2018 SEO Planning: How to Survive the Algorithm Updates of 2017

January 2, 2018 Stephen Galgocy

It can be hard to keep up with the latest Google algorithm updates, but it's essential if you want to avoid search engine penalties and succeed with SEO in 2018.

To help make things easier for you, we're sharing details regarding what we believe to be the five most important Google algorithm updates of 2017.

If any of these updates affect you, it’s time to take action. The faster you make changes to your site, the more likely you are to preserve your search engine ranking.

Most Impactful Google Algorithm Update #1: Fred

Fred was touted as one of the most significant SEO updates of 2017, and it's most likely to impact the rankings of sites with what Google identifies as “poor” user experience including sites with little content, purchased backlinks or too many ads. As a general rule, if Google determines monetization is a greater priority than user experience for your site, the Fred algorithm may have lowered your site’s rankings.

To leverage Fred: Concentrate on publishing quality content, avoid aggressive monetization and monitor the quality of links to your site.

Most Impactful Google Algorithm Update #2: Penguin Update

Is your site full of linked keywords? If yes, it’s rankings could be affected by Google Panda.

The SEO community determined the Panda update was aimed at weeding out low-quality sites by penalizing those with excessive numbers of keywords, too many linked keywords or automatically generated content.

To leverage Penguin: Focus on developing quality original content and avoid using too many keywords within internal links.

Most Impactful Google Algorithm Update #3: Pigeon

The Pigeon update enhanced local search. If you're advertising a location-specific service, you should make sure that your site is optimized correctly to benefit from the Penguin algorithm revisions.

To leverage Pigeon: Make sure your site uses location-specific keywords where appropriate, create listings in online directories and build a Google My Business profile with address details. Improving your overall SEO value should also help boost your rankings, since high-authority sites seem to be given priority in local search.

Most Impactful Google Algorithm Update #4: Mobile-Friendly

Google has given preference to mobile-friendly websites. As a result, if your site only works well on desktop monitors, you risk being heavily penalized by Google.

To leverage the Mobile-Friendly update: If you're using WordPress, make sure you choose a responsive theme designed to work on mobile devices. If you're working with a developer, request that he or she makes sure your site is mobile-ready.

You should also be able to improve your site speeds on mobile by enabling accelerated mobile pages (or AMPs), avoiding large or uncompressed images and checking for plugins that are slowing your site down.

Most Impactful Google Algorithm Update #5: Payday

The Google Payday update sought to clean up queries that had traditionally delivered “spammy” results (like pornography). We applauded this algorithm change for lowering the search results of sites using blackhat SEO techniques while seemingly avoiding an impact on sites with quality content.

To leverage the Payday update: Focus on quality original content and avoid blackhat SEO techniques.

Leveraging 2017 Google Algorithm Updates to Drive SEO Results in 2018

If you're creating high-quality content, avoiding overuse of keywords and building genuine backlinks to your site, you’re on the right track with regards to SEO. In general, maintaining a quality user experience should deliver strong results for both consumer engagement and search rankings.

If you have concerns about your SEO performance, perform a thorough content audit to identify and remove content triggering adverse action from Google.

Want more SEO tips? Click here to go to our SEO insights page.



About the Author

Stephen Galgocy

Stephen Galgocy is the Senior Organic Search and User Experience Specialist at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), an industry leader in providing end-to-end customer acquisition solutions that help clients grow their businesses and realize their marketing goals. In this role, Stephen handles search engine marketing (SEM), which encompasses search engine optimization (SEO), user experience (UX), multivariate testing (MVT) and conversion rate optimization (CRO). Since its inception, DMS has evolved into a full-service performance marketing company that services firms within highly complex and competitive industries including mortgage, education, insurance, consumer brands, automotive, jobs and careers. DMS has achieved incredible year-over-year growth, which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

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