Did Google SEO Change In 2021?
Google SEO is challenging because its search algorithm is constantly being updated. Google rolls out these updates to ensure that it is returning the most relevant, accurate, and secure pages in its search results. Realistically, if you are using SEO best practices and only white hat methods, these changes should not have a significant effect on your ranking. That said, it is important to be aware of them so that if you do see your SERP drop, you can figure out how to reverse it.
Most Important Google SEO Algorithm Updates of 2021
With the passage ranking update, Google began using AI to index not only web pages, but individual passages (paragraphs and sentences) from those pages. This allows those specific passages to show up as the featured snippet. The goal is to provide fast, accurate answers to specific queries rather than forcing the user to search on the linked web page to find it.
100% Mobile-First Indexing
Mobile-first indexing has been prioritized since 2015 but in June of this year, Google made it the default for all websites. This means that if you do not have a mobile responsive website, it will not load correctly on a mobile device and it will have a negative impact on your SERP.
The link spam update rolled out in June on images and web pages, but not on local results. If your website includes forums, guestbooks, social media platforms, file uploaders, hosting services, or internal search services where your users can interact, this could affect you. Services that allow users to create an account to post content, upload files, or search on your site are prime targets for spammers. They can generate hundreds of spam pages that add little or no value. This could result in Google taking manual actions against the affected pages.
This year Google introduced a set of metrics called Core Web Vitals that prioritize factors that quantify user experience. These metrics are not new, but they now have a greater impact on SERP. They include:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): how fast the main content loads.
- First Input Delay (FID): how fast the page responds to the user’s first action on it.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): how stable the layout is (as in the elements don’t unexpectedly move).
Google has long customized the title of your page in their search results based on the query. In August, they rolled out an update that started using headings, image tags, and even anchor text from other pages. This caused click-through rates for specific keyword strings to tank for many, and based on the feedback, Google announced that it will no longer generate titles based on the query. Rather, it produces titles that work better for documents overall and describe what they are about, regardless of the particular query. It also mentioned an emphasis on what a visitor can visually see on the page.
KC Web Specialists Know Google SEO
SEO services from KC Web Specialists deliver measurable results with Google’s algorithm by tracking your website’s traffic volume, traffic sources, SERP position, and more. We produce monthly analytics reports on your PPC advertising campaigns, analyzing every detail. We determine your site’s current strengths and weaknesses, and make adjustments or develop and implement new SEO strategies as needed.
When you need Google SEO services, trust KC Web Specialists to get results. Request your free website evaluation today!
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