This article was created for our clients who wanted to have a better understanding of the latest Google SEO trends moving forward to 2018.


As you may be aware SEO has changed so much over the past few years and it is constantly evolving. Every year we often see numerous updates from Google, this includes the major Penguin update back in September 2016. The Penguin update which started to reward high- quality websites in search results as part of its core algorithm.


There was also an increase in featured snippets on search engine results pages (SERPs), and Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project.


Marketers and SEO agencies worldwide had to focus their efforts more on high-quality content rather than link-building and keywords.


The article below should hopefully give you a better understanding.


1 No need to submit your website to Google anymore?


There is now no need to submit your website to make your website appear in Google search results faster. Google’s search engine will find your website automatically. It turns out that submitting your website does not guarantee anything, Google’s crawlers will find your website. To understand how this works please read the quote from Matt Cutts”


When you do a Google search, you aren’t actually searching the web. You’re searching Google’s index of the web, or at least as much of it as we can find. We do this with software programs called spiders. Spiders start by fetching a few web pages, then they follow the links on those pages and fetch the pages they point to; and follow all the links on those pages, and fetch the pages they link to, and so on, until we’ve indexed a pretty big chunk of the web; many billions of pages stored on thousands of machines.”


– Matt Cutts in Lesson 1.3 of How Search Works


“How Google Works,” check out this video.


2 Building links is not the most important factor, it’s all about good quality content


Previously building links was how SEO worked and by doing this your website would rank much higher on Google search.

Building links are still an important part of ranking factors but according to a correlational study on ranking factors by Searchmetric, link building is among the top five most important ranking factors


The game has now changed, you now need to build links in a different manner when Penguin 2.0 was released in May 2013.


Google are pushing for links to be built the best possible way by focusing on good quality links rather than quantity. This is a balancing act, your links should focus on relevant and diverse sources that link to relevant pages.


If you were deciding where to focus your efforts, we would recommend using a good copywriter so when you have your good quality content, you can use it across your web pages, blog posts, guest posts and lead generation offers. By doing this you will bring more links to your website over time.


3 What are SSL certificates all about and do I need one?


SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer which adds an extra layer of security to your website, this makes your website encrypted so hackers cannot intercept your data so definitely worth having one.


Back in August 2014 Google announced that it had started using HTTPS as a factor in their ranking system which would mean if your website uses HTTP, Google Chrome would flag your web pages and as a result your ranking could be effected.


B2D Media offer free SSL certificates with all our domain names.


4 SEO is all about ranking


Being at the top of Google search results certainly has strong click through rates, but it’s not the end goal, like it used to be.


Studies of clickthrough rates and user behavior have shown that searchers prefer the top 3 listings. It has also been shown that on subsequent pages being listed towards the top of the page show similar click behaviour and now that search results have rich text/ snippets that show below the top 3 are now getting more click through rates.


There is a misconception that higher ranks mean more search traffic and click through success. Although your website will be seen at the top of Google search, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will get more click-throughs and below are a few reasons why this might be,


  1. You are choosing keywords that are unrelated to your field. To resolve this, you need to choose your keywords carefully by doing a keyword research for SEO.
  2. It may be that your meta descriptions are not enticing for the user. To rectify this, make sure you think about what language will tempt people to click through to your page.


  1. Being the top listing is not always an organic listing. This is the case when product listing ads take away clicks from organic search results. To get around this, look into using paid search on queries which are mobile-oriented with four ads on top.


  1. Sometimes a top search result could be a Featured Snippet, this can capture more clicks than the top listing. To resolve this tissue, make sure your content is well structured and your website is ranking on the first page.


5 Meta Descriptions. What’s it all about and do I need them?


What is a meta description?


These are HTML attributes and they describe what’s in your web page. When you do a Google search you will see a description on your search results. (SERPs)


It turns out that meta descriptions don’t really determine your Google rankings.


Google announced back in 2009 that meta descriptions including meta keywords will have no impact on search results but Meta descriptions do play a huge part to separating yourself from your competition when searchers navigate around the web.


Meta Descriptions do have an effect on your click through rates and having a great meta description can be the difference between searchers who click onto your webpage rather than your competition so it’s worth applying to your web pages..


There is a presentation on How Google Works, one of Google’s software engineers Paul Haahr explains that Google conducts live experiments of SERP ranking and they look for variations in click patterns


Google never gives a clear answers on how their algorithms work and there is no clear answer that your website is rewarded with higher click through rates, but personally we would recommend adding a good meta descriptions because good click through rates does effect your ranking in Bing and other search engines.


6 Pop Up boxes will downgrade my ranking?


Pop up boxes can be great market tools for generating leads and as you may know, pop-us are very effective but they can also be annoying when done in the wrong way and this is where Google has stepped in to make a difference.


Google announced in August 2016 that they would start to downgrade websites that use intrusive pop-ups.


Not to worry though, Google doesn’t penalise all pop-ups, it’s just the ones that get in the way affecting the viewer’s user experience. You need to make sure there is reasonable screen space which includes the mobile user’s experience. (banners and slide-ins that use a reasonable amount of space are acceptable.)


It’s all about getting the balance right, when you add a pop-up you should offer the viewer something relevant and worthwhile which works seamlessly with your website. It’s all about the customer experience.


7 More pages will make a huge impact?


Google is working hard on their algorithms which focus on quality, not quantity. You may think that the more pages you have on your website will make a big impact on your page ranking but it’s now about high quality content. Back in 2011, Google’s Panda algorithm was introduced to detect non useful content and it keeps getting better.


Also you will find that not everything will be indexed so to improve your chance for successful indexing make sure you keep your content useful and not similar to other content which has already been indexed.