One reason search engine optimization tends to require more time, work, and attention than business owners realize is that Google is essentially a moving target. The moment you master one aspect of search visibility, the company’s engineers change their algorithm and approach to require something altogether different.

Sometimes, the shifts are minor and barely noticeable to people who aren’t in the web design and Internet marketing industry. In other cases, though, the differences are profound enough that business owners and everyday marketers have to take notice.

We are facing two such changes right now. Here are two new features of Google’s search algorithm, and how they could affect your business…

#1 Penguin 4.0 Is Here

Google’s Penguin update was designed to take away the advantage unethical marketers got from using link farms to improve their search engine positioning. It had a dramatic effect on search results, affecting millions of different markets overnight and essentially penalizing websites with low-quality inbound links.

Since then, the exact formula has changed a few times. The latest (and probably lasting) iteration simply ignores “junk” inbound links altogether. That means there isn’t any benefit to using link farm strategies, but it also means business owners who tried to game the system have essentially been forgiven and ignored.

Knowing that, you should expect that some of your old competitors might start to pop up in the search engine listings again. At the same time, having the right kinds of links pointing towards your website is still extremely valuable, and can help you improve your search engine visibility in a drastic way.

#2 Google Is Separating Mobile Searches

Although this change hasn’t technically happened yet, Google’s engineers recently announced that they’ll be indexing mobile and desktop search separately – with mobile search getting the higher priority and more regular updates.

This isn’t necessarily surprising, except for the timing involved. Most of us expected Google to concentrate more of their energy and firepower on mobile going forward, given that smart phone and tablet users already make up the majority of search traffic. It’s now possible, however, that the change will occur in the next six months, meaning the pressure is on small and medium-sized businesses to provide a fast-loading, mobile-friendly experience to new customers.

Savvy marketers have already moved to responsive web design that addresses many of these concerns. Now, there’s absolutely no excuse for delaying the process any longer. If you aren’t mobile-ready, then you’re likely to be ignored by Google and potential customers in the near future.

The interesting thing about these two changes to the way Google processes search results is that they are both powerful, with far-reaching effects, and yet most business owners aren’t aware that they are happening. So, if you want to separate yourself from the competition, and get a head start on your search engine optimization campaigns, call or email our team today so we can show you how to take advantage of this new SEO landscape.