For anyone interested in learning more about how a search engine decides what results to serve up for a given search query then Google has released this simple overview video, if you’ve no understanding of indexing and algorithms then this is an easy non tech introduction.
Have a website? You should apply Schema Markup.
Why? schema.org is a powerful optimisation technique which will help search engines to understand what the data on your website actually means. It applies structure to your data and content, allowing search engines to display featured (or rich) snippets.
Working with local businesses, we’ve tested quite a few Schema Markup features and want to share three of our favourite schema tricks.
If you visit schema.org/LocalBusiness you’ll find a number of properties you could apply within your Schema script. You can get quite specific with the type of LocalBusiness you have with a range of business categories to choose from. Here’s a small selection: AutomotiveBusiness, EmploymentAgency, FinancialService, FoodEstablishment, HealthAndBeautyBusiness, HomeAndConstructionBusiness.
You can include a vast range of information about your business, from your logo, opening hours, to awards and even vatID if you really wanted to. To get you started, we’ve provided some basic Schema Markup we’ve tried and tested – You’re welcome!
FAQ’s provide valuable content that search engines want to understand, whereby they can deliver informative answers to users. Google frequently delivers rich snippets to user’s queries with a helping hand from Schema Markup.
If you have an answer to a question that you want to appear as a rich snippet, just like the one below, you’ll need to apply Schema.
You might come across a few different ways to Markup your FAQ’s, but here’s what we suggest to keep things simple:
Ever wondered how to get stars next to your listing on Google’s search? You’ve guessed it; Schema. This could possibly be our favourite use of Schema Markup, but there’s no guarantee it’s going to display… Not ideal.
If you want a shot at displaying your ratings you’ll have to follow Google’s Guidelines including:
- Refer clearly to a specific product or service
- Reviews should be readily available to users
- Ratings should be used with a 5-point scale
- Reviews must be sourced directly from users, not from other sites
As always, there are a number of properties you can display within your Markup, which can be found on schema.org/AggregateRating. In its simplest form, you should include:
How to apply Schema
We recommend two options:
- Applying the script directly to your webpage using Microdata to Markup content you’ve displayed.
- Using Tag Manager with JSON-LD script.
You’ll find many examples of the two scripts on the schema.org website, luckily there are also many free tools which will help you to write the code.
After you apply the code make sure you check your work with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool!
Getting the hang of Schema Markup
Like most code, there’s a bit of getting used to it required. The wrong placement of a comma or choice of property type will result in an error. Once you get the hang of it, we know you’ll thank us later. After all, there’s nothing more exciting for us SEO’s and website owners than seeing improvements in your search engine ranking performance or content appearing as rich snippets.
What an interesting year in SEO 2017 is already proving to be! So far we’ve seen a lot of changes.
From the jokingly named Google Fred update to the increased dominance of local and personalised search, to our faster than ever push into a mobile-only world. Then there’s the speed of voice search adoption.
But there’s much more coming.
Here are my Top 5 trends to watch for the remainder of 2017. All are interconnected and cannot be viewed in isolation. Nothing in SEO operates in its own separate silo.
AI and RankBrain
Google’s RankBrain and algorithmic machine learning continues to dominate.
Ever since the Hummingbird update, Google’s emphasis on semantic search is never-ending and evolving at a tremendous pace.
Google even took the unusual step of confirming that RankBrain was the third most important ranking factor after links and content in 2016. This importance has only increased throughout the latter half of 2016 and into 2017.
Having moved on from its days of poetry and reading romantic novels, Google’s AI technology is getting better by the day.
It’s very hard to optimise for RankBrain.
It’s so all-encompassing and fast-moving that only true quality will dominate SERPs (search engine results pages). Which is great.
UX (user experience), CTRs (click-through rates), aiming for the ‘long click’ and the resulting engagement metrics should be high on your watch list.
The increasing importance of personal branding
The web is about people. It’s about us.
