Every day, Google’s Algorithm has some sort of update. Typically, it’s minor and unnoticeable. But sometimes, a major update occurs and can impact traffic to your firm’s site. In 2018, there were some major updates to Google’s algorithm. Below is a recap of some of 2018’s updates and how they may have impacted your firm’s site.
March 26, 2018 – Mobile-First Index
Google announced that it would begin moving sites over to “mobile-first” indexing. This meant that if your firm’s site followed best practices for mobile, Google would begin indexing only the mobile version of the site. Basically, if your firm also had a mobile version of the site, Google would index your mobile version of content rather than desktop for search results listings. If firm’s your site was or still is not mobile-friendly, it may have dropped in the mobile search results below those that are.
April 17, 2018 – Unnamed
Though Google confirmed this algorithm update, it was never given a name. Your firm’s site may have not been impacted by this update, as some reported having dropped significantly in search results rankings while others saw no impact. Google didn’t recommend any specific thing that could be done to increase your firm’s rankings after this update. Pages that were under-rewarded were now rewarded by this update. If your firm’s site had some great content but was underperforming on Google before this update, it may have seen a rise in its search result rankings.
May 13, 2018 – Snippet Length Drop
Google cut the length of search results snippets from 300+ characters to about 160 characters. On mobile devices, search results snippets dropped to around 130 characters. Though this may not have impacted your firm’s rankings on search results, it may have changed how your firm’s listing looked on SERPS. If you had optimized your firm’s meta descriptions for 300 characters, then they are likely shorter.
July 9, 2018 – Mobile Speed Update
The “Speed Update” affected the slowest mobile sites. Page speed became a ranking factor for mobile searches. Sites that had already had faster page speeds did not move up in the rankings. Instead, if your site went from the slowest of slow to lightening fast, then your site should have seen a rise in traffic as it moved up search results. If your firm’s site was on the slower side and you did not update it, the site may have seen a drop in rankings on search results. If your firm began to see an increase in traffic but didn’t optimize any mobile page, some of your competing firm’s may have had very slow page speeds on mobile. You can use Google’s Page Speed Insights to determine how fast your mobile pages render and where you can improve.
July 24, 2018 – Chrome Security Warnings
This update negatively impacted sites that did not add an extra layer of security that encrypts sensitive information. If your firm’s site still uses HTTP, your URL displays “not secure” as soon as anyone begins filling out any online forms. To fix this, you will need to get a SSL. This will add the extra security needed. This will also be a great site modification for attorneys in general, especially Social Security disability lawyers. Claimants will send sensitive information through your Free Evaluation forms, so you want to be sure everything is secure and protected from hackers.
August 1, 2018 – “Medic” Core Update
The “Medic” update of August was named after the sites it mainly impacted. Most health and medical sites saw changes in traffic after this update was released. Google said this update was a global and broad update, meant to again benefit underperforming sites. If you are a Social Security disability firm and post frequently about different conditions, how they can qualify for disability benefits, etc., then you may have seen some changes to your site’s traffic following this update.
September 27, 2018 – Birthday Update
This update took place on Google’s 20th birthday, giving it its name. Though Google claimed this update was small, those that it negatively impacted had big changes to their traffic. If your firm’s site did see some changes in traffic from it, then focusing on the quality of what you post and following SEO best practices can help get your firm’s traffic back up.
By keeping 2018’s major updates in mind and updating your firm’s site accordingly, you’ll help increase your firm’s chances of surviving the next major algorithm update. If you continue with SEO best practices, your firm’s site should rise in the rankings and recover from any damage from a Google update.