Anyone who owns a website that is the online real estate for your business should know that trying to get it ranked highly using SEO is not a one-time event. In reality, it requires multiple actions, and further, what tactics and strategies might boost rankings today could do the opposite tomorrow due to Google’s ever-changing ranking algorithms and rules.

The quest to know everything about SEO will never end, even for the most knowledgeable and experienced SEO exp[arts, simply because Google is on a continuous journey towards doing its search results the best it can do for its customers, aka people who search on Google.

No one knows every facet of the algorithm that Google uses to rank websites, and we imagine that even within Google itself, no single person has 100% access or knowledge of that algorithm. However, Google regularly publishes updates and details, informing those who need to know that its ranking factors have changed.

Some of these changes are relatively minor, while others are hugely significant, often to the extent that they can wipe out a business overnight if that business was relying on a ranking factor that Google has altered, removed, or reversed to the extent that it is now a negative factor, having been a positive factor previously.

To illustrate the types of changes Google makes, and also to inform you of some of the recent developments that SEO must now take account of, below we have outlined seven recent SEO developments that every website owner should be aware of.

Recent SEO Development #1 – Core Web Vitals

Core web vitals are metrics that measure website performance and user experience, including page loading speed and interactivity levels. Google started using these metrics as ranking factors in 2021, and they form part of its mission towards making user experience (UX) a core element of how well websites are ranked. Websites that prioritise good user experience are likely to see improved search rankings as a result.

Recent SEO Development #2 – Passage Ranking

Google’s passage ranking algorithm allows it to understand individual passages on a webpage and rank them separately, rather than just ranking the webpage as a whole. This means that pages with long-form content and specific answers to user queries can rank higher in search results, even if the overall page content may not be as relevant.

For example, if someone searches for “how to cook a steak on a barbecue grill”, a page that has a detailed section specifically about cooking steaks on barbecue grills may rank higher in search results, even if the overall page is about outdoor cooking in general.

Recent SEO Development #3 – Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are a newer form of search result that provides a short, quick answer whenever a user submits a search query without them having to click through to the website. These snippets are displayed at the top of search results and can drive a significant amount of traffic to the website that provides the featured answer.

To optimise for featured snippets, you should create content that answers specific queries clearly and concisely whilst using structured data to help Google and other search engines understand the content on that page.

Recent SEO Development #4 – Google’s BERT Update

BERT is short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers which should confirm that if ever an acronym was needed it is this one. BERT allows Google to better understand the nuances of conversational language and provide more relevant search results. This means that websites that prioritise simple, conversational, and natural language when creating content versus using complex and formal language, are more likely to rank higher.

Recent SEO Development #5 – Mobile-First Indexing

As almost everyone these days uses mobile devices to access the internet, Google has shifted to mobile-first indexing, which means that the mobile version of a website is now the primary version used for indexing and ranking in search results. Rankings of websites that prioritise mobile responsiveness and usability will rise and benefit from the increased mobile traffic that generates.

Recent SEO Development #6 – Image And Video Search

As visual content such as high-definition images and video have become increasingly popular online, optimising websites for image and video search has become an increasingly vital element of SEO.

Including high-quality images and videos that are relevant to the content of the page, having file names and alt tags to help the search engines identify their relevance, and optimising image and video files for faster page load speeds, are just three essential SEO actions you should take.

Recent SEO Development #7 – Experience – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness (E-A-T)

E-A-T refers to the quality and credibility of a website’s content and the expertise of the website or business owners who create it. Google also wants to ensure that the websites it includes in its search results are trustworthy and provide high-quality, accurate information.

For example, to show expertise, a website that provides legal advice should be written by legal experts and be based on current, credible facts about the law. For authoritativeness, a website should be cited by other credible sources and have a strong reputation within its sector. To establish trustworthiness, a website should have clear policies for user privacy and data security, as well as an easy way to contact the website’s owners.