Search and Social Shifts: Every Recent Algorithm Update That Has Changed the Marketing Game

Is your organic content getting a fraction of the response that it used to? Has your Google ranking taken an unexplained hit? It’s likely that an algorithm update is the reason behind your diminished results.

Effective digital marketing strategies are a moving target. The stuff that worked last year or even last month may be less effective as a result of major changes. For this reason, it’s vital to stay up to date when there is an algorithm update.

Neil Patel and Eric Siu said it best in their popular Marketing School podcast – there is no need to panic when your rankings take a hit. Make sure you keep track of ranking changes, diversify your SEO practices and don’t be afraid to take a few risks in an effort to rise to the top.

We’ve covered every important algorithm update that has impacted SEO in the last twelve months to demonstrate how search is evolving.

Google ‘Quality’ Updates – May/June 2017

Several Google algorithm changes landed in the middle of last year, with sites that featured deceptive or aggressive advertising and user experience issues penalised by the search engine.

Google is often tight-lipped about their specific intentions with every new algorithm update, and these changes were no different. Website managers that reported significant SERP volatility were noted to have thin content featured on their sites.

Google’s Ongoing Mobile-First Index

The idea of Google ranking all websites based on the mobile version first has been around for many years, with the concept recently rolled out on a wide scale. This means that businesses who run mobile pages that are a shadow of the desktop version need to change their tune, quickly.

Speed and functionality are vital from a ranking perspective as well as for user experience. With the majority of online searches now coming from smartphones, mobile sites need to be responsive and optimised to work perfectly on all mobile devices. When it comes to creating content that ranks for SEO, business owners should be thinking about functionality and appearance on mobile before desktop.

Facebook’s ‘Meaningful Interactions’ Algorithm Update – February 2018

Perhaps the most damaging algorithm update in terms of effect on social reach was Facebook’s February change to News Feeds. Mark Zuckerberg stated his wish to bring people together and promote ‘meaningful interactions’ on Facebook, with the change resulting in a serious decline of viral organic content. Engagement-bait posts, where a business asks for a like or a reaction based on barely relevant content, were heavily penalised with the algorithm update.

Businesses were forced to change their social media strategies in the wake of the update. Rather than aiming for reach through sheer numbers, businesses began to prioritise meaningful content that elicited genuine discussion. Live video content from business pages was not penalised, resulting in owners demonstrating their services and personality through live broadcasts.

Google Broad Core Algorithm Update – March 2018

The search giant released a major algorithm update in March that sought to promote ‘pages that were previously under-rewarded.’ Businesses noted fluctuations in their search performance, but Google insisted that declines were not due to poor quality content. They stated that the system changes would benefit pages that were set-up according to sound white-hat SEO principles.

The change was further affirmation that old SEO methods that seek to trick search engines are on the way out.    

What Algorithm Update is Next?

It’s hard to say for sure, but the common theme of major algorithm updates in the past 12 months is the penalisation of sites with poor UX and low-quality content. From this, it’s safe to assume that future changes will follow a similar formula.

Businesses striving for consistently positive results need to focus on white-hat SEO strategies. People will always look for ways to break through using spammy techniques, but we can be sure that such strategies will never yield the results they once did. This is the age of quality content, and that’s unlikely to change.

Modern Search and Social Strategies from Studio Culture

Search Engine Optimisation techniques are constantly evolving, but the core principles at hand rarely change. Studio Culture is dedicated to strategic and relevant SEO strategies that place your business in a position of online strength.

To speak with Studio Culture about our SEO services for businesses in a range of industries, drop us an email at [email protected] or give us a call on 1300 200 113.

Brendan Golingan is an SEO Consultant.

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