What’s the latest SEO News & Updates this week?

Read the very latest SEO News and Updates for w/e 25 August 2017 and you will discover the following fantastic stories:

#SEO #SEONews #MobileSearch #GoogleNews #LocalSEO #AMP #CanonicalURLs

New BrightEdge Research Shows Mobile is 57% of Google Search Traffic

Summary – 57% of Search Traffic Now Mobile:

  • BrightEdge, the enterprise SEO tool company, released research this week that showed mobile now accounts for 57% of Google search traffic.
  • The second key finding from their research was that 79% of search results differed across desktop and mobile. They believe this is an example of Google’s Mobile First Index surfacing already. I’m not convinced by this.

Mobile Now 57% of Google Search Traffic

Actions to take – 57% of Search Traffic Now Mobile:

  1. Check your favourite analytics package to understand the % of traffic coming to your website from mobile devices, or good old desktop from all sources, not just organic search traffic.
  2. If you haven’t done so already, you should have checked your Keyword Research for the current split in search volumes between mobile and desktop.
  3. Ideally, the two splits should be aligned – the split of organic search traffic received is equivalent to the split in organic keyword volumes.
  4. If the splits are not aligned, you are under-optimised for one type of search and not performing as you should be.
  5. Review your mobile / desktop optimisation and take action depending on where the issue lies.
  6. In most cases, there is an under-representation in mobile search results. In which case, you need to undertake optimisation on your mobile site.
  7. Click here to contact me to discuss how to optimise your site to appear in both desktop and mobile search results.

Discussion – 57% of Search Traffic Now Mobile:

That 57% of Google search traffic now comes mobile devices should not really surprise anyone, but is the stat slightly misleading? What I would really like to see it a better drill-down of the data to really expose where mobile is hot, and where desktop still rules. BrightEdge and other tools often release good headline data, which doesn’t always stand up to scrutiny.

For instance, the vast majority of local search, or search with what Google calls “local intent”, is carried out on mobile. It was something like 33% back in 2010, so I’d imagine it to be significantly higher now.

I’m less enamoured of their Mobile First Index conclusion. Google has been pretty open about when the Mobile First Index will roll out, indicating 2018 as a likely landing date, and stating it will rollout out in batches ( Google’s Mobile First Index Will Be A Staged Rollout). A recent report using SEMRush data had just under 20% of websites using a separate URL between the desktop and mobile versions of Google’s SERP. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the 20% difference in BrightEdge’s data is simply different URLs for the same content. You’d hope they checked that, but I see no evidence for it.

More info:

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Google Testing New Subscription Options for Publishers

Summary – New Google News Options:

  • Following the decimation of the news publishing industry by Google and Facebook, both are now taking steps to improve subscriptions for their news “partners”.
  • Google is revamping First Click Free, as well as developing tools for publishers to gain subscriptions and target users.
  • This is much-needed, but possibly, too little, too late. It’s also not driven by a sense of altruism.

Google News Testing Subscriptions For Publishers

Actions to take – New Google News Options:

  1. Keep an eye on Google News. They have made a few moves recently to update their service.
  2. Read up about micro-payment and subscription models Google has championed, it is likely that Google will offer a version of one, or both, of them.
  3. Keep pushing Google and Facebook to split ad revenues more equitably with news publishers.
  4. Click here to contact me to discuss how to get into Google News and how to implement First Click Free.

Discussion – New Google News Options:

For some years, news publishers have had a strong distaste for Google. They disliked the fact that Google News aggregated and published their content. They disliked not being able to directly paywall content, and they disliked Google stripping advertising dollars from them, directly on Google, and as a % from Google’s ad publishing arm.

The news outlets thought Facebook would be a saviour, but recent desertions and back-stepping from Facebook have had an impact there.

In turn, both advertising leviathans have offered temptations to the news publishers to keep their content flowing to Google and Facebook, and keep the ad revenue, flowing. The other issue is obviously that in the absence of real news, and due to the thirst for any news, fake news has flourished. This does no one any good.

This move by Google is about eyeballs on Google, and a response to the first move by Facebook to retain publishers. Don’t for one minute think it is about being kind to news publishers.

It is likely that Google will work with news publishers to introduce some kind of micro-payment model, or a subscription model, which also has revenue sharing for Google.

I bet the news publishers wish they had worked together to introduce an online ad system which could have easily rivalled Google’s and Facebook’s. Then they wouldn’t have been so dependent on either, and wouldn’t have had to split such a big revenue percentage with them.

More info:

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Google Local NEW Q&A Feature Now Live

Summary – Google Local Questions & Answers:

  • Following a bit of testing, the Google My Business team have now released the new Q&A Feature to all mobile search results which generate local listings.
  • The Q&A section becomes evident once you click into the Google My Business listing.
  • You can submit a question publicly, and the company / general public can answer it.
  • This type of crowd-sourced information has a history of being spammed, or gamed, or just wildly inaccurate.
  • Like reviews, it doesn’t look like you can remove or edit questions and answers which are not relevant or incorrect.

Google Local Q&A Now Live

Actions to take – Google Local Questions & Answers:

  1. Log into Google My Business to check if you have any burning questions waiting to be answered.
  2. Answer the questions, or mark the answers provided by the public as being useful.
  3. Consider questions asked as indicating missing content, either in your GMB listing, or on your website.
  4. Create content which directly answers these questions.
  5. Click here to contact me to discuss creating, managing and optimising Google My Business listings and managing the new Q&A features..

