As a new year starts, it’s common practice for people to reflect on the year they just had: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Well in the world of internet marketing things are no different, especially when it comes to search engine optimization or SEO and its trends. 2018 saw a lot of exciting things in regards to SEO including changes to Google’s management team, the development of Google local and Google My Business, and updates to the Google search algorithm. All of these things have played a large role in shaping what the future of SEO is going to look like as we head into 2019 and true to the saying “you can’t really know where you are going until you know where you have been” it is vital to examine what happened in the previous year to understand how to move forward in the new one. Companies like MyCity Social in Miami is a group that takes this practice seriously, which is why they’ve become the SEO company Miami locals trust with their digital marketing needs. Taking the time to analyze past trends is only going to propel you further into the future because you will gain an understanding of the data as well as find signs that will point to where SEO is heading.
A Recap of Internet Marketing and SEO in 2018
There were a number of things that happened during 2018 in the digital marketing world that had a lasting impact on the SEO. These updates and changes are bound to have an impact as we move into 2019 so obtaining a background knowledge of some of those changes will be beneficial for your company, follow the lead of the SEO company Miami trusts with their digital marketing.
- Updates to Google Search Algorithm: Throughout the year Google made a number of search ranking algorithm updates. Some were larger and more noticeable while others were smaller and more subtle. There were some updates that the company decided to announce prior to rolling them out while others went under the radar and never discussed even after they were complete. A couple of these updates were:
- The Speed Update: In January 2018 the company announced that they would be releasing a speed update, which was rolled out in June. The impact of this update was that it affected the ranking of the slowest sites in a search.
- The Medic Update: This was probably the largest update rolled out by Google this year and the most substantial in the SEO community. It was released at the beginning of August and although it was pre-announced Google did confirm that it happened because SEO professionals noticed that there had been a change. The largest impact was seen with sites in the health industry, and they were told that there was no quick fix to getting your site to rank better overnight with this update.
- Mobile-First Indexing Experiment: Back in 2016 Google decided they wanted to start indexing the web from the view of a smartphone rather than the view of a desktop computer. Last year in 2018 this experiment was rolled out in a substantial way. They started making the change to many sites across a variety of industries. Notifications were sent out about the move to mobile-first indexing through Google Search Console. Now three years after the experiment was initially started more than fifty percent of the site’s search results are indexed through mobile-first indexing.
- Google Search Console: The team that developed this new tool was very busy in 2018 giving access to everyone. This is a no-charge tool that allows webmasters to check indexing status and also optimize the visibility of their websites. On top of the tool becoming available for use Google also started providing Search Console snapshots in search results for site owners. Throughout the rollout period of this tool a number of changes were made including the addition and removal of certain features. One positive change that was made was if you have a Google Analytics account Search Console automatically verifies you. Another aspect of Search Console was that sites began receiving slow site notifications through the tool, which would let them know if their website was functioning and running slower than expected. One of site owner’s favorite features is the URL inspection tool that is installed in Search Console. This will give a site owner a snapshot of how Google sees your page, that way it is easier for owners to pick out any changes that may need to be made.
- Google My Business: This tool is the control panel for all SEO professionals. This feature allows business owners to manage their listing in Google Maps and Google searches. One major update that was done during 2018 was one that will enable owners to not only update their listings on a computer but through the mobile app on the go as well. Insight data and analytics were also among the updates and changes made to Google My Business.
- Google Posts: This was a feature that Google spent countless hours tweaking throughout 2018. Some of the work done during this time was testing a number of user interfaces in both desktop and mobile view, the Google My Business console was updated so that owners could use Google Posts on the web, but also on the mobile app. However, despite all the attempts and effort by the Google team the traffic of Google Posts ended up declining towards to end of the year and is expected to do so throughout 2019 as well.
- Voice Assistant: With the introduction of new products like Google Home and Google Assistant the company had no choice, but to pay attention to updates centered around voice assistant technology. This became of interest to SEO professionals because learning how Google would respond to someone asking “Google, tell me about X” can make a difference with how they approach their SEO techniques. Although there are other products on the market that offer voice assistance and are similar to Google Home, Google’s product is still considered the smartest due to the updates and changes the company is continually making.
- User Interface Updates: Something that is always changing in the world of digital marketing and SEO is user interface or UI. This year Google made a lot of adjustments centered around user interface between conducting testing and making changes. One such change was with the Google’s desktop search results. The user interface now features a rounded search box that is stationary at the top of the page. In regards to Google mobile, there were also some changes made regarding UI. The mobile homepage now features a discover feed rather than just a search box. In addition, the mobile page also got a new button titled “more results” so users have the option of looking at more results if they need them. This eliminates the overwhelming users would feel before when they were faced with all the results at once.
- In Other Google News: In 2018 Google said goodbye to John Giannandrea who was the Head of Search at the company when he left to work for Apple. Ben Gomes took over his position and is now the Head of Search. Also, Google+, which hadn’t been doing so well after the feature suffered several security breaches in 2018 is being shut down earlier than originally expected.
Although it seems that the only search engine that matters in the SEO world is Google, this isn’t the case. It is impossible to analyze trends from 2018 without acknowledging the presence of Bing and the impact that it had on digital marketing and SEO throughout the last year. The search engine was extremely active, which is different than previous years. The company concentrated a lot on improving crawler efficiency, which was something that many users and SEO professionals complained about. They also had teams working on correcting backlogs that were occurring with their Webmaster Tools. This was imperative to their success because if site owners aren’t able to access a functional webmaster tool for a search engine site, they aren’t going to invest any time in that site. Another aspect Bing decided to focus on in 2018 was artificial intelligence or AI. For example, their feature “Bing Spotlight” provides news information to users in less than a minute picking out top highlights based on known preferences. Also, their intelligent answers are now developed enough to be pulling facts and answers from multiple sources rather than just one like it previously was. Finally, when it comes to AI one of the greatest improvements made by Bing was those made to its visual search feature. This tool allows users to search the web by using the cameras on their smart devices. Instead of having to type in words you can simply take a picture of what you’re looking at and want to search and instantly get your results within seconds. This feature has proven to be extremely helpful when people see an object, landmark, or business they want to learn more about but aren’t quite sure what to search. You can now simply take and upload and picture to receive all the answers you’re looking for.
MyCity Social has gained recognition throughout the Miami area as being the SEO company Miami locals trust. We pride ourselves on having extensive knowledge in the internet marketing field, which has made our clients come to us again and again for advice and help with their digital marketing campaigns. We make it our top priority to help businesses reach their full marketing potential through unique and strategic tactics. Call or visit us today to find out how we can help you!