Pubcon Austin 2015 – Google Strategy For Dynamic SERP Ranking By Loren Baker

Search is becoming more complex all the time. Each search can bring up many different results depending on who is searching, where they are, what they’ve searched for in the past, and more. Loren Baker shared some thoughts about mobile search during his presentation at Pubcon Austin 2015 …

Loren Baker at Pubcon Austin 2015.Search is becoming more complex all the time. Each search can bring up many different results depending on who is searching, where they are, what they’ve searched for in the past, and more. Loren Baker shared some thoughts about mobile search during his presentation at Pubcon Austin 2015:

  • Google search results are personalized down to the zip code and device.
    • This is very important to remember
    • SERPs can change dramatically from one geographic area to another
    • Localization (not local SEO) is something all site owners need to keep in mind
  • The true value of ranking is where you are in the SERPs and who is ranking just ahead and just behind you
    • You also have to keep in mind that Google is crowding out organic data with their stuff
    • Knowledge Graph is key
    • Google’s showing news, sports scores, weather, movie times in the SERPs from their own data store is changing the search landscape
  • Tools
    • SEM Rush – tracks at the city level
    • Authority Labs
    • Searchmetrics – Local search results
  • Localized Tactics for Competing
    • Local content!
    • Location-logical URL structure
      • Also consider searches by metro area
      • List locations this way as well
    • Work on sending your customers directly to your location page rather than to the home page. Why make them search twice?
    • Produce content local influencers will like, link and share
Photo courtesy of Pubcon.

The Saturday Summary – 5/9/2015

There was a lot of news around search this past week, as well as about mobile search, Apple’s apparent foray back into search, Yelp and Facebook’s content publishing initiative. Here are the articles that caught my eye during the week May 4-8 2015 …

There was a lot of news around search this past week, as well as about mobile search, Apple’s apparent foray back into search, Yelp and Facebook’s content publishing initiative. Here are the articles that caught my eye during the week May 4-8 2015:

Monday

I remember several years ago, a handful of brands abandoned their websites in favor of a “Facebook First” online presence. At that time I thought it was a terrible idea (still do, too). Apparently those brands changed their minds since they’ve all relaunched websites. This week came some details about Facebook’s new “Instant Articles” platform that would allow content publishers quicker placement of their content. While I can certainly see the upside for Facebook, I really don’t see much of an upside for the publishers. You can read more about it in this WebProNews piece by Chris Crum: Facebook Instant Articles: More Details Emerge.

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • There are some who get really bogged down in the details regarding the length of META title and description tags. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s important to understand the variances in what Google and Bing do with those tags. To that end, Dr. Pete Meyers shares the results of some tests he’s conducted around description lengths on the MOZ Blog: I Can’t Drive 155: Meta Descriptions in 2015.
  • Apple has confirmed they are crawling the web to gather data used in Siri and Spotlight Search results. Applebot 0.1 has been seen out in the wild, and Barry Schwartz tells us the details on Search Engine Land: Apple Confirms Their Web Crawler: Applebot.

Thursday

Indications are that Yelp is looking for a buyer. Greg Sterling on Search Engine Land reports that revenues are down for the leader in the online review space, which is causing some disappointment among investors. Speculations are that Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple and others might be interested in the property. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. WSJ: Yelp Seeking A Potential Buyer.

Friday

Google has been telling us for several months that they are able to render JavaScript in web pages and understand how the pages will render to users. Among those I talk with, the question has been “Oh yeah? How much?” Adam Audette shared the results of some tests he participated in that indicate Google can render JavaScript pages quite well – well enough to understand the content and index it properly. While I’m not ready to tell clients that it’s OK to fall back into the JavaScript camp for menus and such, this is very good information. Check out We Tested How Googlebot Crawls Javascript And Here’s What We Learned on Search Engine Land.

