Have you ever noticed a sudden downturn in your best page rankings on Google? Something that was riding high suddenly drops into a pattern of decline, leaving you wondering where the hole developed? You can typically thank Google developers for that.
Each year, Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times. In fact, Google updates their current algorithms every single day, often multiple times per day. While most of these changes are minor, Google occasionally rolls out a significant algorithmic update, like Google Panda or Google Penguin. These can affect search results in major ways.
Also, Google never stops experimenting with changes to existing features, and some of these changes can mean new benefits or problems for you. Keeping up with all the changes is a major job, and most solopreneurs are too busy running their business to monitor Google updates several times a day. So, below are the latest Google changes that affect your website rankings, as well as some new stuff you may want to use.
And as a bonus, to help you keep up with ongoing changes, we provide a few sites you can visit that keep a close eye on Google changes. Bookmark them, and drop by every so often to see what new skullduggery Google has been up to while you’ve been working.
The Latest Google Algorithm Updates
‘Medic’ Core Update – August, 2018
In August 2018, Google officially admitted to a “broad core algorithm update.” Labeled ‘Medic’ by some Google experts, the name had Internet users asking if the change targeted medical sites, but Google responded with an explanation discounting that supposition.
This latest update has had a massive impact, according to a wide range of reports. It rolled out over the period of about a week, but peaked on August 1-2. This update seemed to disproportionately affect sites in the health and wellness vertical (contributing to the notion that Google was targeting medical sites), although large-scale impact was seen in all verticals.
Below are some links to further explanations of this update and how it affected sites:
- Google’s August 1st Core Update: Week 1 (Moz)
- Google Medic Update: Google’s Core Search Update Had Big Impact On Health/Medical Sites (SER)
- The August 1, 2018 Google Update strongly affected YMYL sites (MarieHaynes.com)
Basically, health and wellness sites were particularly affected, more so if the site was a nationally-known company rather than a smaller, independent company. If your solopreneur business is in the health and wellness industry, you may have noticed some changes, but likely not. Even so, Google’s response to how you can overcome any negative effects on your rankings remains the same as with previous algorithm changes: “create great content.”
Chrome Security Warnings – July 24, 2018
After warning users of unsecured (non-HTTPS) forms months earlier,Chrome 68 began marking all non-HTTPS sites as “not secure.” The changes rolled out on July 24, but rely on users installing the latest Chrome version, which can take weeks or months. Below are a few references for more of an explanation.
- A milestone for Chrome security: marking HTTP as “not secure” (Google)
- Chrome starts telling users HTTP sites are not secure (SEL)
In short, if you haven’t updated your solopreneur website to HTTPS protocol, you are behind the times and every visitor to your site is being told so in large warning type. This makes you look unprofessional and out-of-touch. It’s a simple fix, and your website host will have instructions on how to convert your settings.
Mobile Speed Update – July 9, 2018
Six months after announcing it, Google rolled out the mobile page speed update, making page speed a ranking factor for mobile results. Google claimed that this only affected the slowest mobile sites, and there was no evidence of major mobile rankings shifts.
- Using page speed in mobile search ranking (Google)
- It’s Live: Google Speed Update Now Rolling Out (SER)
Basically, your mobile site must be optimized to load quickly or your rankings suffer. This is to your advantage, however, since mobile users are not known to linger and wait for slow sites to load before clicking on to another site.
Google Updates That Can Help/Harm Solopreneur Websites
Here are the latest updates Google has released that can have a major impact on your solopreneur website and business.
Google Search Console Products Section – February 22, 2019
Google Search Console recently added to the enhancements section of the tool set named “Products.” This section helps you see how well your product markup is performing in Google’s search results. Products joins other enhancement categories including job postings, recipes, Q&A markup, AMP, mobile usability and others. Google also published this blog post describing this new feature and two additional features around getting your product data into Google.
Testimonials are Now displayed on Google My Business Websites – February 12, 2019
If you’re using a Google My Business website, Google is now displaying testimonials on your site if you have good reviews. The benefits of this for solopreneurs are obvious. If you do not currently have a Google My Business site, developing one is easy, and it provides yet another hook in the water to catch business.
Yelp Algorithm Update Wiped Out Tons of Reviews – December 2018
This is bad news, especially since Yelp is one of the primary local search engines used by Alexa. According to messages from users, small businesses lost primarily positive reviews that had pictures and followers; in other words, the best reviews a company could receive, and very hard to get. If you have a listing on Yelp, and had reviews there, you may want to check and see if you lost any. Currently, there is no fix for this, it is just a hard loss.
Keeping Solopreneurs Up-to-Date on Google Changes
Use the following sites to check on periodic Google changes that can have a major impact on your solopreneur website rankings, and as a result, help or harm your business.
- Google Changes from Sterling Sky
- Google Algorithm Changes from MOZ
- Google Updates from Search Engine Roundtable
Have you noticed a change in your Google rankings? What are you doing about it? Leave your ideas and suggestions in the comments below.