Colorado Mobile SEO

Preparing For SEO in 2017

Every year brings new SEO challenges and surprises. The year 2017 won’t be any different, but we do expect these topics to be important considerations in the new year:

 

Interstitials / Popups on Mobile Devices
We’ve all seen mobile sites with a popup covering the content we were trying to read. These popups will be punished by Google in early 2017. Like ads above the fold, Google feels these popups harm the user experience – and they do not want to send visitors to such sites. Many survey and tool vendors such as ometrics and surveygizmo have been proactive to make sure their clients are not at risk, but some vendors may not be aware.

 

SSL / HTTPS
Google is really pushing SSL, and this is the year they accelerate their plan to make the web secure. Having your entire website served over HTTPS used to be rare, and only credit card or health privacy transactions were secured. And even that was spotty. But Google has begun a campaign since 2014 to secure everything. Two years ago, Google introduced a rankings boost for sites entirely on SSL. Last year they provided better features in Search Console. And we started to see SSL as “must have”. But progress has been voluntary in many regards, with other business objectives prioritized first.

Next year, new developments will force your hand: Warnings will start appearing in Chrome. Come January 2017 the Chrome browser will show increasingly dire warnings for any site that hasn’t moved to HTTPS. Starting with pages that have credit card or password fields:

Initially, users will be warned:
chrome-indicator-image

 

 

 

 

 

With more dire warnings for insecure sites later in 2017:

chrome-warning-image

 

 

 

 

 

 

JavaScript-based sites

There are many great reasons to use one of the new JavaScript frameworks in a web app or site: They tend to be mobile friendly and give a superior user experience in many cases. You’ve seen JavaScript search widgets on ebay and amazon providing “faceted search” – allowing users to easily refine their searches by clicking a few checkboxes. Frameworks needing some help include Angular, Backbone, Meteor, and many of their child/related frameworks. Some frameworks, such as Angular v2, are getting better about being search engine friendly. And Google is crawling ever more javascript, but not well from what we’ve seen. And often sites need help implementing technologies such as prerender.io. We are increasingly seeing more of this kind of work, and expect it to accelerate in 2017.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
AMP is the super-speedy loading of pages you’ve likely seen in some mobile results. After you setup AMP on your site, Googlebot places your content on it’s super-fast servers – but making it look like your URL. AMP was just for news sites, but now Google has opened AMP up to other sorts of sites – and 700k+ sites have been using it! If mobile traffic is important to your site, AMP will likely become vital over the next year.

Schema
Google just loves schema. We’ve seen over this last year as schema has helped increase pages indexed, and expect it to play a greater role every year. As artificial intelligence is used more and more in the “Rank Brain” algorithm, sites that can be easily categorized by Google will received more visibility. I for one welcome our new overlords… subject to future review.

Backlinks
Links are still an important part of Google’s algorithm. But sustainable, authentic link earning is always the best longterm approach in link building. So how can you get these links?

1. Content marketing
Produce great content, and reach out to authority sites and influencers in your space.

2. Business Development Link Building
All of those traditional activities such as sponsoring a baseball team, joining the chamber, or participating in online communities/forums are actually great ways to get links.

3. Publicity
Publicity is that powerful branch of public relations that provides links and visibility from media sites.

These methods of earning links have the best longterm potential, and are quite powerful for building and keeping rankings.

More effort
The shrinking organic traffic (more ads at the top), increased competition, and ever-changing nature of organic search require more effort than ever. Gone are the days of getting your site “SEO-ed” and expecting free traffic. All traffic is either earned, or easily taken away. May you experience a great new year with SEO!

8 Things We Know About Google’s Upcoming Mobile Update [Monthly Summary of Search]

Google is implementing a mobile update come April 21. They have been releasing small details, and here is what we know so far:

1. The penalty is on a page-by-page basis:  Instead of judging an entire site, Google will assess the mobile friendliness of each page. This is very unlike Google Panda’s penalties: Usually a small section of a site can potentially impact the entire site by spewing duplicate and/or thin content. If your site is too difficult to change in time, worry first about your site’s most important organic landing pages: Make sure they are mobile friendly, and disregard other areas of the site.