Pubcon Austin 2015 – Y’all Need To Speak Espanol By Zeph Snapp

International SEO brings up a whole host of technical and optimization challenges that must be met. Zeph Snapp has a lot of experience working with multilingual websites, especially those in English and Spanish. He shared some great information during his presentation at Pubcon Austin 2015. Here are some notes I took …

Zeph Snapp shares information on international SEO during a presentation at Pubcon Austin 2015International SEO brings up a whole host of technical and optimization challenges that must be met. Zeph Snapp has a lot of experience working with multilingual websites, especially those in English and Spanish. He shared some great information during his presentation at Pubcon Austin 2015. Here are some notes I took:

  • Spanish matters – between 12%-20% of people speak Spanish at home
  • Localization is very important
    • Localize the dialect of Spanish depending on location
    • Little changes can make a big difference
  • Transcreation: Process of adapting a message from one language to another, while maintaining its intent, style tone and context
  • Doing International Language SEO
    • Get your keywords in English first
    • Translate the list
    • Find foreign language keywords in Google
    • Use Asihablamos.com to see Spanish words in different regions
    • Use translators that understand English well enough to understand your message and translate properly
    • Don’t forget about character sets
    • HREFLANG is very important – it’s not hard to do, so do it
    • Don’t use flags to signify language – doesn’t make sense for most languages
    • Don’t forget to allow people to choose their language as desired. You don’t want to automatically redirect all the time. Design to be flexible for customers
  • Spanish language works very well on YouTube. Put up the video with subtitles and submit a Spanish-language transcript.

Photo courtesy of Pubcon.

Pubcon Austin 2015 – Optimizing for 2015 and Beyond By Michael David

It’s critical that online marketing practitioners keep up with the latest trends. Michael David of TastyPlacement shared some great information about mobile search and HTTPS for website optimization during his presentation at Pubcon Austin 2015. Here are some notes I took …

It’s critical that online marketing practitioners keep up with the latest trends. Michael David of TastyPlacement shared some great information about mobile search and HTTPS for website optimization during his presentation at Pubcon Austin 2015. Here are some notes I took:

Mobile Search

  • Google is committed to mobile results – this is very key
  • Use the Google Mobile-Friendly test
  • Don’t forget to check robots.txt for blocked folders containing CSS and JavaScript files
  • Lower engagement on mobile is the norm:
    • long paths/funnels/forms are unrealistic
    • Make CTAs very easy to see and use
    • Use JQuery to make mobile call actions appear – don’t forget to track as an event in analytics
  • In Google Analytics, consider creating custom segments for mobile users

HTTPS

  • Google has announced publicly that they are using HTTPS as a ranking signal
  • LetsEncrypt.org will be offering free SSL certificates in Mid-2015. Sponsored by some heavy hitters in the online space
  • If you’re using WordPress, conversion is pretty easy
  • Make sure to find all your links and change from http: to https: in URLs
  • If you’re on an UX host, you can use htaccess to force users to HTTPS

Pubcon Austin 2015 – Are You Mobile Friendly? By Brian Combs

The Pubcon Austin regional event was held on April 20, 2015, the day before Google’s new Mobile-Friendly algorithm was launched. Needless to say, there was a lot of talk about the update. Brian Combs shared some excellent information and tips to help you “think mobile.” If you’re site isn’t yet mobile friendly, it’s not too late. Here is some of the information Brian shared …

Brian Combs talks about mobile search during Pubcon Austin 2015.The Pubcon Austin regional event was held on April 20, 2015, the day before Google’s new Mobile-Friendly algorithm was launched. Needless to say, there was a lot of talk about the update. Brian Combs shared some excellent information and tips to help you “think mobile.” If you’re site isn’t yet mobile friendly, it’s not too late. Here is some of the information Brian shared:

  • The mobile algorithm update hits Google on April 21st.
  • Mobile-friendliness has been a large part of the algorithm for a long time – it’s getting bigger.
  • Half of local searches are mobile.
  • A recent Portent study shows that 40% of websites are not mobile-friendly.
  • This won’t kill your entire site
    • Determined on a page-by-page basis
    • Won’t affect desktop search.
  • Use Google’s tools to see if your site is mobile-friendly or not
  • Responsive design has been a recommendation from Google for a long time. Google likes this
    • Separate URLs are problematic – too many issues to make it work well.
  • Recommendations
    • JavaScript and CSS must be crawlable
    • Check robots.txt
    • Optimize META and Titles – basic thing
    • Use Schema.org
    • Use Google’s mobile-friendly test
    • Test with actual devices [Mike Black mentioned this in another session.]
    • Avoid Flash and popups
    • Check content width
    • Design for fingers (very important).

Photo courtesy of Pubcon.