So that means having an outstanding About Us page; having a description of who you are; and a statement on just what makes you stand out from the competition. These are essential.
You need to build a personal brand as a core strategy for SEO. To establish trust.
Pictures and especially videos will be a central focus for Google for the remainder of 2017 – and well into the future. Having a team video and/or personalised photographs is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity these days.
If you show yourself as an approachable and friendly person, visitors will trust you much more readily. This will drive ever more traffic and conversions to your website.
Even social media platforms such as Facebook have been honing their algorithms in favour of personal posts (as opposed to brand posts).
In the future more businesses will choose the personal approach to gain success.
User Experience Optimisation (UEO) and Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
To a varying degree, user experience has always been important to SEO. Google ranks sites that are properly set up for mobile devices, that load quickly and where users spend a long time on a page.
This year we will likely see even more focus on user experience, especially on mobile devices. So focus on the traffic you already have to offer people much more than they expect.
Page depth, time-on-site, CTRs, and pogo-sticking are all things to work on.
If you offer true value you will notice the difference and soon know the full benefits of your efforts.
Personal digital assistants will become more sophisticated
Thanks to personal digital assistants the opportunity for new types of search and more advanced forms of conversational queries is huge.
Excellent tools such as Cortana and Siri have enhanced our user experience, made our lives easier and massively increased the number of verbal searches and enquiries.
For the rest of the year, we’ll see these tools become even more smoothly polished and capable of offering even more useful features. And that means excellent new ranking opportunities that have to be brought into play.
Voice search has the potential to really shake up the SEO industry.
The need for speed: a fast-loading user experience
It’s no secret that speed really matters.
Research has shown slower loading web pages are associated with higher bounce rates, and up to 40 percent of visitors are likely to abandon your site if it loads in longer than just three seconds.
Speed will be of even more importance in the coming year. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) pages help and will be of increasing importance in the future.
There are so many other interesting technologies on the horizon as well – such as HTTP/2 and Google’s new open source JPEG encoder Guetzli, which are just two to keep a keen eye on.
Knowing who your customer is and what they want is the big change this year. Not just with SEO, it’s where the entire digital strategy will be directed.
You need to meet, match and exceed searcher’s expectations. To achieve this you have to understand your target audience better than ever before.
Google’s aim is to provide the most relevant website to the search entered.
Going big on word count is not working as well as it used to, not when short videos and images can be so much more attractive. Done well, they can deliver what you want to say and what customers want to know much quicker.
So, keep it simple! Give users what they want, let the search engines do their job – and it will all fall into place.
In 2017 it’s time to focus on providing true value.
The layout of Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages) has changed dramatically over the years. With maps, videos, images, featured snippets, the Knowledge graph, news and various personal suggestions all claiming their place, the first page of Google’s SERPs is now almost unrecognisable.
As marketers, one of the biggest shakeups we’ve seen this year is the increasing real estate given to paid search.
In February of 2016, Google announced (after years of testing) that paid search ads will no longer appear on the right hand side of the SERPs and that for ‘highly commercial’ terms, they’ll show an additional ad at the top, thereby increasing the space given to paid advertising from three places to four.
Paid search ads that didn’t make the top four places were moved to the bottom of the page. This meant that for some ‘highly commercial’ queries, you could see no less than seven paid search ads, which severely limited the number of organic possibilities.
The reasoning behind this shift was fairly sound and understandable. With the explosion of mobile usage and the corresponding local signals, Google wanted to standardise the listings across devices.
For many brick-and-mortar businesses, this meant a renewed interest and push for better local listings. The reward for appearing in the local three-pack was never more attractive. With the local listings appearing just beneath the top paid ads and above the normal organic ones. In essence, jumping into first place for anything organic.
More recently, and somewhat more controversially, Google has started to offer paid listings in the local finder as well, reached after clicking “More places” from a local three-pack in the main Google search results.
This is yet another piece of prime real estate that has been sold to advertisers.
