Google Launches Mobile-first Indexing On Nov 04, 2016

Today, most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. However, their ranking systems still typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance to the user. This can cause issues when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page because their algorithms are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher.

To make their results more useful, Google today begun experiments to make their index mobile-first. Although their search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.

Here are Google’s recommendations to help webmasters prepare for the move towards a more mobile-focused index.

  • If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
  • If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site.
    • Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version. Sites can verify the equivalence of their structured markup across desktop and mobile by typing the URLs of both versions into the Structured Data Testing Tool and comparing the output. When adding structured data to a mobile site, avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to the specific information content of each document.
    • Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.
    • Sites do not have to make changes to their canonical links; we’ll continue to use these links as guides to serve the appropriate results to a user searching on desktop or mobile.
  • If you are a site owner who has only verified their desktop site in Search Console, please add and verify your mobile version.
  • If you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site. If you are building a mobile version of your site, keep in mind that a functional desktop-oriented site can be better than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site. It’s better for you to build up your mobile site and launch it when ready.

Read more at https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/11/mobile-first-indexing.html

12 useful tips for optimising mobile landing pages

12 useful tips for optimising mobile landing pages:

Optimising desktop landing pages is a tricky business, as you need to make sure all the most alluring content is visible along with a clear call-to-action.

These problems are obviously magnified on a smartphone screen as you’ve got to cram everything into a space just two inches by three inches.

The perennial issue of capturing smartphone conversions is one we’ve addressed before in posts looking at mobile checkouts and best practice for mobile CTAs.

And optimising landing pages is a big part of increasing conversions, as mobile users tend to be impatient so they need to be able to access the relevant content within a few clicks.

And with that in mind, here are 12 things to remember when optimising a mobile landing page.

Obviously the precise layout of a mobile page depends on the visitor behaviour you want to encourage and should come as a result of user testing, but these are all important points you should consider…

Don’t make people pinch and zoom

If you’ve designed your mobile site correctly this shouldn’t be an issue, but it’s always worth noting that users aren’t interested in pinching and zooming to bring your content into focus.

Not only is it a poor user experience, but it also means your content and calls-to-action will be at the mercy of the user.

It’s best to just make sure your site fits the screen correctly in the first place.

Test it on both landscape and portrait views

When browsing the mobile web it’s common for users to read sites in both portrait and landscape view. Make sure your site is compatible with tilted screens so that it delivers a consistent user experience.

Make sure fonts stand out

You need to bear in mind that what appears obvious to you might not jump out at the average mobile user. Space is tight, so make sure the font and background colours contrast one another so it doesn’t all blur into one.

This is even more important for CTAs, which need to be visually appealing and attract the user’s attention. 

Keep your CTA above the fold

Though some get sniffy at mentions of keeping things ‘above the fold’, as an ex-newspaper hack I’m a fan of the phrase.

In mobile terms, it generally means keeping the important content within the top 100 pixels. So if you’ve got a CTA on your landing page, make sure it’s near the top otherwise you risk dampening the impact and potentially losing the conversion.

(Read the rest at Digital Marketing Blog | Econsultancy)

New Talk – “Marketing On A Zero Budget” – 9th April

Come to our next informative talk on “Marketing On A Zero Budget” and learn:

How to market effectively online to get more clients

How traffic generation and social media can work hand-in-hand to increase your business sales and branding

How to leverage on web analytics to track your online marketing return on investment

Date: Friday 9th April, 7.30pm – 9.30pm

Click here for more details and to register.

Seating is limited so do register early if you are interested in attending.

Interview with Michael Marshall, creator of SEO Competitive Intelligence software – SEORecon

This week we proudly bring you highlights of an interview with Michael Marshall. Michael Marshall is a SEO consultant with over 19 years experience in information technology covering a wide range of specialties including: web design, software engineering, e-commerce solutions, artificial intelligence, and Internet marketing.

He has degrees in Linguistics, Philosophy and Theology and is a contributing author to SEOToday.com, the premier website for SEM professionals, and a contributor to “Building Your Business With Google for Dummies” by Brad Hill.

He’s a frequent presenter at Ultra Advanced SEO Symposiums, a meeting of select masters of the search engine marketing industry, at Search Engine Workshops and also a certified instructor at the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Search Engine Academy, an SEO certification program approved by the US educational system.

You can read the full interview here.

What are 3 SEO trends to watch in 2010?

1) Increasing complexity of sources of information in search results akin to Universal Search with Google incorporating new, video, audio etc. in normal search result listings.

2) The increasing importance of Mobile and Local Search.

3) The increasing influence of Personalization of Search.

What are 3 critical skills for any SEO professional to master?

1) Keyword Research

2) Competitive Intelligence – understanding strengths and weaknesses of competitors

3) Measuring performance through Web Analytics

You mentioned personalization of search. Can you elaborate on the impact of this on SEO?

