We’ve brought you a snapshot of the best and the biggest Google Search Algorithm Updates from 2018 in the below infographic.
2017 witnessed several noteworthy algorithm updates and changes and 2018 seems to be no different. Danny Sullivan of Google did declare that “We do some type of focused update nearly daily. A broad core algorithm update happens several times per year.”
And several updates there were indeed! March was the most hectic month WRT changes and ranking volatility. We’re not referring to the officially announced updates, but the SERPs movement seen in Google algorithm update tracking tools.
Because Google rarely officially confirms their updates, many of them go unnoticed. In any case, fluctuations are clearly felt with some sites even witnessing plummeting traffic.
Let’s look at the year gone by and dive into some of the most conspicuous 2018 Google algorithm updates.
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Here’s a timeline of some of the most impactful Google Search Algorithm changes and updates of 2018.
Behind all the predictable and unpredictable updates Google rolls out, the intent remains the same all throughout – to help searchers find the best of what they’re looking for.
1. Confirmed Image Search Update – February 15, 2018
Google changed the way image search functioned. They removed the ‘View Image’ button from search results. This is believed to be a part of a settlement of a legal complaint by Getty Images. While Web publishers and Webmasters welcomed this move, searchers weren’t too thrilled.
2. “Brackets” Core Update – March 8, 2018
Google rolled out the Brackets Core Update, which focuses on having compelling and shareable content on websites. As per Google’s John Mueller’s explanation of the update, it seems to be about relevance rather than quality. This update may have occurred multiple times or been a prolonged update.
3. Zero-Result SERP – March 14, 2018
Thanks to this update, Google can provide a Knowledge Card in the SERP as a response to questions like “What time is it in Dubai?” Even if you click on the “Show all results” button, you’d see no additional organic results. Danny Sullivan said this is currently limited to a small set of queries related to calculators, unit conversions, time, and date.
4. Mobile-First Index Roll-Out – March 26, 2018
This refers to the usage of the mobile versions of web pages for ranking and indexing to help mobile users find what they’re looking for. Earlier this was done only for the desktop versions. Adhering sites should see a much better crawl rate. Post this update, Google has been showing the mobile versions in SERPs.
5. Snippet Length Drop – May 13, 2018
As Meta Descriptions became longer to touch character limits of 300+, Google decided to shorten them to 150 to 160. It is believed that this was done as longer snippets took up much space on mobile SERPs. For best results, ensure that the descriptions make sense within the first 110 to 130 characters.
6. Video Carousels – June 14, 2018
After testing this feature in desktop SERPs for a while, Google finally rolled it out by doing away with video thumbnails and replacing them with a video carousel, and many a user took notice of it immediately. With this update, the number of videos in the SERPs increased considerably.
7. Mobile Speed Update – July 9, 2018
With this update, Google announced that page speed will be one of the ranking factors for mobile searches. Google also said that this will affect only the slowest mobile websites and hence, a small percentage of search queries. This update aims at helping mobile users find answers to their queries as quickly as possible.
8. Medic Core Update – August 1, 2018
With this confirmed broad core algorithm update by Google, Danny Sullivan announced that it “focused around specific improvements”. It was rolled out over a week, but activity was the highest on August 1-2. Numerous reports of large-scale impact did the rounds. It was observed that health and wellness sites were particularly affected by it.