What does this mean for organic listings?
Before answering this question, it’s important to understand the reasoning behind these changes.
Search engines and Google, in particular, have become increasingly good at understanding user intent. If I’m searching to buy a laptop and search the exact laptop model with the words ‘buy’ or ‘purchase,’ Google knows and understands this intention, and being a strictly commercial one, they’d most likely present me with a series of paid search ads.
Is this a bad user experience? The answer, in most cases, is no. I’m looking to buy a laptop, I know what kind of laptop I want to buy and at this stage in my decision making process I just want to be presented with options of where to buy it. My intent is purely commercial and transactional. Displaying a series of paid ads is more relevant to me and provides better performance for advertisers. In many ways, a win-win situation.
It’s the informational ‘Micro-moments’ that SEO strategy should be attempting to target. The billions of queries that are not highly commercial and offer some scope for branding and connection.
There are over 3.5 billion searches on Google a day. Over 15% of these search queries have never been seen before.
Google’s engineers now feel confident enough in RankBrain’s ability to sift through these unrecognised queries (sorting them into vectors and assigning a ‘probable’ meaning to them) that they’ve recently announced RankBrain is now used in every search. It has become the third most important ranking signal (after links and content).
As we mentioned in our article about semantic search, we’re moving away from strings to things. Towards meaning and providing true value to the user.
A combined PPC and SEO search strategy
Having a combined SEO and paid search strategy is a good way forward for many companies. Particularly for e-commerce sites.
You’d have a carefully targeted PPC campaign with different landing pages for the commercial ‘I-want-to-buy-now,’ moments and a strong organic presence for people at the informational and research stages. Rather than competing with each other, these different listings would compliment one another, reinforcing your brand and presence at every stage of the decision making process.
The path to purchase is fragmented and non-linear. More so now than ever before.
The consumer journey has been fractured into hundreds of tiny decision-making moments at every stage of the ‘buyer’s funnel’—from inspiration to purchase.
For SEO to succeed, we need to address these ‘Micro-moments.’ We need to answer people’s questions, exceed their expectations and meet them at whatever stage of the decision making process they are currently in.
As a recent study by Google concluded – you need to be there, be useful and be quick. Therein lies the key to success online.
Keyword research starts a successful online presence and marketing campaign. But what is it? How can you do it better and what does it actually mean?
What is keyword research?
Keyword research is about what people type into search engines to find what they need. It is essentially the gathering of search terms which are firstly relevant to your website and secondly that people are actually using. For example people who wish to buy a bicycle may type in the word bicycle into Google’s search box.
How do I find more information on keywords?
Google has a handy tool called Keyword Planner which you can access if you setup a Google Ads account. You can use it in different ways to give you keywords ideas and their search volume. The Keyword is the term typed into Google and Search Volume is the amount of times that keyword is typed into
Let’s run through an example. If I owned a Bicycle store and wanted to research keywords where would I start? How about the words around Bicycle? Would you target cycle, bicycle or bike? If we look at these words in Google’s keyword planner we can see the results below:
We can see in keyword planner that bike and bicycle have search volumes of 33100 and cycle has a much lower volume of 6600. What is interesting is that by also searching for the plurals bikes is also a top volume term of 40500. We might therefore think about targeting the keyword bikes more than we would cycles.
Competing for a search term like bike on its own will be extremely competitive. Let’s say our example business is actually a specialist in children’s bikes. So we need to think around the word children and bike and research the combinations of children, kids, boys and girls with the bicycle words.
|Keyword||Avg. Monthly Searches (exact match only)|
|boys mountain bikes||390|
It is interesting to see the difference between some of the plurals and how much more search volume there is around girls than boys. But what about delving deeper into what are known as long tail keywords such as a coloured girls children’s bike?
