertisements that would not allow users to close the ad, or placing the ad in such a way that a user would have to click through on the ad and be taken to the website. Some larger brands and websites were, and are still, utilizing these types of ads and, as a result, one of the anticipated changes in Google is that they will penalize these brands more heavily this year.
Stay ahead of the curve! Set your sights on the changes Google is making and set your sites up in a way that the algorithm changes won’t negatively affect your SEO. Your dealership should know about, and work within, all of the anticipated changes in Google for 2018, as well as keeping your eyes on the horizon and working within a long-term SEO strategy. Here at Strathcom, we are experts with this sort of thing, and our business is making sure your business stays visible.