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December 28, 2018

An SEO Round-Up For 2018

As the year draws to a close, here at Absolute Digital we have begun to look back on the changes over the course of the year and how this has influenced SEO practices. Here we have comprised a roundup to help you see the affects yourself, so get ready for an SEO roundup of 2018!

What Changed In 2018?

Over the course of 2018 there have been a multitude of challenges that have presented themselves when it comes to SEO. With an abundance of algorithm updates as well as the constant war of meta descriptions and featured snippets, there has been plenty to for any marketing professional to get their head round.

So what has significantly changed? In addition to the algorithm updates, there has been an increased focus in the content that is being put onto Google. Not only does it need to be refreshed as often as possible with new and relevant content, but it also needs to be engaging and informative. It is vital that all content that is written and posted on Google has an outstanding level of expertise, authority and trust.

Meta Descriptions And Featured Snippets

Another significant change that we have seen over the course of 2018 is meta descriptions, there has been an adjustment made to the maximum length of a description from the previous change of December 2017. The meta description, although not officially stated by Google, has since been reverted back to the lower count of 160 characters with a focus shifting heavily onto the likes of featured snippets.

Featured snippets have become increasingly important in 2018 as they are seen by Google to not only give a site more credibility but also allow the smaller sites to rank alongside some of the larger ones that are online, therefore levelling the playing field. Featured snippets have also seen a significant number of sites having the amount of organic traffic that was being lead to their website boosted.

E-A-T Metric

One of the biggest changes that we have seen in 2018 was the introduction of an E-A-T Metrc to Google’s algorithm. This was a significant change that we saw implemented by Google on August 1st that saw your money or your life sites as well as medial sites targeted by a new update aptly named the medic update. This was impactful to overall SEO as this saw a significant drop in rankings on medical sites that did not have a great E-A-T score. This new ranking system as laid out by Google saw an increased focus on expertise, Authoritativeness and trustworthiness to determine how beneficial  a piece of content is for the user.

According to Googles Guidelines the characteristics for a page with a high E-A-T ranking are as follows.

  • The site should include a high level of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness
  • It should have high quality content including engaging headlines
  • Adequate amounts of information behind who wrote the content that is featured on the website
  • A positive reputation and high level of engagement
  • Reputation of Author must be positive

These criteria is used to ensure that a page’s content is beneficial to the desired target audience as well as having a high level of E-A-T.

In addition to this there are a number of criteria that have been released to showcase how Google categorises a low E-A-T ranking for a site. Below is a short indication of some of the attributes used to determine a site that features low level E-A-T content:

  • Malicious pages such as spam
  • Irrelevant Content
  • Incorrect information
  • A website that has been left or has poor maintenance
  • Spammy links or crammed pages

These elements are important to be aware of as this will then need to be combatted within campaigns. Avoiding each of these criteria will improve your overall E-A-T rating and help to improve your site’s SERP results.

The Impact Of Voice Search

Another significant change that we have seen with SEO in 2018 is the impact that voice search is beginning to have on search results. This has seen a further increase in the need for featured snippets as well as the likes of Google internalising their content to provide results quickly from a variety of sources.

This is in part down to the introduction of the Google home and Google home mini which saw unprecedented success and lead to the further implementation of the Google assistant. This has then enabled users to get answers to questions in no time at all, just by asking a simple question saying “Hey Google” and has become an important part of the modern day web searching. As the use of voice search continues to rise, there are a number of SEO tactics that need to be adapted in the years to come, to prepare for this fully automated way of searching.

Mobile Optimisation

One of the key changes that has begun to be implemented over the course of 2018 is mobile optimisation. This follows the number of mobile searches overtaking that of traditional desktop search in October of 2016 and has led to the traditional algorithm opting to display and rank mobile optimised content first when providing users with content. This is something that has led to an increase in the number of sites who had desktop optimised content  switching over to mobile in order to rank as well as they did in years past.

Important Algorithm Updates

In addition to the medic update there have been a number of other updates that are important to mention that have impacted SEO. One of these were the Google Images Update that took place on the 24/09/18 as it was announced that the algorithm will be stretched to images, meaning it will now favour images that are optimised with alt tags.

Want to know more about SEO and how you can optimise your site? Get in touch with a member of our expert team today and be ahead of the curve in 2019!

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Author:

Ben Austin

With a solid background in the sales and finance industry, Ben was inspired by the possibilities of SEO after propelling his own website to search engine success. With a natural flair for digital marketing and a strong work ethic, his entrepreneurial streak soon took over, leading to the birth of Absolute Digital Media.

Naturally ambitious by nature, Ben didn’t stop here, instead pushing the business to new heights, offering a wider range of services to more and more clients. He is now proud to employ a number of SEO, PPC, web design, social media, copywriting and marketing professionals and is driven by all things digital marketing. His passion and persistence have led the company to multiple awards and accolades, such as the company being awarded the prestigious ‘Best Use Of Search – Finance’ award at the UK Search Awards 2018 and announced as Digital Agency Of The Year at the 2018 Southern Business Awards. When he’s not busy leading the company on new ventures, Ben enjoys spending time with his wife and children.


Email b.austin@absolute.digital

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