This Week In Search: Season 2 Episode 23

Introductions:

The panel this week included Steve Bonin, David Harry, Steve Plunket, Doc Sheldon, Terry Van Horne, Kevin Doory, Katherine Parsons, Blair Urquat and Bill Slawski who are either members of the SEO Training Dojo or Friends of the Dojo. We would like to thank them for joining the hangout (some were in and out) and  for sharing!! Checkout the highlights, T’s thoughts and show notes for links to posts the panel discussed and the highlights which “roughly” give the time where the highlight occurs in the podcast.

This week the panel discussed Speed of site as a ranking factor with a Mobile First Index; Mobile First Index and Mobile Friendly Design; SSL as a ranking factor started a discussion about privacy and a webmasters RIGHT to collect some info; Flat Architecture and Click Depth; SSL migration; SEO’s should become Video Marketers post by Google and more SEO Tips.

Highlights:

Introductions….
12:45 Speed of site as a ranking factor: Bill shared about finding AMP Pages in desktop results so it seems that the Mobile First Index may be influencing desktop.

17:35 Mobile First Index and Mobile Friendly Design: At this point the site speed debate morphed into a discussion on the limitations of WordPress THEMES to use friendly Mobile design and how Google MAY use speed as ranking factor more with Mobile First Index.

26:15 SSL as a ranking factor:
started a discussion about privacy and a webmasters RIGHT to collect some info

31:28 Flat Architecture and Click Depth: Dave started the discussion on flat architecture and click depth. The discussion started with the fact that many SEO’s confuse architecture with URL structure. Terry discussed how HUB page or HUB design is one way to guarantee 3 clicks from SERP to task fulfillment.

44:00 SSL migration: discussion was started by Steve Plunket sharing that it took about 2 weeks to index and bounce back in rankings.

44:30 The SEO’s should become Video Marketers post by Google: The consensus was that there was brand lift from banner advertising etc. Terry added that there is also a lot of benefit from videos such as better conversion especially for touchy feely products videos should improve conversion. Dave and Terry went on to discuss how they used Video to enter SERPs. This technique works very well in blended SERPs. Next this discussion moved to how video sites like YouTube are the preferred search destination for teens, tweens and younger people. Illustrating younger people are better targets and video popularity trenss will only likely to improve. Steve asked how we get clients to buy in. Terry and Dave made the point that the expectations of people using YouTube are different than people watching a commercial on TV. Make it informative was the consensus.

T’s Thoughts:

Speed of site as a ranking factor is a controversial topic for SEOs and you’ll likely see that debate heat up as the Mobile First index is rolled out! Using the site speed metric as ranking factor makes far more sense for a mobile first index. The fact this is rolling out slowly with alerts to webmasters when it occurs could mean that Google is running some sort of program to establish a “baseline” Quality Score for the mobile version of a site. The rollout of the Mobile First Index would seem to be a similar situation to Panda and Penguin where we saw these updates rolled out slowly. If that is the case be ready for considerable flux as new layers are added to the algo using data from machine learning.

John Mueller recently posted in Social Media that incremental improvements to site load could be beneficial to rankings which would make sense if site speed is part of the Quality Score. IMO, Quality Score is also where Google uses machine learning extensively to gain insights into what to add to these updates to algos like Penguin and in particular Panda.

My thoughts, and the consensus of many on the panel is that responsive design does not necessarily mean it is Mobile friendly and IMO, a Mobile First Index means that SEOs now need to access the affects of Mobile design not only Google but users who increasingly use our sites on a smartphone! Smartphone usage is only going to increase so it’s time to review our responsive design and access the impact of resizing large images on the fly using height and width instead of providing the appropriately sized image for the device, forms where design breaks on Mobile etc.

SSL just don’t get me started… life’s too short! Just another way for the EU to POSSIBLY indirectly tax the world. I think it’s a joke that people believe the EU will try and invoke their stupid laws on small North American businesses. I think a webmaster deserves to know how a user is using their site so they can improve it. GDPR is just more indirect taxation BS from the EU! Those who think they will prosecute US and Canadian small businesses when those stupid laws are not applied in their jurisdiction… there’s a saying about sharp tools and toolboxes, IMO, it applies here. It’s a sort of scare mongering!

Maybe my feelings about this are influenced from a similar situation in the past. I heard the same BS when accessibility laws were passed in the US about a decade ago. Yet to hear of any Canadian company being sued or any sort of litigation… those selling it were implying it was a sure thing. It is no surprise to me that ambulance chasing lawyers in the US are suing people based on these old out dated laws…that’d be par for the course wouldn’t it?

As to logs infringing on people’s privacy, personally… it’s worked for over 25 years because IP addresses change and there is no identity info transfer in an IP (which could have several other users using the same IP)…. and the only way to provide any PERFECT protection for peoples privacy is to instruct them to unplug the modem/internet cuz if someone is looking to sniff IP’s it won’t be at a website with no transactions! That is the last place they’d be looking to do it from!! It’s overkill in epic proportions! I understand as soon as a website is collecting ANY info SSL should be used.

I won’t even go into how confusing it must be to newbies who see Google saying site speed and SSL are ranking factors. One directly affects the other negatively ie: sites slow down on SSL! Personally, Google’s ads are the slowest element to load on most pages hence they want site speed! SSL sites makes it easier to manage the Google analytics scripting and deters remote scripting of the script. Both of these factors affect webmasters negatively and benefit Google. Google calling these ranking factors IMO, is a stretch! They don’t work like any other ranking factor I can remember today!

Flat architecture has been the basis for my architecture design from day 1… even before I ventured into SEO. The reason? Simple! Usability and enhanced navigation. On large sites achieving 3 click task fulfillment is only possible through a flat architecture. Basically….. main navigation contains top categories. Categories should, at the very least, contain all sub categories. I would also include specials, closeouts, product reviews and any related posts that enhance the sale/close usually chosen through category of the posts. Sub category pages have all the products in the sub with links to related subs like drum accessories linked to from. So as an example for drums… they’d be in the Percussion category, the drums subcat would link to the drum accessories, foot pedals, cymbals etc. and the subcats listed on drums link back to drums in both breadcrumbs and in the copy. Also on the drums page would be links to brands, however, I don’t always link to all brands in a category because sometimes the number of sub categories and brands can overwhelm the user and they are unable to make any choice!

Here’s the Hangout Video:

Show Notes and Links
Some we may not have discussed but are good to see anyway!

The Hosts

iTunes and the Dojo Radio iPhone App!