|Keyword||Avg. Monthly Searches (exact match only)|
|pink girls bike||140|
|pink kids bike||40|
|kids pink bike||40|
|pink girls bikes||20|
|pink girl bike||10|
|pink girl bikes||10|
|pink girls bicycle||10|
|pink kids bikes||10|
|pink childs bike||10|
|kids pink bikes||10|
|pink kid bike||10|
|pink kids bicycle||10|
|pink childrens bikes||10|
|kids pink bicycle||10|
|pink girl bicycle||10|
|pink kids bicycles||10|
We can see above that the keywords “pink girls bike” has the most potential traffic. By taking these journeys through the keywords we can start to build a strategy and target the keyword that has the potential to drive the most traffic.
What should I do with this information?
The information can help create the strategy for the website in terms of content, how to describe the service being offered in the most valuable way and most importantly how to drive relevant traffic to the website. For example, when creating a website you can group related keywords into categories and think about creating category pages on the website to target that specific market. In the example, we might want to think about creating a page targeting the words pink, kids, girls and bikes. By creating content that’s relevant with associated terms like pink girls bikes, this in turn will help the website rank for the shorter keyword searches “bikes” and “girls bikes” where the larger search volume is, while also obtaining high rankings for the specific long tail search. Also, by targeting the long tail keywords around pink girls bikes it might be that you are targeting people who have the intention to buy rather than people who are just researching the topic.
In summary keyword research essentially helps create and refine a website to market itself to the people searching for it. If you know how people are searching for what your business provides, you have found your market.
Search engines are changing and they’re evolving faster than ever before. Have you ever felt that Google knows exactly what you are looking for? That you are being prompted with suggestions that are eerily close to what you have in mind? Sometimes even before you’ve finished typing your query. How does Google understand your thoughts so well? How can it possibly know what you’re looking for? Welcome to the world of semantic search.
Semantic search is one of the most exciting developments of our time. It is also one that is levelling the playing field between large and small businesses. Now, even small businesses have a place in the search results – a place where they can attract visitors and triumph.
What is Semantic Search?
The word semantics comes from Ancient Greek and involves the study of meaning. Attempting to find meaning is nothing new on the internet.
Indeed, Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the modern web, originally coined the term semantic web, which is defined as “providing a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries.”
Although the theory and concepts behind semantic search are fairly easy to grasp, their very mechanism and the mathematics behind them are incredibly complex.
We are moving from a web of things to a web of people. From strings to things. Gone are the days where you can hide behind a large faceless portal and expect to build trust over the Internet.
The Knowledge Graph
The knowledge graph is often referred to as the brain behind semantic search.
Amit Singhal, the head of the Google Search team, retired last week. His replacement is John Giannandrea, none other than the man behind the Knowledge Graph, the recent Rankbrain update, the so-called Hummingbird algorithm and most of Google’s artificial intelligence initiatives in the last few years. With John around, AI and semantics will undoubtedly remain the major focus for Google.
John, like most techies, is a huge Star Trek fan. Anyone who’s ever seen an episode of Star Trek cannot help but be impressed by the computer onboard the Starship Enterprise – you know, the one that responds to voices, and that gets increasingly intelligent over time. The computer that ‘understands’ what you are asking it.
This is exactly where Google is headed. The search engine takes our queries, tries to understand the words, and delivers the same results a human would – the same results a friend would give you. And not just any friend, a close friend. A friend who understands you, who knows your current and previous locations, who knows your tastes and preferences and most importantly, knows your intentions.
Central to this new understanding is the Knowledge Graph.
The knowledge graph uses fuzzy logic, which was first identified in the 1960s by Dr. Lotfi Zadeh, professor emeritus of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. Fuzzy logic is a way to introduce “degrees of truth” into mathematics. It ascribes a mathematical value to logical variables, rather than a straight binary “yes” or “no.” Unlike traditional boolean logic, fuzzy logic allows Google to introduce probabilities into its calculations.
