Even though it’s the first month of 2019, it’s important to understand the major updates Google made to their search algorithm last year in order to predict some of the changes that may be coming this year. Mobile-First Index Roll-Out This year Google started rolling out their anticipated mobile-first indexation. Mobile-first indexation refers to using mobile versions of web pages for indexing and ranking in order to help mobile users locate what they are looking for more efficiently. Prior to this the index included desktop versions. Sites that had mobile versions indexed saw better crawl rates, and mobile versions became visible on search engine result pages. Image Search Update Google changed the functionality on image searches. Google removed the “view image” button from their search results. It is said to be a result of legal complaints coming from Getty Images. I’ve had clients receive take down requests from Getty Images and orders to pay $2,000 or more as compensation for alleged copyright violations of their images. They are a major player in the image space, so I can see how that may have happened. It looks like webmasters approved of the update, but searchers weren’t happy. Medic Core Update This was confirmed as a broad algorithm update by Google. It was rolled out in a period of a week, but saw the most activity the first 2 days of August. The update was said to be focused on specific improvements, and it was observed that health and wellness sites seemed to see higher impacts. Mobile Speed Update With this update Google formally announced that page speed is a ranking factor for mobile searches. Google said it will only affect slower sites, so it basically devalued poor mobile experiences in terms of page speed. The update was to drive better mobile user experience where mobile users could get to what they were looking for faster. Brackets Core Update This update focused on compelling and shareable content on websites. The update was more about relevance and not necessarily quality. This update also seemed to roll out over an extended period of time. Zero-Result With this update, Google became able to provide a Knowledge Card in the search engine results page as a response to questions like “What time is it in London?” With this update, even if you click the “show all results” button, you won’t see any extra organic results. This update was limited to a select amount of search queries related to date, time, unit conversions, and calculators. Snippet Length Drop Because meta descriptions reached limits of 300+ characters, Google decided to shorten them to 150 to 160. The reason in why it was done, was longer snippets took up a lot of space on mobile search engine result pages. These were just some of the many Google algorithm updates in 2018. You should always be on the lookout for more updates, monitor you rank tracking and analytics, and monitor new Google patents being filed and approved related to search. If you work on the agency side or in-house in a specific industry it is in your best interest to stay update and device strategies to combat changes.