Are you following the Google rules that have been set out for all publishers?
Google has been very aggressive in setting standards lately that will affect search engine rankings and visibility. In a nutshell, the Google rules basically require publishers to create websites that are responsive, fast and secure.
Maybe you’ve heard this story, about two guys who are camping in the woods. Suddenly a bear shows up at the edge of their camp, growling and angry. One of the guys stops to put on his running shoes. The second fellow looks at him and says “what are you doing? You can’t outrun a bear!” Replies his companion, “I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just have to outrun you.”
In this business, the only things you need to outrun are the 10 organic listings on the first page of Google. You want to be one of them, and you want to be near the top of the list. Website publishers who comply with Google’s rules will end up being the publishers in those highly valuable 10 positions. While at first it may seem unfair that a non-governmental entity is dictating how to run your business, a different viewpoint would say that if you are a professional website publisher with resources, you have a competitive advantage that can be employed by spending the time and money to make sure you make your website responsive, fast and secure.
Here are a few specific characteristics Google is looking for when it comes to professional websites in 2017:
1. Mobile-first responsive design: Back in 2015 was the beginning of Google’s preference toward mobile-first design. The first update was called “mobilegeddon” by SEO professionals. Since then, they’ve only gotten more strict, by labeling mobile-friendly websites as such right in search results on mobile devices, creating AMP as a way to streamline that process, and most recently this January they began blocking interruptive interstitial ads on mobile pages. Luckily, as a Gold Member, your site is already mobile-first and responsively designed, meaning it can be read well on any device and on any screen size, on any speed of internet, like a 4G mobile device, for example.
2. Secure websites: As mentioned in prior weeks, it bears repeating that all pages on your website, not just transactional pages, should be secure. Just a couple weeks ago, Mozcast reported that 50% of what Google is now listing in search results are HTTPS pages. A year ago, that number was only 25%. Simply put, Google wants sites to be secure and verified in a way that only SSL certificates can. The alternative is having your website flagged as insecure, which means you might get a broken padlock in the URL bar which might scare off potential visitors if they are using Google’s popular Chrome browser.
3. Fast websites: So many of the updates Google has incorporated into their algorithm have to do with site speed, including #1 above: mobile-first design. And like the story about the campers above, your main goal is simply to make sure your website is running faster than those with which you compete. The three most effective methods for doing that, is by having more than adequate processing power, reliable caching, and a high-speed content delivery network, three features all Mequoda Systems strive to excel at.
These kinds of Google changes are all part of doing business on the Internet, and we’re here to help our clients adjust as necessary. If you’d like to talk more about building a Google-friendly website, let’s chat about using our state-of-the-art Haven Nexus Customer Experience Management System to power a new website for you that is responsive, secure and incredibly fast. We’ve built more than 300 niche websites over the past two decades and would love to share what we know with you.