Each time you query Google, the results appear via semantic search, in the form of a list of possible answers. Google attempts to interpret the meaning of every query, by using all the information it has on you (for example, your location, search history, preferences, associations, friendships, your friends’ reviews, shopping history, the content of your emails and much more). It does all of this in order to give you answers based on your intent. Something which Google has become surprisingly good at over the years.
What can small businesses do?
When you think of semantics, you have to think about transparency and understanding. Semantics is all about you and the reasons you started your business in the first place. It’s about putting your passion on display and showing visitors what makes you stand out. What makes you special? And more importantly, why should visitors give you their business? First and foremost it’s about building trust.
Semantic search is so all encompassing and vast, that any attempts to manipulate it are doomed to failure. As a small business with limited time and resources, concentrate on the basics. Having a carefully optimised website, with a strong local presence and valuable content. Content that is going to help people. Content that is going to answer their questions and built trust.
It’s of little surprise that one of the most visited pages on any website is usually the ‘about us’ page. More so for e-commerce sites. People relate to people, they want to know about the people behind the site. A carefully thought out and written about us page goes a long way to building confidence.
Key Points for Small Businesses to keep in mind
- What makes you special?
- How do you stand out from your competitors?
- Which qualities do you have that will make people trust you?
- Think about your target demographics, the people you are trying to reach, your potential customers, what kinds of questions might they have? How are you addressing these questions?
- Are you addressing these questions using the language your target audience would use?
- Identify the problems that your business will help solve. How will you go about solving them? What solutions do you offer?
It is now more important than ever to provide real value to the end user. To take full advantage of semantic search, we have to go back to our basic values.
In other words, we have to provide value, answer visitors’ questions and exceed their expectations. The goal is to establish trust and build lasting relationships. As Tim Berners-Lee also stated, “The Web does not just connect machines, it connects people.”
For further reading on semantic search I recommend any books or articles written by David Amerland, his small business easy checklist and for a more technical (Google patent themed) reading list – seobythesea.
“I don’t understand why my website doesn’t rank for my main terms, it’s so much better than all those other rubbish websites that Google is ranking instead.” Of course, everyone believes that their website is the best but far too often we come across websites that just can’t seem to rank at all, no matter what you do to them or how good their content may be.
One of the toughest parts of the role of an SEO is not to get a website ranking but having to try to explain to a client why his/her website isn’t ranking and is unlikely to; the worst part being that sometimes we just don’t really know the exact reason.
Google uses over 200 different signals to evaluate where pages should rank for a given search term. Additionally it frequently rolls out additional algorithms, such as Panda, Penguin, PayDay Loans to target particular spam or search quality issues. There are so many factors that come into play to make a page rank that sometimes it’s not easy to tell exactly why one page ranks better than another.
What we often tend to find is that some domains are untrusted and these are unlikely to be able to rank highly in Google search results in the short-term, no matter what you do. Manual and algorithmic penalties are supposed to have an expiry date but it could be years from now and most businesses can’t wait months let alone years to enjoy the benefits of good Google rankings.
We still have test websites that were penalised 4 years ago and today they are still not ranking.
Trust me, I’m not a link spammer
By far the biggest cause of lack of trust in a domain is if it has a very low quality backlink profile. This can take the form of hundreds of bookmarking links, links from low quality directories, links from other untrusted sites or a very keyword heavy anchor text profile to cite just a few examples.
When a new client comes to us with a website which has this type of link profile, which is far more common than it should be, we have to make a decision as to whether we think the website has been flagged as “untrusted” and whether it would be best to start again with a new domain.
You can run some simple tests such as optimising pages in a certain way and seeing if the corresponding change in the rankings matches expectations, but ultimately the domain may be flagged as untrusted by Google and therefore the effort to get it to rank well may far outweigh the effort required to achieve good results with a new domain.
All is not lost with a new domain
There is always a lot of resistance from businesses when it comes to changing a domain name, for various reasons, but from a search rankings point of view you can start with a new domain but you aren’t necessarily starting from scratch.
