Full-time search marketing experts spend a lot of their time debating the tweaks and trends of Google’s worldwide network of engineers and scientists. While such understanding of Google is important, for most of us mere mortal marketers, it’s probably more important to steer clear of the theoretical until after we embrace those practices we know that Google already endorses.
There are many resources Google provides to help marketers use search marketing. But right now, if you don’t have months and months to dedicate yourself to mastering all that Google does, sign up for these three resources:
1. Think With Google: This is a non-technical resource that focuses on case studies, tools and trends that showcase Google’s advertising solutions. While not directly related to SEO, it’s a great insight into what Google is “thinking” about.
2. Google Webmasters: This can be very technical at times, but provides a treasure trove of tools and advice about being found by those who search for information using Google (translation: everyone).
3. Google Analytics and Data Studio: Okay, this may get a little geeky to set up, but the first step in understanding how Google interacts with your website is installing the free Google Analytics mega-tool. Recently, Google added another free resource called Data Studio that provides several visualization tools that help explain to us mere mortals what’s taking place at Google Analytics. (You’ll probably need help setting up both of these, but after you know the basics, you’ll find you have lots of data at your fingertips.)
Because we know you don’t have time to dig through all of these resources (and countless others from sources other than Google), here are five trends and tips.
Speed = SEO
Google has spent the past few years stressing that improving the speed of your site will be rewarded. Google Webmaster has several tools that will help you discover where your site may need updating. Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a quick way to see how fast (or slow) you site is today and find suggestions you may want to discuss with your web developer or host.
Mobile First Optimization
Starting in November 2016, Google began using mobile-first indexing for mobile content for all search rankings. At that time, Google reported that more than 50 percent of searches were via smartphone. Independent research suggested the percentage was closer to 60 percent. Optimizing your site for mobile devices will become more and more important to Google’s ranking of websites.
Organize Content Into Libraries, Not Just Posts
SEO experts have traditionally said that frequency, recency and relevance is rewarded by Google with a better ranking. Content must now focus on more than how many keywords are in a web post. Content must now be a highly researched, multi-media, organized information. Companies need to provide their customers with the best library to attract and retain the best readers.
Add the “S” to your HTTP
Google has already stated that it will begin rewarding websites that include the security measure that displays the “S” after HTTP in a browser display bar. “We encourage you to adopt HTTPS in order to protect your users’ connection to your website, regardless of the content on the site,” says Google in its explanation of the benefits of adding the S (for secure) layer of security to your website.