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SEO Year in Review

by Jamie MacKenzie

Jan 30, 2019,

seo in review

There’s no denying that 2018 was an incredible year in terms of search engine optimisation. Though there are advancements and changes every year, 2018 really stood out as being a time when search engine optimisation took a huge leap forward. Rather than simply focusing on climbing search engine rankings and gaining website traffic through any means possible things were centred around mobile users, Google Local and Google My Business. This meant that throughout 2018, businesses had to refocus their digital marketing efforts in order to achieve success. It’s no longer simply a case of creating content with relevant keywords and hoping for the best. In 2018, SEO became a lot more complex and a lot more detailed. Luckily, the businesses that embraced this will have seen that hard work most definitely pays off.

What Changed for SEO in 2018?


Google’s Search Ranking Algorithm Was Updated

It’s a well known fact that Google is constantly updating its search ranking algorithm and 2018 was no different. However, SEO experts certainly noticed that there were a number of big changes throughout the year. Some of them were welcomed, some of them were not. Some of them were expected, some of them were not.

  • In January of 2018, Google announced that the Speed Update would be released later on in June. The Speed Update only impacted a small number of searches and focused on websites that provided slow results to mobile users. It was one of the first times that Google truly focused on the speed of mobile websites, rather than mainly considering desktop versions.


  • One of the key changes in Google’s search ranking algorithm was the Medic Update. The Medic Update was a broad update, mainly affecting health and medical websites. It’s difficult to know how exact these broad updates impact different websites, but the idea is usually to help search results remain as specific and accurate as possible.


  • As well as the Speed Update and the Medic Update, Google rolled out two core updates in 2018. These happened in March and April. Google’s core updates are part of an ongoing process whereby the search engine continuously works to improve search results for users.


There Was a Larger Focus on Mobile-First Indexing

Though Google has been experimenting with mobile-first indexing for a few years now, things have recently changed in a big way. Google has started crawling and indexing how a website is viewed on a smartphone or tablet first, rather than focusing on how a website works a desktop computer. This is the first time that Google has prioritised mobile websites and it highlights just how important mobile versions of websites are becoming to the search engine.


SEO Changed in a Big Way

When it comes to SEO, it’s safe to say that things are constantly changing and it’s important for businesses to keep up in order to achieve success online. Many of these recent changes were centred around structured data and personalised information. Google is now placing a large emphasis on structured data, voice searches and the way that information is displayed to users. The aim is to make everything easier to find online, with incorrect or hard to understand results being pushed to the back. There has also been a big change in regards to using SEO for published news. Google has now dropped news meta tags, standout tags and Editors’ picks.

A major change to note is how Google now views lazy loading content. Lazy loading content is used by webmasters and developers when certain content isn’t critical, and therefore doesn’t have to be visible immediately. Google’s SEO has now changed so that lazy loading content can be crawled and indexed in the same way as other content. Before now, this wasn’t possible. It gives even further reach to SEO efforts.


Google Local Became Even More Important

Google Local is a way to list information about local businesses, where users can find a range of reviews and contact information in one place. It also allows users to post photos, posts and view a business’ Google Plus page. Though Google Local has been around for a while now, it has recently become more important than ever.

  • In 2018, Google improved the Google Post feature. It’s now possible to use Google Posts on Google My Business, both on the desktop website and the mobile app. A lot of SEO experts feel as though Google Post traffic has declined because of this, but it does still receive some engagement.


  • When it comes to local SEO, businesses owners rely heavily on Google My Business to manage their maps and searches. Thanks to recent changes and a number of additional tools, business owners can now update and manage their listings a lot easier than before. This includes being able to organise branded searches and look at analytics.


Mobile Search and Voice Assistants Became a Big Interest

With Google Home and Google Assistants becoming extremely popular, mobile search and voice assistants became a big part of SEO for the first time in 2018. A lot of people are now using mobile devices and assistants to search the web, something that hasn’t really been the case before now. SEO has had to change in order to accommodate these new ways of searching. Though there are still improvements to be made, anyone working on SEO will now have to factor how content will work for an entirely new search audience.

As SEO is constantly changing and evolving, it can be difficult to keep up as a business. It doesn’t matter whether you’re getting started with SEO for the very first time or you need to update your strategy in line with recent changes, it’s often easier to enlist the help of skilled professionals. At Peaky Digital, we can take care of your SEO needs. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, we’re here to help. Contact us to find out more.

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