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Survive and Take Advantage of SEO Changes in 2019 - WordCamp Hamilton


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Does it feel like keeping up with SEO for your WordPress site has been a wild ride this year? Struggling to decide which things to pay attention to and tackle next?

Let’s get clear on the implications of the important changes in SEO over the past year… And build some plans for
how to benefit from them!

Published in: Marketing
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Survive and Take Advantage of SEO Changes in 2019 - WordCamp Hamilton

  1. 1. SEO is Evolving Faster Than Ever How to survive and take advantage of all the recent changes #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  2. 2. Paul Thompson I’m a consultant doing SEO and web marketing since 2002 People pay me to help turn their websites into marketing platforms WordPress since 2009 Find me: @thompsonpaul
  3. 3. Does it feel like keeping up with SEO has been a wild ride this year? Struggling to decide which things to pay attention to and tackle next?
  4. 4. Don’t Freak Out ! #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  5. 5. Don’t be this guy either #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  6. 6. Let’s understand the important changes in SEO over the past year… And build some plans for how to benefit from them! #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  7. 7. Mobile Voice Search Content Quality - Algo Changes Changes to Essential Tools Schema Local Search
  8. 8. Mobile
  9. 9. Mobile First Index In the past year, Google has moved heavily toward understanding and assessing our sites through the eyes of a mobile user. #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  10. 10. How do I know if my site’s moved to the MFI? ● As of July 1 all new sites will be Mobile First indexed ● You’ll have a notification in your Google Search Console ● “Request Indexing” in GSC shows GoogleBot Smartphone #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  11. 11. Content on Mobile Don’t hide it, design for it! ● Content before design. Make your design work for your content, not the other way around. ● Create a mobile experience that’s fast, clearly laid out, and easy to navigate. ● Content in simple accordions and tabs is now indexed. #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  12. 12. Font Sizes and Touch Zones Easy to read and navigate. ● 16px minimum font size on mobile. Larger is better. ● Anchor link touch zone should be 72px square. ● Keep in mind for all anchors, including social icons and navigation elements. ● Mobile Usability in GSC assesses all pages. Spot check using Mobile Friendly Test page.
  13. 13. Google now measures speed like a mobile visitor Yup, even for your desktop Since July 2018 Speed still only a small ranking factor Only applies to some queries MAJOR factor for ALL humans #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  14. 14. Page size / Bandwidth / Speed considerations Not all mobile data is unlimited. Don’t be a punk. ● Optimise all your images. Resize and compress. Use lazy loading. Use modern formats like .webp and .svg ● Dequeue, defer, async javascript files where possible. ● Enable gzip compression, browser caching, page caching. ● For non-developers, most easily handled with quality caching plugins and/or host’s caching tools #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  15. 15. Google is getting much more specific about the kind of speed it cares about.
  16. 16. PageSpeed Insights & Lighthouse Audits ● the tools have completely changed to reflect Google’s new focus Hint: it’s not total load time! #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  17. 17. Lighthouse Audits Built directly into the Chrome desktop browser. For best results, use Mobile device mode and Applied 3G. #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  18. 18. Customise Google Analytics tracking to collect real-user data ga('create', 'UA-XXXXXXXX-3', 'auto', {'siteSpeedSampleRate': 100});
  19. 19. #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  20. 20. Voice Search & Voice Results
  21. 21. The difference... Voice Search: Voice instead of keyboard Returns list of search results Already heavily used - mostly on mobile Voice results: Responses from Amazon Alexa, Google Home etc. Dictates single search result! Usage ramping up - stats include personal info requests #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  22. 22. Voice Search - Answering questions! ● Longer, conversational queries ● How can we tell which organic traffic is from voice search? We can’t (yet). GSC doesn’t report separately. Boooo ● Formating answers well with subheaders, tables, bullet points and Schema helps Google understand better - and can deliver Rich Snippets. #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  23. 23. Voice Results - More questions! ● For Voice Results, most smaller sites will need to develop a plan over this year, not immediately critical ● Schema plays a major part in Google understanding and delivering the answers, especially for local business (Ignore Voice Schema for now) ● Be careful of Voice Results data – usage includes generic voice assistant inputs as well #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  24. 24. Content Quality Algorithm Changes
  25. 25. Recent major algo updates focus on Quality For most of us, chasing the algo is pointless. ● Google now only announces algorithm updates when there’s anything site owners can do about them. ● Best use is to get an overview of what Google focuses on. ● Risk is overreacting and making unnecessary changes. ○ E.g. meta description length, pagination #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  26. 26. Google Quality Raters’ Guidelines “They don’t tell you how the algorithm is ranking results, but they fundamentally show what the algorithm should do.” Ben Gomes, Google VP of Search Updated May 16, 2019 #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  27. 27. Update/Improve It NoIndex It Redirect It (careful!) Nuke It
  28. 28. Specific types of pages to watch for ● Thin ● Out of date, no longer relevant ● Duplicate onsite or copied ● WordPress specific - tags, categories (maybe), events and other taxonomies (e.g. date & author archives) ● Use your Analytics! Screaming Frog is terrific for this. #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  29. 29. How Do We Improve It?
  30. 30. Intent Navigational – they already know where they want to go Informational – a question that needs an answer Investigational – toward a more commercial outcome Transactional – ready to buy or decide ● Look at the SERPs for type of result people are expecting. ○ E.g. “Best compact camera” doesn’t return product pages!
