Showing posts with label search engine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label search engine. Show all posts

SEO: Google Makes ‘Mobile-friendly’ a Ranking Signal

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Google Mobile Friendly Search

Is your site mobile friendly?

If your haven't already built your website for mobile devices, on April 21 you may find it harder to get google rank in Google’s mobile search engine esults.

Google announced algorithm updates that will have a “significant impact” on mobile search results worldwide for mobile searchers.  The update improves rankings for sites that provide a mobile-friendly experience to searchers on mobile devices, and, by association, demotes sites that do not.

They've already begun rolling out the new algorithm, and you may have already seen it.

Note that the "mobile-friendly" update only affects mobile search results (searches from smart phones and tablets) not searches conducted from a desktop or laptop computer.

The new mobile-friendly search algorithm is:

  • World-Wide
    All countries will get the algorithm update
  • Page-by-page
    Each page is judged separately (but a bad page won't affect your good ones)
  • In Real Time
    Each time your pages are crawled, it will determine it's mobile friendliness right away
According to Google, their goal is "to improve searcher experience. It’s frustrating to search on a phone and land on a page that’s so tiny you can’t accurately click the links without pinching and zooming and scrolling to find the right text or links."

Here's how the search results currently look:

Sites that are deemed "mobile friendly" will appear higher in the results, which could mean disaster for your business if your audience is is a mobile one.

How do you get the Mobile-friendly label on your website pages?

Google said it depends on if Google Bot detects the following criteria:
  • Avoids software that is not common on mobile devices, like Flash
  • Uses text that is readable without zooming
  • Pages size content to the screen so users don’t have to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Places links far enough apart so that the correct one can be easily tapped

To see if your site is mobile ready, you can use Google's Mobile-Friendly Test site.

If you already have a site and Webmaster Tools, you can get a full list of mobile usability issues across your site using the Mobile Usability Report.

Resolving these issues may be as simple as a text change to your robots file, or as significant as a redesign to make your site responsive to mobile devices.

How will this impact my site?

This all depends on your current organic search traffic via mobile device, your audience and your competition.

The worst-case scenario is that all of the sales-driven organic search traffic via mobile devices disappears instantly when the change happens.This probably won't happen, but you may feel a significant loss.

Start by analyzing the affected traffic and sales today and determine the real impact of losing it all. Remember, filter the visits (and sales) so that the data only contains organic search-driven traffic via a mobile device. Then you can determine the impact to your business, or your sales if that traffic disappeared completely on April 21.

If you don't currently have much mobile traffic, then getting mobile-friendly will only improve your ranking and may draw in more customers who previously haven't found you on their mobile devices.

Spending time perfecting your website's key words? Don't.

Monday, March 16, 2015

I regularly encounter clients and even other web designers who are working hard to perfect the meta keywords for their website in search of the ultimate SEO.

It's usually quite a shock when I tell them:

Search engines no longer use keyword meta tag data to rank or search websites.

In fact, more often than not, keyword metadata could even harm your search ranking since sites like Bing use keyword data as a spam signal.

According to Google way back in September 2009:
"Our web search disregards keyword metatags completely. They simply don't have any effect in our search ranking at present.  About a decade ago, keyword meta tags quickly became an area where someone could stuff often-irrelevant keywords without typical visitors ever seeing those keywords. Because the keywords meta tag was so often abused, many years ago Google began disregarding the keywords meta tag."

So does this mean metatags are dead?

No, not at all. Ranking in Google these days is more to do with relevance, reputation and popularity  than meta tag optimisation, but meta tags, when used properly can still be useful in a number of areas not with just ranking pages.

The metatag formula is to match the Page Title to the Meta Description and the Page Content. Make sure that the title and description reflect the actual content of the page. Remember, you're trying speak to human visitors, not search index bots.

In addition, there are other metadata that Google and other search engines pay attention to such as mobile information and rich snippets (microdata).

Content is King

As I've always said and will keep saying, "Content is King".  If your page is rich with relevant data, the search engines will use it. Quality and uniqueness of content is what wins.

But what if I have a store that sells, for example, shoes, how do I compete with all of the other stores that sell shoes if my unique keywords don't matter?
This is a question we get often. This is where your thinking must change and where you need to focus your marketing on something unique to your store.

For example, the old way was to load your meta information with items such as "shoes, shoe store, great shoes, new shoes, air jordans, adidas, online shoes", etc.

With the new formula, concentrate on what is on the page. So if you offer free shipping or sell a unique brand of shoes, put that in the description metatag:

"Free shipping on online shoes, clothing, and more! 365-day return policy, over 1000 brands, 24/7 friendly customer service.

Then be sure those words appear on the page's content.

Bottom line: Popularity is what the search engines like

Yes, it's true. The search engine game is now a popularity contest - not a technical one. In addition to relevant, rich content and good structured data, your marketing focus should be on your reach. Get the word out, get on the (oh no!) social networks. The more "popular" sites your on, the more popular and relevant the search engines think you are. It's hard work and takes time... but it's free!