2. Google is currently showing labels for mobile-friendly sites in their mobile search results:
Here is what the labels look like in mobile searches:

mobile-friendly

This is actually the most important of all tests: If your pages are showing the label, you’ve passed the mobile friendly test.

3. Come April 21, sites will start to see the ranking changes: Mobile friendly pages will see increased rankings, while unfriendly pages will see a decrease in rankings.

4. Bigger than panda or penguin: Google has relayed that this update is going to be larger than Panda or Penguin. The rankings of many pages are likely to be effected.

5. The update starts on April 21, and rolls out over a week: Do not breathe a sigh of relief on April 21 and stop checking. Instead check mobile friendliness labels, rankings and traffic levels daily for the week.

6. There are not degrees of mobile friendliness: Binary: There are not degrees of mobile friendliness. Even one issue is detected, and the URL will be treated as NOT mobile friendly.Google's mobile update

7. The update is ongoing: No need to wait a year after you’ve implemented the fix. Instead, changes will be sensed on the next crawl of your page. Of course, you’ll want to use Google’s Webmaster Tools features to get pages reindexed quickly!

8. Some tests are inconclusive: When you spot the “Mobile Friendly” label on your page in Google’s mobile search results, you know your page is in the clear. But tool errors have been noted in Google’s testing tools:

  • If pages are flagged in Webmaster Tools as Mobile Unfriendly, it can take a while for the errors displayed to clear once fixes are implemented.
  • Some tests can fail or report a false positive when resources such as CSS or JS are blocked.

Google has never given notice of an impending deadline like this. It’s a bold experiment to get the web moving in what is clearly the right direction. But can sites be changed in time? It’s a tough deadline to meet for most companies.

PSST! Need a Free Link?
Get a free link for your agency: Would you like our monthly take on the changing world of SEO delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to the Hyper Dog Media SEO Newsletter HERE! When you subscribe, each newsletter will contain a link idea for your business!

 

Conversion is King [Summary of Search]

Content is helpful, but conversion is everything. The point of content – and usability in general – is to meet business objectives.

Any business objective can be a conversion of sorts: bookmarking, social sharing/liking, video views, time on site, lead generation, add to cart, and hopefully even completing the sale! By measuring each step, brands can understand where their site can improve it’s usability and contribute more to the bottom line.

1. It can be easier to increase conversion than to increase traffic
Increasing conversion also increases revenue, and can be easier than increasing traffic – up to a point.

2. Even mobile apps can easily conduct conversion optimization tests
Mobile testing platforms now allow conversion and usability testing without rolling out new versions of your app. Solutions exist from Optimizely ,Visual Website Optimizer (VWO), Liquid, and Artisan Optimize Mobile App.

3. You should test EVERYTHING
User Experience professionals agree: Take their advice, but “always keep testing”. Conversion case studies show all sorts of factors can influence conversion:

  • Logos and headers
  • Design style of the the site
  • Product page designs
  • Product descriptions and overall copy writing
  • The text of your call to action buttons
  • Images
  • Use of video (usually boosts conversion, but not always!)
  • Purchasing path through the site

4. Website redesigns should use, not reset your data
Now if the site is just awful, start with a redesign. But a website redesign that starts over can sometimes be a horrible waste: Another shot in the dark, with hope and prayer. Consider instead a redesign process based on evolving the website with small changes, continually tested for improvement. But definitely start from having your website in a “good place”!

Not sure of next steps for your site? Time to start testing – or maybe a redesign from that “good place”. Need a good interactive agency or website design firm? We’ve worked with agencies and designers. And we partner with the best! Talk to us about your needs, and we’ll introduce you to the right match.

PSST! Need a Free Link?
Get a free link for your agency: Would you like our monthly take on the changing world of SEO delivered to your inbox? Subscribe to the Hyper Dog Media SEO Newsletter HERE! When you subscribe, each newsletter will contain a link idea for your business!

See you at SearchCon 2015!
Are you interested in learning about the latest in search from the experts? Join us at SearchCon 2015 – The Digital Marketing and SEO Conference! SearchCon is April 9th and 10th and will be held at Beaver Run Resort in beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado. Register before March 2nd and take advantage of early bird pricing! http://searchcon.events/