Google search engine changes give pause to digital marketing professionals as they determine SEO strategies for success. Some people go into full panic mode until they unearth all of the recent changes to how the search engine works. After all, failing to keep up with these periodic changes can easily result in lost traffic.
A Real World Example
Online retail giant Overstock.com provides a clear example of what can happen when a company doesn’t respond to Google search engine updates. Google tweaked its algorithms in the spring of 2015, and Overstock’s marketing department failed to update their marketing materials in response to those updates. By some measures, Overstock’s visibility dropped by as much as 35% that May. In return, their stock price declined 18% due to reduced profits.
All companies, large and small, are vulnerable to Google search engine changes. Keep reading to learn about some of the most recent Google search engine updates and make sure your website is keeping up.
Google Search Engine Changes: Mobile-First Indexing
Mobile searches are rapidly overtaking computer-based search engine usage. In response, Google is working hard to make sure that digital marketers are taking steps to provide a great mobile experience.
In April 2015, Google released an update that boosted rankings for websites that were optimized for mobile users. As a result, websites that were not set up for mobile devices were penalized. Google helpfully released a mobile-friendliness testing tool that allows you to quickly see how mobile-friendly your website is.
In 2020, we fully expect all sites to be transitioned to mobile first indexing on Google. With this in mind, small business owners should be ensuring their site doesn’t fall prey to a ranking drop due to a poor mobile experience. In summary, Google will rank sites according to how well they perform on mobile phones.
Google Confirms RankBrain and BERT Updates
The RankBrain algorithm continues to be updated as Google learns more information about the intent of various search terms. RankBrain is based on AI and is part of Google’s core Hummingbird algorithm.
BERT came on the scene in October of 2019 and helps Google understand the nuances of various search terms. For example, with search term “2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa,” the word “to” and its relationship to the other words in query are important for understanding the meaning.
Previously, Google wouldn’t understand the importance of this connection and would return results about U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil. “With BERT, Search is able to grasp this nuance and know that the very common word “to” actually matters a lot here, and we can provide a much more relevant result for this query,” Google explained.
There is no need to panic as Google search engine changes are continually rolled out. The creation of awesome websites that are lightening fast, secure, mobile responsive, content-rich, and easy to navigate, will prevail in the search results. But if you find that you are not confident in your ability to address these updates or others, call PersistSEO for expert assistance at 770.580.3736.