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Search Recap: Latest Google search ranking algorithm update, structured data changes, plus more

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10th April 2018 in

As we tick over into April, it’s important to note the latest search updates to ensure you are implementing the best SEO strategy. I’ve collated the top four developments, and how they can affect you and your business. This month, I discuss the updates to Google’s search ranking algorithm, structured data, mobile-first indexing and ranking improvements.

1. Google’s core search ranking algorithm update impacts website rankings

Google confirmed in March that they ran a “broad core algorithm update” to improve search results. As a result, the update impacted the appearance and rankings of some websites. This update wasn’t a one-off however, as Google released a statement on Twitter saying that these updates happen “routinely several times per year”.

Google stated that some websites “may note drops or gains”, even though it doesn’t necessarily mean that there is something wrong with their website. The statement also mentioned that changes to Google’s systems were now “benefitting pages that were previously under-rewarded”.

To learn more about Google’s search algorithm update, click here.

2. Google confirms structured data doesn’t guarantee a ranking boost

Earlier this month, Google clarified how structured data doesn’t necessarily guarantee your website a boost in search rankings. However, it did confirm that structured data can help Google understand the content on your website, therefore, helping you rank in Google. In addition to aiding Google to understand your website content, structured data can help when it comes to adding rich snippets/cards to your search results listings, and the click through rate.

Find out more here.

3. Mobile-first indexing rolled out to more websites

In late March, Google announced they’ve started to roll out mobile-first indexing to websites. After more than a year and a half of testing, Google are now in the process of migrating websites “that follow the best practices for mobile-indexing”.

Mobile-first indexing is when Google uses the mobile version of a web page for indexing and ranking. This announcement is confirmation that a large number of websites are currently in the process of moving to a mobile-first indexing process. Google said they’re notifying websites who are in the process of migrating to mobile-first indexing via the Search Console, and that those websites will start to see a significant increase in crawl rate from the Smartphone Googlebot.

Learn more about mobile-first indexing and how it could affect your website here or read our previous blog, here.

4. Google state website quality improvements take over six months to advance rankings

According to Google, it can sometimes take more than six months to see search result changes after improving the quality of your website. During a recent Google Webmaster Office Hours event, their Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, clarified that the algorithm has to re-evaluate your whole website and the role low quality pages play in how your rank.

However, there are a variety of other factors that also influence how your website ranks in Google. This includes the design and functionality of your website. Mueller suggests that making constant refinements to your website will help you see an improvement in your ranking. For more helpful suggestions raised at the event, click here.

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