Your website isn’t “Field of Dreams”…..if you build it, they may not come. Methodical work to promote your site and make it search engine friendly pays off with high rankings on Google.
But what if Google isn’t giving your site the rankings you expect? Google admits to making hundreds of updates to their search algorithms each year, often to reduce fraud and “gaming the system.” The company’s goal is to provide the absolute best search experience for their users so they are constantly refining.
Occasionally, Google actually announces algorithm changes in order to educate website owners to be proactive to improve their site. There are two initiatives in particular that Google has been upfront in promoting, announcing that sites will be negatively impacted if:
- They are not deemed secure
- They are not mobile optimized
So what does this mean for your website? First, make sure your site has an SSL (secure socket layer) certificate. SSL encrypts all communications while in transit. The Chrome web browser has begun to prominently flag websites that do not use the HTTPS protocol. This is low hanging fruit – it’s easy – get your IT group or web development partner to buy and install an SSL certificate. For more information on Google’s approach, read this article.
Second, it’s strongly suggested that you make sure your website is responsive, meaning it works gracefully on all devices. Google’s goal is to effectively serve ALL users, regardless of the device they are using to access the web. This means that Google will identify a site as “less relevant” if it is determined that a user can’t have a good experience if trying to view the site on a smartphone. This one is a bit more involved to resolve. Sometimes an existing site can be optimized for display on smartphones. Other older sites may require a website re-design. Speak to your internal marketing group or a trusted web design and development firm for advice.
Paying attention to these two issues will go a long way towards earning Google’s love.