Matt Ware kicked off his event by posing the single question Google constantly asks itself while trying to improve its services, “what are our users looking for”.
How many of us look at our websites the same way Google looks at them, through the eyes of our users?
Over the course of the morning, Matt emphasised that we can only begin to optimise our online content once we take that step back and look at our websites objectively.
Are our users searching for links to authoritative sites, original content or quality engaging content?
As Head of Performance at FIRST consultancy, Matt bought over 16 years experience in Digital to the table with a talk aiming to cover all things SEO, from:
- How to set up our own SEO project
- To on-site content & technical considerations
- And off-site hacks.
For us, the two main points that stood out from yesterday’s presentation was that 2017 is the year of “quality content” and mobile first indexing.
Google now measures “quality content” via user engagement metrics. The dwell time, bounce rate and average time spent on site by your users all factor into how Google will rank you this year.
Matt suggested a number of techniques to increase our user engagement metrics.
Just briefly, these included:
- Relevant content based upon the query made by the searcher
- User generated content and photos
- Well formatted & readable text
- Hero images
- And our personal favourite (because we do a lot of it here at Aeona) Videos!
Seriously, Video is killing it!
Check out this article we published last month if you still need convincing… Also, our last event focused on how we can all start producing our own video content for less than $500 dollars. Our presenter was kind enough to live stream his talk, so you can watch that
Also, our last event focused on how we can all start producing our own video content for less than $500 dollars. Our presenter, Moby Siddique from Redpandas Digital, was kind enough to live stream his talk, so you can watch that here.
Matts examples of quality content are all SEO factors that we can easily control on our own websites. Matt suggested that we all take a moment to audit our content and optimise it to increase user engagement.
Mobile First Indexing
Search is currently experiencing a power shift, with the majority of website visits made within the last few years moving from desktop to mobile.
Googles search index has duly reacted to this shift. Late last year Google released a press statement outlining 2017 as the year they will roll out mobile first indexing to match their user’s experience.
This move will solve a previous issue for Google, namely that if a search is being made on mobile but is indexed via desktop certain features aren’t properly optimised and may be missing, leading to a poor user experience.
In Matt’s experience common desktop to mobile optimisation issues are:
- No category pages on mobile sites, as opposed to numerous category pages found on Desktop.
- Too much thin content. This is the equivalent of “snack” content. Content that was designed to be easily consumable for mobile users in the past, but now affects engagement rates due to a lack of quality engaging content compared to Desktop devices.
- And navigation issues, where navigating around the mobile site proves to be less intuitive and take more time than it would on a Desktop.
Matts presentation was an in-depth exploration of the ins and outs of what Google looks for when indexing and ranking our websites online and on mobile that I cannot possibly do justice to with this write-up alone.
So if you’d like to sink your teeth into some of the more technical aspects from Matts presentation check out the video of his talk with the accompanying slides.
P.S Here’s an extra resource if you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to work through.