Discussion – Google Local Questions & Answers:

I can see exactly why Google is releasing this crowd-sourced Q&A feature: it is trying to garner information which is not available on the web, or in the businesses Google My Business listing.

It is also doing this so it can improve its information for natural voice search and provide a response which doesn’t send the user to a website. (This hasn’t been seen yet, but it is a blindingly obvious next step).

The problem is that, somewhat like reviews, these things can be gamed, played with, or just be horrendously inaccurate, either through genuine error, or deliberate misdirection, usually from direct competitors. I am not convinced it will be a winner. There is just too much noise for it to be terrifically useful.

More info:

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AMP Ads Get Even Faster

Summary – AMP Ads Get Even Faster:

  • The AMP project has now released Phase Two of its world domination plans to help ads get served faster.
  • In this instalment, they have released Fast Fetch technology, which allows the ad request to be made on page load and for AMP ads to be delivered progressively without delaying the ongoing page load.
  • Their claim is that this allows the full page load, inclduing ads to the 850ms faster for 50% of the web, and 2.7s faster for 90% of the web. That’s quick.
  • These systems deliver the AMP ads which were released in Phase One of their plans.

AMP Ads Get Even Faster

Actions to take – AMP Ads Get Even Faster:

  1. If you have the option, create AMP pages. Users much prefer fast-loading pages and websites.
  2. Again, if you have the option use AMP ads to deliver blindingly fast ads to your users, use them. They give higher viewability and click-through, which should mean increased revenue.
  3. If you’re creating ads, or ordering ads to be created, you should be using AMP creative to ensure your ads are seen by as many people as possible.
  4. Click here to contact me to discuss implementing AMP on your website.

Discussion – AMP Ads Get Even Faster:

AMP continues to get faster and faster. Although its stated aim is to be the predominant web serving technology, I still think it is a stop-gap, or stepping-stone technology. But that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be used in the meantime.

Although many users hate ads blindly, the most annoying thing for users was always delays either in page-loading, or in page-rendering caused by ads served from slooooow servers. That was a function of response time or ad creative size / complexity. It also impacted revenues for publishers, so really, no-one was pleased!

Really, if you want to make money on the web these days, you have to be quick. I do find it slightly amusing that the AMP WordPress site isn’t blindingly quick, however,

More info – AMP Ads Get Even Faster:

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Google Picks One Canonical

Summary – Google Canonical Picking:

  • There are some very silly webmasters out there, who do very silly things.
  • These include using a canonical instead of a 301 redirect (bad), or pointing to a canonical which has very different content on it (also bad).
  • A very special case asked about recently involved declaring a canonical which pointed to a URL, which 301 redirected back to a query-strung version of the original URL.
  • Google says that they pick one and use that for surfacing in the index, which is both helpful, and not at the same time.

Google Picks One Canonical To Index

Actions to take – Google Canonical Picking:

  1. Avoid confusing Google with inconsistent, or incorrect canonicals. It can take a while for Google to re-crawl and update its index to fix your error.
  2. Ensure your canonicals are not used in place of 301 redirects. Use a 301 redirect wherever possible.
  3. Ensure your canonicals do indeed point to the correct, canonical version of your URLs.
  4. Click here to contact me if you are having issues with canonical URLs or redirecting URLs properly.

Discussion – Google Canonical Picking:

I don’t quite know why canonicals and variant URLs cause so many problems to web developers and webmasters. They are quite logical and not hugely difficult.

They only appear to be difficult when the web developer is not logical, or cannot grasp the concept, or, finally, they use a CMS which cannot be beaten into shape to provide a sensible canonical schema.

Just to remind people, a canonical should not be used in place of a redirect. If you canonical to a different URL, it should be pretty much an exact copy of the one you are pointing from. Wherever possible, use a 301 redirect in preference to a canonical.

More info – Google Canonical Picking:

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SEO Bits & Pieces

SEO Bits & Pieces 25 August 2017

  • It’s been estimated that Google is paying Apple $3 billion to be Safari’s default search engine, which is an awful lot of money! Siri uses a variety of sources, most often Bing for straight search though, but let’s face it, does anyone use Siri to search?
  • One from the interesting, but slightly silly questions archive, as Google confirmed that blocking Googlebot from crawling images does not impact your core search performance. Why would it? Google uses no information from the image. everything image-relevant for core search is on the page crawled.
  • Google Search Console has a slightly confusing “Expired” status for URLs removed via its URL removal tool. This is triggered when another action such as noindex for the URLs is accepted into the index. I wonder what would happen if you removed the noindex.
  • I saw some update chatter over the weekend & the middle of the week. From the screenshots posted it looked like some sites recovered listings, others saw a large dip before being reinstated a week later. This is consistent with a small algo update which is rolled out and then tweaked post-live.
  • Apparently, things are looking good for the Mobile First Index. Everything is peachy and tickety-boo. So, said John Mu at the Google Webmaster Hangout in the “Well, He Would Say That, Wouldn’t He” section of the chat.
  • Click here to contact me to discuss how these SEO Bits & Pieces might impact you and your website and how you can implement solutions to rank better.

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  • 57% of Google searches are now mobile, according to BrightEdge.
  • Google is planning some very overdue help for news publishers.
  • There’s a new Q&A feature in Google My Business / Local results.
  • AMP ads are now even speedier to serve, render and watch.
  • Despite what some silly webmasters do, Google will usually pick a single canonical URL to index.
  • Read about how Google wants to Find Crawl Index.
  • Check out the current State of SEO in 2017.

Thanks for reading. If you would like to discuss what these changes mean for your web property, or would like to know how to implement them, please feel free to contact me.

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