You can’t just redirect an old, untrusted domain to the new one as you will just pass across the low trust signals to the new domain. There are ways around this and it’s important to ensure that the new domain remains completely clean and independent of the old one. Changing signals that tell Google what your new website address is such as Google+, local directories, business listings, etc., will help to accelerate the ranking of the new domain.
The clean-up operation
Over the years I’ve spent huge amounts of time cleaning-up websites to get them ranking again. Cleaning up bad backlinks is very tough and although you can disavow links with Google, the process is far from guaranteed and Google can choose to accept or ignore what you put in your disavow file. The Penguin algorithm flags websites as untrusted if they have spam backlinks. The only way to recover from this is to clean up the bad backlinks and wait for Penguin to run again. Seeing as it hasn’t run for over a year that’s a huge amount of time for any business to be struggling in Google search results.
If the issue is poor quality content or too many cookie-cutter pages (this is pure Panda fodder) this can also take a long time to correct and the efforts can take even longer to realise in search results.
Time is money and going through a clean-up process is generally very time-consuming and with no guaranteed outcome.
Sometimes it’s just best to bite the bullet and start afresh…a solution also stated by John Mueller (Google engineer) in this Google+ post:
Google confirmed yesterday at a digital advertising conference that for the first time ever, more searches were being conducted from mobile devices than PCs. While they haven’t told us exactly how many searches are coming from our mobile screens, we can safely assume that it’s a pretty significant amount considering more than 100 billion search requests are processed by Google every month.
Many will have been anticipating the mobile search leapfrog for some time, so this is certainly a landmark for Google and coincides with their recent, well-publicised algorithm update. There were some informal whispers coming from Google last year that suggested mobile would soon overtake desktop searches, so it would seem confirmation hasn’t come out of the blue.
Where Is Mobile Search Most Popular?
Google cited 10 countries where mobile search is most prevalent, naming the US and Japan as two of these countries. As well as not disclosing specific search figures and the additional eight countries, Google also declined to comment on how recently the change happened. They did say that mobile queries included browser-based searches as well as those coming from Google’s mobile search apps.
Remember that Google place desktops and tablets in the same bracket, so recorded mobile search queries only ever come from our smartphones. It’s difficult to determine the specifics behind the mobile take over with very little information released, although comScore have previously released a report and graphic that shows the volume of US-based search queries on PCs, tablets and smartphones.
ComScore’s data greatly contradicts Google’s revelations, so it would seem that mobile search has either grown much faster than anticipated since these findings were published this time last year or the data is simply incorrect.
Impact Of The Mobile Changeover
What we do know is that online behaviour has changed considerably since 2007, when the first iPhone was released by Apple. This saw an influx of similar devices introduced to the market, changing the way we stayed connected and used online services. The popularity of mobile search today will certainly rock manufacturers loyal to their desktop and laptop computers.
However, Google were also affected in the past by the dramatic increase in smartphone sales, with ad prices declining to this day due to marketers being cautious over commercial messages displayed on smaller mobile screens. Google have countered this in the past, saying that ad prices have actually been rising and will continue to do so as marketers recognise the value of connecting with prospective customers through mobile-friendly advertising.
Mobile Is The Future For Marketers
These revelations have come about swiftly after the release of Google’s most talked-about algorithm update, giving the mobile-friendly algorithm a bit more colour and context. There’s no doubting the fact that mobile search is growing and smaller screens could now be exactly what marketers have to prioritise.
To find out if your site is mobile-friendly or to learn more about how Google’s latest revelation might affect you, get in touch with Artemis today.
Today’s the day Google introduces a major update that focuses on penalising sites that aren’t mobile friendly. “Mobilegeddon”, “Mobile D-Day”, whatever you want to call it, this is a pretty big deal.
This change to the mobile search algorithm is set to cause some pretty hefty ripples across the web, with websites that are not deemed mobile-friendly likely to witness a dramatic reduction in the number of visits they get.
