Changes Google Made In 2016 That Affect SEO

Search Engine optimisation (SEO) has been a critical tool used by businesses to increase their business credibility, visibility and branding, and also to attract traffic to their website.

Due to these roles SEO play in most businesses, most of them have derived measures to increase their rankings by search engines such as Google.

Google on its part has made some changes in 2016 that affect SEO to prevent undeserved traffic to a site.

We shall examine some of these changes below:

SEO Penalties for Freebies

Due to the importance of SEO to businesses, most of them have been offering free products to bloggers as a motivation to publish a link to their product.

One of the changes Google made in 2016 is to introduce penalties to bloggers who publish links for a business because they have received a free product.

At first, warnings to bloggers involve not providing their readers with a Follow link to sites where they can get the product these bloggers have received. Today, penalties are being issued to bloggers who still receive freebies in exchange for a link to the product’s website.

This goes a long way to prevent bloggers from providing links in exchange of products to avoid penalties. This implies there is a high chance of only businesses with valuable contents in their sites to pull traffic and be top ranked.

Top 3 SEO Ranking Signals

The process by search engines to rank different sites has always been difficult for many to understand.

In the past, Google has mentioned they were greater than 200 signals used to rank websites with most of the top ranking signals resulting from try and error.

Lately, Google announced RankBrain is their number 3 ranking signal. This is Google’s article intelligence system that analyses web pages for relevant content.

This system analyses the relevance of a page on a scale between 1 and 10. 1 represents a dubious result while 10 represent an incredibly strong result.

The other two factors were revealed by Andre Lipattsev, who is a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google Ireland. These other two signals are links and content.

Search Console Pagespeed Notifications

Another change made by Google that has affected SEO is the sending of Google Search Console Notifications for page speed-related topics. This notification is to inform websites that they are running page speed less than or less than which is an older version of speed page.

This notification further says ‘outdated or un-patched software can be vulnerable to hacking and malware exploits that harm potential visitors to your site…’ This will mean sites using outdated software will be lowly rated by Google and users who are interested in using secure sites will keep away from such sites thereby reducing traffic on such sites.

Toolbar Page Rank Switched Off

In the past, Google used Toolbar ranking as an indicator of the importance of a website’s page. This was a move to give Google a smarter reputation when compared to its rivals.

This led to many malpractices including the paying for links to increase scores and ranking. This downgraded Google’s search results. As a result, Google was forced to switch off Tool Bar PageRanking from its browser.

Warning for Non-Mobile Friendly Site Owners

Another move by Google that has affected SEO is their action of issuing warnings to Webmasters whose sites are not mobile-friendly.

This warning is even displayed in mobile search results. This greatly affects SEO because mobile owners will abandon a site which is not mobile-friendly, hence, reducing traffic to the site.

Search Quality Rating Guidelines Updated

Google made some changes to update their Search Quality Ratings Guidelines, and this has affected SEO. These changes include”

  •    An emphasis on local.
  •    Stressing the importance of mobile.
  •    A de-emphasis of supplementary content.

All these are to be taken into consideration in order get a favourable rating from Google.

Have you launched any Google Adwords campaigns? We would love to hear about your experiences and what results you got?

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