With New Year just being started, it is high time to check out what exactly took place in 2018 concerning SEO and Google updates, which obviously were noticed to be in plenty. Structured data present in Google search is relied on more while personalization features were pulled out displaying clear signs of the kind of movement Google is making with rankings. Huge shifts were also noticed with Google assistant voice search along with changes in Google user interface.
About Google algorithm and search ranking updates in 2018
- Medic Update: It was perhaps the most significant search ranking algorithm that took place on 1st August and classified as ‘broad-core algorithm update,’ which was carried out numerous times annually. This update did not offer ‘any fix’ to rank sites overnight.
- Speed Update: It was announced in 2018 January but released in June. Slow sites were impacted with this update with regards to their search ranking position. Only small query percentage was affected as per Google.
- Other updates in search algorithms: March & April Core Updates.
Mobile first indexing news
This experiment was initiated by Google in 2016. Web crawling and indexing were desired from the smartphone’s view and not that of a desktop computer. In 2018, rolling out chances to numerous sites, the task was achieved. Notifications were also sent via Google Search Console if a site was shifted to mobile first indexing. Currently, 50%+ search results have been mobile first indexed.
- Structured data: The Google specific overall SEO theme was how much emphasis was placed towards schema and structured data by Google. Job posting schema saw enabling of new indexing API, for the voice search associated queries saw speakable markup, image search changes, new job-posting guidelines, different updates for recipe markup, live stream support, Q&A schema, FAQs schema, how to, etc.
- Personalization: Excess personalization was not supported by Google, especially to those relying more on Facebook targeting or using personal data. Personalization as per Google is light and is to be utilized to know the right time to display local results, American football vs. European football, last query used, etc.
Google Search Console
For the Search Console team of Google, 2018 had been a real busy year as access to it was given to everyone. The new version saw removal of beta label and several old search reports were redirected on 13th December to new version.
Search Console snapshots were also shown directly to site owners in search results. Ability to use public-URL submission tool was removed and crawling & indexing in Search Console quotas and limits were changed. Through auto verification process, easy access was given to Search Console to those having Google Analytics account.
New Search Console presented historical data of 16 months and got included within Search Console API, which was further expanded to provide 25,000 data rows.