  31. 31. A new approach to content and keyword research Not about keywords any more Search engines are working hard to understand content like humans do. Over 1/3 of Google search queries are 4+ words long #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  32. 32. Keywords Sticking the “right” words in the “right places” #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  33. 33. Concepts ● Topics, solutions, answers ● Rankbrain/Machine Learning understand our content like a human reader ● They understand and want to see thorough treatment of a topic or concept ● Not just a “keyword” - synonyms, semantically-related terms ● A page can rank for many (100s!) of terms #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  34. 34. How???????
  35. 35. Use the SERPS! * *Search Engine Results Pages
  36. 36. Auto Complete
  37. 37. “People also ask…”
  38. 38. “People also search for…”
  39. 39. Keywords Everywhere browser extension #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  40. 40. Queries By Page Google Search Console #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  41. 41. Answer The Public #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  42. 42. Answer The Public 1. It allows you to get to know your audience and what keeps them up at night 2. Keyword research for those conversational queries! 3. The related questions and terms contributing to content quality. 4. It helps you answer questions that can get you into Google’s featured snippets
  43. 43. WordPress SEO plugins are adapting ● Better real-language processing in Yoast SEO ● Content analysis in Yoast Pro version now accounts for semantically-related terms ● Free version better understands synonyms, similar phrases ● Much closer to how the SE’s behave, instead of being encouraged to manipulate how you write to score green lights
  44. 44. Site Architecture
  45. 45. Communicating the value of our content to search engines As sites get more complex, search engines & visitors need more help finding & properly understanding the value of our content. And the relationships between pages. #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  46. 46. ● flat - shows no relationship between pages name/ ● Helps search engines and users understand hierarchy/relationships between pages ● Use categories in your permalinks (yes, really) Internal Linking! ● To create hubs, silos, topic areas ● Make related topics cooperate, not compete
  47. 47. Crawlability & Indexing
  48. 48. 3 Stages of getting organic traffic Crawling Indexing Ranking #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  49. 49. Google Search Console New Google Search Console Coverage Report ● specifically for understanding which pages are crawled and which worthy of indexing. ● remember, the tools changes are focusing on what Google values! #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  50. 50. Crawled But Not Indexed
  51. 51. Schema Markup Data that explains data
  52. 52. 9055551212 Product ID? Phone #? Price of a massive yacht? #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  53. 53. Implementing Schema Event, Recipe, Product, Rating, People, Business, Page structure, FAQ, How-To ● Easiest is to use JSON-LD but it’s ONLY for content that is actually visible on the page! (You’ll get a penalty if it’s not.) ● Good plugins for specific types of content should also generate the necessary Schema – recipes, event calendars, ratings/reviews, FAQs ● SEO plugins like Yoast SEO & Rankmath starting to include wide range of Schema capabilities ● Properly configured Local Business Schema is ESSENTIAL for local businesses!
  54. 54. Structured Data Testing Tool #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  55. 55. Rich Snippets
  56. 56. Local Search Optimisation
  57. 57. Google My Business For local businesses, Google is pushing GMB to become your homepage/showroom Proximity is everything in Local ranking- “the 3-pack” Especially on mobile #WCHamont #SEOSanity @thompsonpaul
  58. 58. Use All Elements of your GMB Profile Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight! ● Set up your localBusiness Schema ● Description - use all 750 characters ● Posts/Events/Offers - critical SERP real estate <sneaky>Format images to look like call-to-action buttons</sneaky> ● Reviews - you need a plan to solicit them ● Adjust your Service Area if you’re a Service Area Business
  59. 59. More GMB Profile Focus Get that localBusiness Schema added to your website ● Questions and Answers - ask and answer your own! <sneaky> Get friends to upvote the important ones </sneaky> ● Photos - keep a steady stream of new, relevant images ● Regularly build new citations and clean up existing ones Your NAP (name, address, phone) must be consistent ● Continue to build content with local intent on your website - case studies!
  60. 60. Action Plan
  61. 61. Mobile Switch to mobile-focused tools for testing and analysing our sites Optimise content and usability for mobile visitors Get your TimetoContentfulFirstPaint to 2s or less
  62. 62. Voice Search Optimise for the longer, more conversational questions voice searchers typically use Use Schema and page headings structure to help search engines understand your answers better
  63. 63. Content Quality Use ideas from the Quality Raters’ Guidelines to improve quality of new pages Create a process for regularly improving/updating or removing existing content - thin/duplicate etc. Match the content to the INTENT of the visitor Shift to researching concepts/topics not keywords
  64. 64. Site Architecture Use directory structure and internal linking to build clearly defined relationships between pages - creating topic clusters or hubs Use the GSC Coverage Report to discover pages that need help getting indexed, or that should be removed for the index
  65. 65. Schema Start adding Schema markup to your page types and structure - breadcrumbs, logos, articles etc. Set up Schema for your specific content types such as products, reviews, events, and the new FAQ and How To options - and test it! Fully configure your Organisation, localBusiness
  66. 66. Local Search Fully configure ALL the features of your GMB Build a plan to ask for & respond to new reviews Create regular Posts/Events/Photos content and build out your top Questions and Answers Regularly clean up and add new quality citations Make sure you have a favicon! (as of this week)
  67. 67. Links to Resources Google PageSpeed Insights Chrome Lighthouse audits Click F12 in Chrome browser, select Audit tab in dev tools Webpagetest Google Search Console Google Quality Raters Guidelines Screaming Frog Crawler (free for approx 100 pgs) Keywords Everywhere Browser Extension Chrome Firefox Answer the Public Yoast SEO plugin Rankmath SEO plugin Structured Data Testing Rich Snippet testing tool Basic localBusiness Schema generator Advanced generator
  68. 68. Don’t Freak Out! Work the Plan Online version of this presentation SEO | Site Audits | Analytics | Conversion Optimisation | Web Marketing | Coaching Paul Thompson Buzzwords to Business SEO & Web Marketing @thompsonpaul