Vine Digital was at the SMX conference in Paris on the first and the second of June 2017. This event is probably the most complete and complex expo dedicated to the search marketing industry. In 2016, we went to in Sydney’s SMX, this year we went to Paris and we have learned a lot.
I have selected and summarised the most important information that I believe any person working in the search industry should know.
Mobile Index First – Be prepared for it
Mobile Index First is probably the most important Google update since Panda or Penguin have come up. Google won’t use its Desktop bot to crawl your websites, and therefore, it won’t use its desktop index anymore. It will be all about mobiles. This update should happen in 2018 as Google seems to have delayed the publication.
Google decided to push all the websites to adapt their design and their UX to the devices people use the most. And it is a good thing; we just hope that Google won’t change too many rules at the same time.
Here are the ten rules you must know and follow if you want your website to rank in 2018:
9 mobile index rules you should follow:
- Don’t cut content for your mobile site – If your mobile website has less content than its desktop version, you will lose rankings and organic visitors. If your mobile website is richer than its desktop version, you will be fine. All the digital strategy should be now focused on mobiles, and this includes web design, content strategy, internal linking and all the other aspects we used to consider on a desktop website.
- Any piece of content should be accessible – Try not to hide any piece of content on a mobile website. However, if you need to, just make sure that the content can be seen by clicking on a navigation element.
- Websites dedicated to mobiles (m.website.com) should keep using canonical and alternate tags – It is common to find mobile websites that have perfectly followed Google technical recommendations on their desktop website but haven’t on their mobile version. You should make sure that all the optimisations you have implemented on your desktop website such as the canonical tag or the hreflang tags are also well implemented on your mobile website.
- Mobile websites (m.website.com) should also be monitored from the Search Console – If your mobile website is built on a subdomain, it will be critical to consider this website as your main website.
- Mobile page speed should be optimised – Check your website performances with the PageSpeed Insights tool. Make sure that images are well optimised, that the JS and CSS files are compressed and eventually minified and that the content above the waterline is loaded first. Check also your websitewith tools like Dareboost or GTmetrix. They will provide more information on your web site load speed.
- Do not forget to tag your mobile website as you did on your desktop version – Already added all the schema markups you could think of on your desktop website? Well, if you have your mobile version on a subdomain, you will have to make sure that the mobile website is tagged as well.
- Depending on the size of your website and on your market you should consider using AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) & PWA (Progressive Web Apps) –
- Focus on robots As Gary says, mobile websites have been designed and built for users. Well, it might be a good idea to also consider bots when creating a mobile website.
What the new Infinite “people also ask” feature tells us about SEO?
Featured snippets are used a lot by Google and by users. It never ends, and the answer is appearing directly on below the question.
This feature could be quite a concern as it seems to be part of a bigger plan. All these infinite questions on the SERPs can also be answered on other devices like the Google speaker.
The apparition of such devices and the use of Google voice will mean less use of screens. And fewer screen users will mean less organic traffic to blogs and other websites with great content. As, Google will use the content of great websites to provide precise and useful information to its users, without giving the website any credit.
People are using Google differently now. Their searches are direct, precise and are including many more words than before. We used to search for information or goods step by step. The first step was the use of a generic key term, the second was the use of a key term a bit more precise, and further, we were going in our research thinner was our request. Now people just ask direct questions and expect a direct answer.
What does it mean for us SEOs?
It means that we need to consider Google users (our prospects) when they are searching for information (when they are looking for help). We still need to rank for as many “money keywords” as possible, but we also need to rank for all the question key terms prospects could have. We need to help Google helping its users.
This consideration will impact most of the SEO basic processes such as keyword research, siloing, and content optimisation.
There are nice and sophisticated tools for that can be used to search for great question keywords that people are searching for: http://answerthepublic.com
How to migrate to HTTPs?
Since Google started to push websites to turn to HTTPs (especially e-commerce websites), it appears that the industry became a bit irrational. Migrating to HTTPs suddenly became the top priority for many important websites. The problem is, migrating to HTTPs is a complicated process and it is important to manage the migration properly to avoid any drop in organic traffic. How should we migrate to HTTPs then?
First of all, let’s start with a statement. HTTPs won’t help your rankings. At least, it won’t impact them directly. However, it will increase your “crawl budget”. It means that Google will spend more time on your website to crawl it. As you can imagine, Google spends an enormous amount of money to crawl all the websites of the world. Therefore, it is in its interest to optimise the time it spends on each website. A heavy, crappy, old website won’t be crawled as much as a trendy, well-coded, and optimised website.
Here is the checklist to use in case of an HTTPs migration:
- Choose the SSL provider and make sure the certificate is updated
- Make sure that you don’t change anything on the website while you migrate to HTTPs
- Decide if you are going to run a partial or complete move to HTTPs depending on the size of your website
- Crawl, recrawl, and crawl again
- Check your cookies
- Prepare and apply your redirects
- In Search Console, make sure all your websites have an account set up and monitor them
- Create a Master Search Console account that will combine HTTP and HTTPs data