Good morning and Happy Monday, .COers! I’m here to bring you another SEO blog post to satisfy your craving for Internet marketing knowledge. If you haven’t checked out any of our other SEO blog posts, make sure you read our SEO in a Week posts, each of which focuses on specific areas of SEO and tips to help you apply SEO best practices to your own website. We’ve written posts on important SEO topics such as SEO-friendly Design and Development, Link Building, On Site SEO, Keyword Research and Content and Social Media.
As you may well know by now, we are all about bringing you tactical strategies of all kinds that you can use to improve your overall success. We love our .COmmunity and want you all to succeed! That’s why we’re bringing you breaking industry news which is also important to your overall success.
Last week, I was lucky enough to attend SMX Advanced, the advanced SEO conference put on every year by Search Engine Land. I not only learned about the most cutting-edge and valuable SEO tactics, but was also kept abreast of the latest industry news, straight from the mouths of the search engines themselves: Google’s Matt Cutts and Bing’s Duane Forester. But I won’t keep what I’ve learned to myself – I’m sharing my top SMX takeaways with you! So, read on for the key takeaways that I left Seattle with.
Search Engine News and Updates
This year, SMX Advanced attendees were informed of the latest industry updates, from recent algorithm changes to what’s coming in the immediate future. Below you will find some of the most important takeaways.
- Google Site Speed Penalty will be coming to mobile sites-Site speed was one of the most recurring themes this year, and Google announced that a penalty is coming down the road for slow mobile sites. Google has already rolled out changes which hit slow desktop sites, but now will officially rolling out a change which will rank slow mobile sites lower in the results.
- Google Payday Loans algorithm change just rolled out-Google has officially rolled out a change in its algorithm which specifically targets spammy queries, such as “payday loans” and “cheap Viagra”. This rollout is part of Google’s continuing fight on spam. Results which rank for these type of queries will be examined. This rollout is international, effecting around .03% of US queries, with a slightly higher percentage for other countries.
- Google Panda rollouts happening every month-In other algorithm change news, Matt Cutts announced that the Google Panda algorithm change, which already has multiple iterations, will now be rolling out updates every month. Panda focuses on duplicate content issues, and has aimed to return search engine results which are unique and of higher quality.
Important Tactics and Strategies
- Site Speed-Site speed was not only mentioned throughout the conference sessions as applying to mobile, but also to desktop sites. Three years ago, Google announced that site speed is a factor for ranking results. Now, not only has it been announced that a an algorithm change is coming to mobile sites, but it was implied that more changes will be coming down the road to desktop sites. 47% of internet users expect a site to load in 2 seconds, yet the average mobile site loads in 7 seconds. So, what can you do? First of all, check out how fast your site loads. Tools such as Firebug with Page Speed are a great way to find this out and also provide you with specific recommendations about how to improve the speed.
- Mobile User Experience-On a related note, another theme was the overall user experience of mobile sites. Not only is your mobile experience important to your users, but also to search engines. Things you can do: thoroughly test your mobile site, make sure pages correspond directly with your desktop pages, and don’t lead your users to the same page no matter what they are looking for. Make the experience streamlined, quick to load and user-friendly. Remember to not only test your site on mobile, but also on tablets such as iPads and Kindle Fires.
- Google Plus-Google Plus was also mentioned throughout the conference, and will most likely become more important down the road. Curious as to what you can do? Well, to start with, register for Google Plus and start becoming active. Build up your circles and actively post content. Add the Google Plus button to your content so your users can easily share. For more tips, check out our Social Media blog post.
- Google AuthorRank–Google AuthorRank was another theme brought up throughout the conference. Never heard of AuthorRank? AuthorRank applies to the status of a site content author as related to that author’s Google Plus profile. You can add your profile to your site so that your content stands out and your users know you wrote it. When a profile is connected, then it is likely that the corresponding search result will showcase your photo and Google Plus info. There are many advantages to this, including the fact that search engine users are more likely to click on a search engine result featuring an author they find authoritative.
- User Experience-As usual, search engine reps from both Google and Bing brought up the importance of user experience and making sure your site is not only easy for your visitors to navigate, but also a pleasure to experience. Aspects of user experience include clear navigation structures, fast load times, valuable content and a visually pleasing design. For tips on building an SEO-friendly site, check out our post on SEO-friendly Design and Development.
- Social Media-In addition to Google Plus, social media strategies were discussed throughout the conference. Google’s Matt Cutts emphasized the importance of long-term social media, instead of short-term. What does this mean? Well, mostly that it’s not just about the number of Likes and Follows, but the overall activity and the value of the content you share. In a nutshell, make sure you are registered on all the major sites, actively involved and sharing content your users find valuable, and making it easy for them to share it. Read my Social Media blog post for more tactical strategies on how to beef up your social strategy.
- Rich Snippets-There was an entire session devoted to rich snippets and microdata. To simplify this advanced and complicated subject, these topics apply to customizing your search engine results to include things like videos, reviews, offers and breadcrumbs. These type of search results can include click-through rate and improve your branding. Not for the faint of heart, implementing microdata is a complicated endeavor and should only be attempted by an experienced developer who is familiar with these tactics. To read more about microdata, check out the schema,org site.
To condense the plethora of information and data that was shared, here is a cheat sheet for you which even further sums up the top takeaways I walked away with:
- Improve your site speed
- Become more active in social
- Focus on user experience
- Build great, unique content
- Don’t forget about technical SEO
- Closely monitor what works and what doesn’t, and adjust your site accordingly
- Keep an eye on how your search engine results appear in search engines, and optimize/personalize accordingly
I hope I’ve provided you with ways you can make sure your site is SEO-friendly according to the most up-to-date news and themes. In addition to reading our past SEO posts, be sure to sign up for our Membership Program. This program allows you to receive all kinds of great perks and benefits, including an hour-long SEO consultation with yours truly. Keep visiting the .CO blog for more SEO posts, as well as helpful tips of all kinds!