As always, Artemis are fully aware of all the latest Google updates and algorithm changes and we’re monitoring the situation closely.
Who’s Going To Be Penalised?
It’s being dubbed “Mobilegeddon”, with major organisations including Microsoft, Wikipedia and the European Union likely to be negatively affected by Google’s changes to their search formula. It’s also the first time ever that Sky have reported a Google algorithm change, which further highlights the significance of this particular update.
In truth, anyone with a website will be anxious to find out if they are classed as mobile-friendly and you can do so by entering your web address here. Google’s mobile-friendly test analyses your URL and reports back with the results of whether your site has a mobile-friendly design or not.
The Outcome For Smaller Businesses
While Google provided site owners and webmasters with a two-month warning about the impending change, it’s highly likely that many small businesses were either unaware of today’s update or unable to finance a mobile-friendly site.
We will certainly see many sites fall away from their original positions in Google’s search rankings, so what does it mean for smaller businesses?
Google have said that “Mobilegeddon” won’t have an impact on “local pack” results.
However, local listings aren’t the only traffic drivers for businesses who also rely on neighbourhood blog posts and web pages, all of which must now be mobile-friendly.
Both business and non-business websites, who may well have worked extremely hard to brush up on quality content in the past, are likely to suffer.
This begs the question “Is mobile-friendly content more important than highly-trusted content?” It’s certainly up for debate over the coming weeks.
Mobile-Friendliness “One Of Many” Ranking Factors
A Google representative was quoted on the BBC website this morning citing mobile friendliness as “one of many” ranking factors.
“As people increasingly search on their mobile devices, we want to make sure they can find content that’s not only relevant and timely, but also easy to read and interact with on smaller mobile screens” the representative said.
Get In Touch
If you are at all concerned about your site feeling the effects of “Mobilegeddon”, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts here at Artemis Marketing. We have already helped many of our clients prepare their sites for today’s update and we will do the same for you.
Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm is released on the 21st April, so we’re interested to see what this means as far as SEO is concerned and what else can be expected.
The mobile-friendly algorithm, which Google confirmed will roll out over the course of a week, will be on a page-by-page and real-time basis. So how can you be sure if your page is going to benefit?
This is one hell of an algorithm update as far as Google are concerned, with the impact likely to be much more significant compared to the likes of Panda and Penguin. It’s no surprise that there are plenty of webmasters out there who are sitting anxiously on the edge of their seats in anticipation for the release.
A Google+ hangout that took place on Tuesday brought up the new algorithm update and a number of important questions were answered in the process. Here’s what we found out:
- There are no set degrees of mobile friendliness, which means you will be judged on whether you are mobile friendly or you aren’t. It’s as simple as that.
- The easiest way to discover whether you are currently mobile friendly is to check live mobile search results and see if you have the mobile-friendly label attached to it. You can also use the mobile-friendly testing tool to match live Google search results. Mobile usability reports in Webmaster Tools may be delayed based on crawl time.
- The algorithm will take between a few days and a week to roll out on a global scale.
So firstly, the 21st is more of a guess as the algorithm will take a few days or so to roll out. It’s not unheard of for algorithms to take a little longer than expected, so we can’t be too sure on the dates just yet.
You Are or You Aren’t
Now comes the interesting part. This is an on-or-off algorithm that works on a page-by-page basis, but you have to be mobile friendly to see any benefits. In other words, it doesn’t matter how mobile friendly your pages are.
Some of the criteria mentioned in the Google+ hangout were small font sizes, tap links being spread out and content being readable from a mobile viewpoint. However, it was also stated that there were over 200 different factors that will determine whether you are, or indeed aren’t, mobile friendly.
Are You Mobile Friendly?
The easiest way to see if you are mobile friendly is to check for a mobile-friendly label in the live mobile search results. The label confirms Google understands you are mobile-friendly.