Google SEO seminar March 2012: summary and key learnings

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During March, Jellyfish attended an exclusive invitation-only seminar hosted in Google London, and featuring a trio of top-level Google search engineers flown in from Mountain View CA.

This SEO-focused session allowed us to hear first hand viewpoints on a range of key SEO issues, and also to engage in a lively post-presentation Q&A session.

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Google SEO seminar March 2012: summary and key learnings

  1. 1. Jellyfish POVGoogle SEO Seminar, March 2012Summary & Key Learnings12| 04| 2012© Jellyfish Online Marketing Ltd 2011
  2. 2. Jellyfish POVGoogle SEO Seminar | Summary & Key LearningsGoogle Webmaster EDU Seminar, London – March 2012During March, Jellyfish attended an exclusive invitation-onlyseminar hosted in Google London, and featuring a trio of top-levelGoogle search engineers flown in from Mountain View CA.This SEO-focused session allowed us to hear first hand viewpointson a range of key SEO issues, and also to engage in a lively post-presentation Q&A session. Attending from Google were: Jack Menzel, Director of Product Management, Search Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst Anthony Chavez, Snr Product Manager, Webmaster Tools & Rich SnippetsSession focus Best practice on use of rich snippets Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst Anthony Chavez, Snr Product Manager, Webmaster Tools & Rich SnippetsTop Three TakeawaysSounds good, so let’s take a closer look at some of our favouritefeatures and how they manifest themselves in the Google Analyticsinterface.1. Google is keen to promote the use of rich snippets. Their view isthat an improved user experience is delivered by investing data(Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS)) with knowledge (richsnippets).Cynical view: Google is extracting more content from your landingpages, encouraging users to spend more time looking at the SERPs(and eye-balling Google PPC ads).Positive view: SERPs becomes a better place to make an informeddecision, consumers have more intent when they click through,PAGE 2
  3. 3. Jellyfish POVGoogle SEO Seminar | Summary & Key Learningseveryone is happy! Regardless of your view, implementing richsnippets does deliver benefits in terms of ‘stand out’ value, and willmost likely drive better CTRs, hence more traffic, and (of course)better rankings as CTR is a known ranking signal.2. Google refused to be drawn on any questions regarding recentalgorithm changes, and whether (for example) buildingrelationships between credible people and content usingrel=author or similar would result in superior visibility. For example,they said:If you are chasing the algorithm, by definition you are losing.However, there were hints regarding the importance of people andcontent; for example:‘We want to make the web more conversational….the next evolutionof the web is from what a page is to who authored it; we want toprovide trusted content from a trusted authoritative person.’This makes total sense: as Google moves the algorithm to factor insignals related more closely to social and inter-personalrelationships, why not leverage personal credibility so that evenrespected people who are outside my social circles matter?We raised an obvious tactical question; how is personal credibilitymeasured and how significant is this to the visibility of a page?Google’s response was part of a repeated theme throughout theQ&A, ‘create a great website, with engaging content, and leave thesignals for us to figure out’….no surprise there!3. Google’s latest over-optimisation / anti-spam update wasdiscussed; no details were given on precise factors that would beevaluated. However, there was one crucial insight. Any anti-spamviolations – i.e. when a site is de-listed – are based on manualreview by Google, and are not ‘triggered’ by the algorithm. Whatdoes this mean? Well, simply that the latest algorithm must bedesigned to ‘triage’ spamming behaviour pretty well, well enoughso that decisions on potentially millions of sites across the web canPAGE 3
  4. 4. Jellyfish POVGoogle SEO Seminar | Summary & Key Learningsbe made by humans. In other words, expect Google to get muchbetter at automatically detecting sites with artificial link profilesand reducing their visibility, but not de-listing from SERPs. Another‘goodbye look’ for traditional link building.Themes / Learnings in more detailA number of details emerged from both the presentations and theensuing Q&A sessions: Given the increasing richness / complexity of informationpresented online, ‘old-school’ on page optimisation (for example,focusing on page titles, H tags etc.) will not be enough to ensurethat content responds effectively to search queries; contentrequires deeper layers of ingrained relevancy to ensure thatconsumers search demands are being met. For example, a search result that combines product features,location requirements and an inherent quality variable e.g. ‘threebedroom luxury apartment near Chelsea’ would be more useful toconsumers if enhanced with page-level mark up to confirm locationdetails e.g. post code. Hence, Google are keen to promote the use of structured markup, and resulting rich snippets. Why rich snippets? Here’s asummary of benefits: 1. Drawing a users attention to your relevant result 2. Providing instant information as related to their query 3. Increasing click-through rates and lessen the amount of bounces due to searchers not finding the content they were looking for The relationship between people and content was a recurringtheme; Google is keen to use personal authority as a signal ofcontent quality, now best signified by use of the rel=author richsnippet attribute Review you content, and confirm where rich snippets can beapplied. The current list of supported themes is quite broad, andconsists of:  AuthorshipPAGE 4
  5. 5. Jellyfish POVGoogle SEO Seminar | Summary & Key Learnings  Breadcrumbs  Events  Music  Organizations  People  Products  Recipes  Review ratings  Reviews  Software applications  Supported software application types  Videos: Facebook Share and RDFa Reviews, recipes and people present clear opportunities formany brands Brand can now configure Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) toalert them via email when a Webmaster guidelines violation (e.g.spam) is detected GWT can also show Google +1 metrics, specifically thedifferences in CTR between +1 and non +1 pagesSummary and next stepsIf you’d like more information on how to implement rich snippets,or how best to set up and use GWT, do get in touch, we’d be happyto help. And in the meantime, we’ll keep you posted on any furtherupdates re. search quality and algorithm changes.And in the meantime, a selection of our POVs is available to viewand download athttp://www.slideshare.net/JellyfishOnlineMarketingPAGE 5

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