Google cherishes mobile-friendly ranking systems and loathes slow mobile sites. Google also values website security. In recent years, the company’s use of algorithm changes makes this point abundantly clear. The rest of 2016 looks no different.
Algorithm Changes Make the World Go Round
Google continually enhances the online search experience to:
- make the process easy for users
- increase website rankings
- prevent unscrupulous search engine optimization (SEO) practices.
Algorithm changes play a massive role in this process.
On average, Google makes 500-600 minor algorithm changes per year. Most of the changes go unnoticed at first. Google hardly comments on any of them, either, even after implemented.
But global internet trends and Google rankings reveal the things Google regards as important, like mobile-user friendliness and safe websites.
On the Mobile Horizon
The world now makes more searches using mobile devices than desktops.
Since Google prides itself on keeping users happy, it acknowledges this on-the-go trend by working to elevate mobile searches to the speed and ease of desktop searches. Algorithm changes help accomplish this.
Companies that hope to benefit from the changes need to pay attention to voice searches on their mobile sites.
Voice searches play a major role in making mobile searches more user-friendly. When people use mobile devices, they often use voice searches that eschew shortened desktop queries like “pizza in NYC”. Instead, they speak naturally which means longer queries.
Companies must prepare for this kind of natural language evolution by designing mobile-friendly websites that understand Google intends to hold a conversation with users based on location, map use/inquiries, and other specialized information.
Companies that do so gain rankings and profit via algorithm changes.
HTTP vs HTTPs
Google wants to rid the world of Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and replace it with Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).
Google prefers the security of HTTPs over HTTP and to make their wish a reality, they offer better rankings to companies that switch. HTTPs sites receive preferentially indexed pages.
So far, the ranking rewards aren’t massive in this regard. However, many insiders believe that Google plans to continue releasing algorithm changes geared toward this safety protocol while increasing the rewards for companies that switch to HTTPs.
Not switching means a definite rank demotion which proves far worse than gaining a minimal edge with only a slight ranking increase.
Preparing for Algorithm Changes
The last confirmed change occurred in January 2016 and involved an update of a core ranking algorithm.
Checking out the Google Official Blog or webmaster forums provides great insider info about possible algorithm changes. Moz also offers the Google Algorithm Change History.
However, only Google knows for sure and as mentioned before, they often stay mum. That means that companies need to track their own rankings and monitor:
- desktop vs mobile users
- site ranking according to keywords
- user time on the site
- page views
- conversion rates
When companies do this, they hear Google say loud and clear that they want the world wide web to be a mobile-friendly, safe place. In that regard, those companies protect their own business and profit, making everyone feel safe indeed.