September 2018 SEO Updates
September 2018 SEO updates have been interesting, to say the least. With riding the waves of the “medic core” update in early August, Google has made even more waves heading into the fall. Google confirmed this solution: make your content better and more relevant.
September showed weekly waves of storms. For those of you who track many keyword phrases, you’ve noticed the ups and downs all month long with no rhyme or reason. On September 5th, then the 10th, Google created chatter, and some big sites attracted gains and losses. The aftermath confirmed an update by Google on September 27th. Is this is a corrective measure from earlier in the month? Many previous rankings seem to have fallen back into place. My take is that many large shopping sites took the lead. Holiday pre-shuffle? Google never lets us ride easy.
So what’s an online business to do? Plan to make the changes Google wants to see.
If your site is fast, Google will favor it. This has been referred to by G’s representatives in recent history and they are walking the talk. If you cannot deliver a fast website made for mobile, your competition will edge over you in results. Make your site’s speed a primary focus.
Images are a key area to focus on to yield immediate results. Enable Gzip compression and browser caching.
If you are using WordPress, consider whether you really need all those plugins. Some will perform nifty features on your site that few will use. Get rid of them if they are not essential; less is more.
The world is heading into a mobile environment. 5G rolling out in the USA. Android is the most popular operating system worldwide (because it’s free). Many use a cell phone to communicate and research. Consider how they may rely on your site to get information, products, or services. Clickable phone numbers and simple ordering that is fast = winning.
Metadata is still important today and is what you see in any search result – the title tag and meta description. You can write specific descriptions for every page of your site, including the category and product pages too! Remember, title tags are one of the most important ranking factors in Google, meta descriptions are not. Think of meta descriptions as snippets that help your users click through to the website. Incorporate calls-to-action (CTAs). These CTAs should assist with keeping people searching on your site. If CTAs are written correctly, users should not bounce back to the search results, which is another ranking factor measured. Google says they want to serve up the most relevant search results. Can you see how these all play together?
Everyone wants to have awesome content. Many think they do, but I believe we lack the “coming with.” Don’t think of Google as your audience, rather, think of what your audience wants to read. Posts should have at least 300 words, but don’t go 2,500 words if it’s not needed. Google’s mission is to organize the world’s web pages and provide the best answers. Work their system to your advantage.
Other SEO-Related News in September
Google revealed a collaboration with IPTC and CEPIC to bring copyrights to image data. No more snipping an image to reuse on your site from Google Images – that’ll have grave, expensive consequences.
New Title Character Limits?
Earlier in 2018, Google announced an increased character limit on meta descriptions. That lasted a few months, then reverted back in the spring. Everyone who rewrote their posts to 200-300 characters doubled their work. It appears that Google has extended the number of characters they show for the title in the search results snippets. The average of 55 characters is now 67.5 characters. That’s a 20% increase in the average number of characters in the search results snippets’ title. Should you make the move, too? This is something I’ll be watching more.
Amazon SEO vs. Google SEO
Is this update more important for merchants? Google always mentioned making your site relevant and valuable to your audience, not to Google. If you have a good site and it’s useful, Google will know. Amazon is a competitor for G’s profits, so will this be a factor to watch more closely as the holiday season approaches? SEO for Amazon has its own set of rules, so which should you consider more? Where do you get a majority of your sales or conversions from? Money wins the race!
Google is 20 years old!
Time has flown by. To think for nearly all this time, I’ve been involved and riding the wave. What a cool journey!
SEO is a marathon
Remember, good SEO always pulls information from multiple places. They test a lot. They remain in the forums with real users and watch Google videos and hangouts. They are read between the lines and stay safe.