Picture of Tim Jones, CEO + Founder
Written by Tim Jones, CEO + Founder

I'm sure that you're aware that Google often makes changes to how search works.

You probably talk with your marketing folks and determine the next steps you need to take.

Well, recently, Google has made a few changes that can drastically hurt your business if you're not aware and do not take the appropriate action.

With Google updating search results in real-time, this can be critical for you to maintain a good search ranking.

These changes could be your opportunity to jump past a few competitors in search, or for them to skip past you if you ignore these changes.

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1. SSL

If you haven't already heard; Google is now penalizing sites that do not use an SSL on their website.

What is an SSL? It stands for Secure Sockets Layer.

It's a security protocol that protects the data of the users on your website by ensuring the data transferred between the browser and the server remain encrypted.

Google wants to send users to sites they know are safe. Moz shared April 2017 that half of Google's page 1 results are site's with SSL.


2. SEO

Becuase people are searching differently than they were several years ago, Google has changed how they rank web pages.

We were once focused solely on ranking for specific keywords. We now need to focus on ranking for keyword clusters.

Google's algorithm has a better understanding of a user's intent when searching on google. It knows that people can use a variety of phrases to search for the same thing.

For example, the following phases could all return a local computer repair company.

  • Why won't my computer turn on?
  • My computer is now working.
  • Who can fix my laptop?
  • Do I need a new computer?

Google now understands that you are looking to fix your computer if possible.

So how do we "do SEO" in 2018? We develop topic clusters and pillar pages.

Here's a great blog by HubSpot on pillar pages and topic clusters.


3. Mobile First

We saw it coming, and now it's here. Google is officially indexing based on a mobile-first approach.

We saw a few years ago when they were labeling sites with a mobile-friendly design in mobile search results. Soon after they removed websites that didn't have a mobile-friendly site from search results.

Now they are ranking sites based on them have a consistent mobile experience. Meaning that your website needs to be responsive.

If you have a mobile version of your site, the content and experience cannot be much different from the other versions of the site or you may your search rank may suffer.

Google's mobile-first indexing approach makes sense considering that more than 60% of searches happen on smartphones and other mobile devices.

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4. Google Maps

Google is starting to charge for using their Google maps API. This change won't affect most sites as long as you are only using their basic embedded maps.

If you are using any of their dynamic features, then you may be at risk of charges.

Here's an outline of the pricing structure.

Even if you fall under the "free status" don't get too comfortable. Google is offering a credit for use under a specific threshold.

This change to Google Maps means two things:

  1. If you go over it will cost you.
  2. That credit may eventually (very likely in our opinion) go away

We believe that the threshold will lower over time and Google will eventually remove the credit.


Need help?

If you're not sure where you fall in any of these, or you already know you need help feel free to schedule a time to chat and get some advice or a free website consult. Click Here To Book Your Free Consult