The impact the personalization of search has on SEO should not be treated lightly. A quote from Mike Moran is worth noting here:

“Widespread personalization will doom traditional rank checking. The question won’t be ‘Does my site rank No. 1?’ but rather ‘For what percentage of searchers does my site rank No. 1’ or ‘What was my average ranking yesterday?’ . . . [I]t’s the biggest change in search marketing since paid search.”
– Mike Moran (Search is Getting Personal, Revenue January/February 2007)

Any traditional SEO methodologies or SEO Tools that depend heavily on traditional rank checking methods are similarly doomed. This means that any methods for:

1) Determining which competitors you should emulate, as well as how they should be emulated, and

2) Determining the effectiveness of your SEO efforts

that depend on traditional rank checking methods are destined for obsolescence. The overall thematic relevance of a page also becomes more important.

You also mentioned competitive intelligence research. What is SEO competitive intelligence (SEO-CI) and how could a local business with limited SEO budget use competitive intelligence research to compete against larger companies for top rankings? Would this work in ultra-competitive industries like the hotel, travel, banking and finance industries?

Competitive Intelligence is the process of determining the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors so that you can properly ascertain what the threats and opportunities are for your success in natural search against those competitors. When done properly, it can save you several months of trial and error in developing an SEO strategy, especially in very competitive industries and for very competitive keyphrases. The most accurate method would employ artificial intelligence similar to how AI is employed in multivariate analysis for optimizing landing pages with PPC.

A local business can use it to prioritize which target keyphrases are really worth going after and also to discover important components of a larger company’s SEO strategy, which of those components are most worthy of your attention and emulation, and which of those may be weaknesses that can be exploited.

Read the rest of this interview in which he covers SEO competitive intelligence and reveals the history behind his SEO software SEO Recon here.

Interview with Eyal Aldema, the founder of SheerSEO.com

This week, we are pleased to bring you an interview with Eyal Aldema, the creator of the SEO software SheerSEO.

 

SheerSEO is an unique online Search Engine Optimization (SEO) service that was created in October 2006. It allows you to automate the process of SEO analysis.

Eyal  Aldema

Can you tell our readers a bit more about yourself?
I am a software engineer from Israel.
My last jobs were managing development teams for companies in the internet industry.
While working as a software engineer, I had a hoby of developing my own small websites. This is where I’ve found the magic and power of SEO.
I couldn’t find good software solutions for SEO, and I knew I had a lot to contribute in this area.
So, I quit my job and started developing sheerseo.com, which is an online software for SEO.

What is the 3 biggest SEO challenges faced by consultants or business owners? Why and how did you create the SheerSEO tool?
The biggest challanges are:
a. Using your time wisely, by keeping away from tedious work. There are so many tasks that can easily waste your time for no reason, like getting back links, checking rankings, verify back links, check page ranks.
b. Develop your own strategy for SEO. There are so many opinions on what is right and wrong in SEO, that you need to decide what you believe in and make a lot of trial and error.
c. Adjusting your site to changes in the search market. It is simply not enough to do a one time SEO work. Things keep updating and you need to stay on top of things.

I’ve created Sheer SEO, so that there would be a complete automated SEO solution. SheerSEO is still a long way from this vision, but it could be exciting if we had softwares battling each other, SEO softwares against Google, head to head. Well, as I said, there is still a long way to go until this is achieved.

Your website states that you aim to provide tools to make the SEO monitoring process automated and easy.
How does SheerSEO assist in this and how easy is it to use?

SheerSEO assists mainly in tracking all indicators that influence SEO and the rankings of course. Nothing that you can’t get without SheerSEO, just the fact that you have it all gathered automatically without the need to spend time and have everything presented in a clear visual format, makes things a lot easier.

Let’s just take the rankings for example, you could just check your rankings yourself for a few keywords. But think about websites that have hundreds of keywords and they need to check each week all of them for the main search engines (Google, Bing & Yahoo), that would take a lot of time.

Also, that data isn’t worth much without knowing what is the change we made since last time and try to correlate that with the SEO actions that were done recently. With SheerSEO, you have all that data presented in easy to use tables and graphs, which makes it much easier to understand.

Sheerseo is very easy to use. You just fill in your details, keywords and main URLs and you’re good to go. All interface is very straight forward.

Two emerging challenges for the SEO industry are adjusting rankings for the effect of localized country search and personalization of search.
Does SheerSEO take these two factors into account and if so how?

I think SheerSEO answers them both. You can select which localization you want tracked for each search term, so say you are in Canada, you can check your rankings for US, Canada and Uk, regardless of your actual location. This is because all collection is done on our servers, which are located all over the world, as opposed to desktop application that will gather the info from your computer, which will in this example show you the results for Canadians.

As for the personalization, Sheerseo collects data that is not personalized, which is exactly what you want.

