Google and Facebook algorithm changes
Facebook and Google came about to be the biggest online platforms, which largely define the way we communicate, search and know. Any change to policies of either of these giants will impact billions of people.
Both Facebook and Google have recently updated their algorithms. In this article, We will explain what the changes are about, how will they impact businesses and how can you prepare and adjust to them.
Mark Zuckerberg has been taking Facebook new places as of recent. In June 2017 he provided the new mission statement – “bring the world closer together”. This is, however, not just a flashy sentence to make headlines with. Some real policy changes followed it.
The latest Facebook algorithm update serves as a confirmation.
On 12th January 2018, Mark Zuckerberg posted a long update on his Facebook account.
In the status, he talked about the changes in Facebook’s news feed policy. More emphasis is to be put on users’ well-being and happiness. Zuckerberg wants to achieve that by filling our feeds with posts from our friends and families. He backs his claims with the research conducted in collaboration with top academic researchers:
The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long-term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos — even if they’re entertaining or informative — may not be as good.
What does that mean? More holiday pictures and less content from brands in our feeds! Facebook also plans to cut the reach for videos and live streams. Even though they are lauded as the next big thing in marketing, according to Zuckerberg, are experienced passively. What he wants to drive, however, are the ‘meaningful connections and interactions’ between the users.
How will it affect brands?
Zuckerberg explicitly stated that the organic reach for brands, businesses, and media will be reduced. Facebook in 2018 is going to be a “pay-to-play” kind of thing, which most likely will see smaller pages with no budget to pay for reach, get thrown out of the game.
The new algorithm update is yet another blow to brand reach, after the infamous 2016 update, which cut the organic reach for businesses and brands producing and sharing content. Whether this continuous reduction of organic exposure is simply aimed at driving ad revenues or a fulfillment of Facebook’s original purpose, is unclear. What’s clear, however, is that in order to stay afloat, brands will have to pay!
Is there any other solution?
According to Forbes, reaching out to influencers could be a solution. They are the group that hasn’t (yet!) been touched by Facebook’s regulations. However, when picking the influencers to work with, brands need to be careful to not simply make them talk about their business – that may deter potential customers. The key will be to integrate the products into the language of the influencer naturally.
HootSuite offers different solutions. Posting great content that’s relevant and valuable to your customer base is, according to them, increase “meaningful interaction”. To put it simply – publish content people will want to comment on! But don’t use baits – Facebook is particularly picky about those!
Another solution proposed by Hootsuite is to invest more time into Facebook groups, which are based on audience engagement. You should also focus on live videos. According to Facebook “live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook – in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos”. In short – focus on content that brings engagement!
Google is a constantly changing platform. As a hub for most of our online activity, it needs to respond to the shifting habits when it comes to browsing.
Although not as radical as Facebook’s, Google’s latest algorithm updates need to be seriously taken into account. These changes are going to impact the directions, in which businesses will have to develop.
Mobile all the way!
Mobile searches are increasing, desktop searches are decreasing. The former have already overlapped the latter. Smartphones are now a commodity – an object everyone has. It’s convenient to grab and go, and proliferation of data connections as well as public WiFi made it simple to browse wherever you are.
Google does not watch these developments idly. Mobile search and apps are given priority over PC searches and websites.
A lot of focus is being put on PWA – Progressive Web Apps, which are going to merge the app experience with mobile browsing. AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages project that aims at creating simple and functional mobile websites, has a huge influence on that too.
The goals of PWAs is to ensure a smooth, fast and satisfying browsing experience. Mobile websites are minimalistic and functional – thus the loading times and user experience are a lot better than on elaborate desktop pages.
Another Google’s development is making SERPs more usable. We are all used to the list of blue links in our result pages. Google recently added a ‘carousel’ function in the mobile result pages that shows users the title of a page and a small photo or a graphic next to it. This is designed to help users cut the time they spend on SERPs and make it easier to find what they want.
UX all the way!
SEO hacks are a great way to make sure that your page ranks better. But that may change soon. User experience is one of the most important factors Google takes into account when ranking pages.
If your website is badly designed with toxic-bright colors that blurs your copy, Google will notice that. If you’re posting content that’s unnaturally stuffed with keywords and doesn’t present any value to your target customers, Google will know. And even if they don’t, the visitors of your website will – the consequences might be even worse!
What can you do?
Since mobile search is on the rise, you need to make sure that the mobile version of your website is as good as possible. By this, I mean ensuring that your loading times are as low as possible – start by optimizing your pictures and checking out the code for any inconsistencies or errors. Do the same for the PC version of your website – people still use that!
Ensuring a swift and functional browsing experience as well as posting great, valuable and relevant content are crucial to keeping the visitors on your website and making your website rank better. There’s a lot at stake, but none of these things are impossible to do!
“The times they are a-changin’” sang Bob Dylan.
And indeed, a lot has changed or is about to change when it comes to our online experiences. The implications for businesses brands are that they need to put in much more effort into making their websites and Facebook pages work.
When it comes to Facebook, the ‘pay-to-play’ model will most likely dominate the way brands communicate with their audiences.
With Google, businesses will need to focus on drastically improving their UX and work on a fast, responsive, and functional mobile website.
You can call our Design and Technology Team or use the form below if you need a new website:
0333 014 2035
Author: Seb Waligorski
Digital Media Manager at Ionize
I am a Branding and Digital Media Specialist creating Business Recognition and Online Visibility since 2010. I make sure that businesses stand out from their competitors and benefit from increasing customer loyalty and sales.
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