What innovation does SheerSEO bring compared with desktop based rank checking software like RankChecker or WebCEO?
There are many advantages in using an online service. I’ll try to bring a few main points here:
a. You pay per service and not for the application, so you can stop at any time if you think this solution is not right for you.
b. You don’t need to worry about the data getting lost. We keep the data on our database, which we backup regularly. In a desktop application, you might lose the info if something goes wrong with the computer.
c. Your data is available online, from anywhere. Since the data is online, you can see it in your computer, your cell phone, wherever you are. With a desktop application, you only have it on one computer.
d. Platform independent. We work the same from Windows/Mac, all you need is a browser.
e. Share information. Think of an SEO consultant, with desktop application, he’ll need to send reports to his client. With SheerSEO, he can just provide a login to the client and they can both login and see the same information.

SheerSEO looks to be a powerful automation weapon for any SEO expert to possess. What are the main features in SheerSEO and how should a SEO consultant use them in their SEO activity workflow?
Main features are the rankings reports, the main referrers which shows you a lot of information regarding your main backlinks. The backlink watchdog, that can help you make sure that your precious backlinks agreements are not compromised and the white label solution, that can provide a fully branded version of SheerSEO.

A consultant should use them to track the progress he is achieving for his clients. It makes it easier to prove your client the progress made with the online reports, that can show the historical changes to the rankings, the social media mentions etc.

The nice thing here, is that there is not too much to do, you just need to enter the details once you start working for the client, and the rest is done automatically. Then, the SEO consultant, can easily login to the account of the client, get a clear picture of the status in a few seconds, and decide on the actions to follow. We recommend this repetitive test & react is done weekly, but some SEOs do this daily.

Also, we recommend adding the newly created back-links to the backlink watchdog. This if good for having a record of the links added and also for verify that they are not compromised.

In the last few months you’ve been busy adding new features like Summary Snapshots, Localized Tracking, Twitter Mentions and Estimated Clicks.
What are some new SheerSEO features that we can look forward to in 2010?

I believe that in this year, sheerseo has become powerful in SEO tracking, and now is the time to start helping with the actual promotion of sites. So, you can expect to see us help you get backlinks and improve your pages quality. I leave the rest to your imagination, cause I don’t want to reveal my plans to the competitors, but you can expect those features coming pretty soon.

Any final SEO advice for our readers to kick-off 2010?
Pay attention to the new stuff Google is releasing these days. They promised surprises after the new year.

I also encourage you to try the 90 days SheerSEO free trial today to experience its power for yourself (no credit card is required):
http://www.sheerseo.com/seo-monitoring-tools/signup.html

Thank you for your time Eyal, and we wish you and SheerSEO another great year in 2010!


The interviewer Ivan Wong is a SEM & SEO consultant with MapleCommerce.

Directory Submissions No Longer A Recommended Indexing Method For Google

While Google has condemned buying and selling links that pass PageRank, they’ve encouraged listing in paid directories like Yahoo for years. It seems that era may have come to an end earlier today. The following bullet points have been removed from Google’s Webmaster Guidelines Webmaster Help Center*

“Have other relevant sites link to yours.”
“Submit your site to relevant directories such as the Open Directory Project and Yahoo!, as well as to other industry-specific expert sites.”

New Release of Search Demand Figures by Google and Its Impact on Keyword Research

With the recent release of search demand figures by Google, keyword researchers can now view search volume data in Google’s keyword research tool. From Google’s website, the release of these approximate numbers are intended to provide better insight into keywords’ monthly and average search volumes than previously provided by the free AdWords tool. I believe that this is an exciting development for keyword researchers. As an example many researchers rely on a measure called KEI to determine how effective a keyword is for your web site. Keyword Effectiveness Index (KEI) was invented by a leading SEO Expert called Sumantra Roy.

Many experts nowadays say that KEI is only useful to make an initial assessment on a keyword, and that further research should be done on the strength of the competitor websites ranking high for the keyword. Even so, I still use it as an useful example of how the Google data can be used to make a quick relative assessment of a keyword’s suitability. The formula to calculate a Keyword’s Effectiveness Index is KEI = (P2/C), or a keywords popularity to the power of 2, divided by the keywords competition. The theory was that the higher the KEI, the better the keyword effectiveness. High KEI keywords are usually easier to optimize and rank highly on major Search Engines. The exception is when high KEI keywords also have unusually large number of competing web pages. In the past, keyword researchers had to obtain this popularity data from other sources like Overture “Searches” or WordTracker “demand” data.

This popularity figure was then combined with Google’s competition(“Results” in Google searches) data to produce a KEI figure. However as KeywordDiscovery and WordTracker rely on extrapolated data from ISPs to produce their figures, the data obtained is more useful for relative comparisons. Now that demand data can be obtained directly from Google itself, this will have a positive effect on keyword research as the accuracy of demand data is now much better than was available before. KEI can be calculated from freely available Google data, and this will also open up many more implications for SEO and PPC analysis work.

Learn how you can SEO your website through MapleCommerce’s Advanced SEO workshop trainer Ivan Wong.