Mike: Sup, guys!? This is #WeBuildWednesdays episode 19: How Google Thinks About SEO. For today’s episode, I brought in Eric, our Director of Search Marketing. I kind of need an expert for this one because we’re getting a little bit ingrained with the SEO stuff and Eric knows it a little bit better than I do.
How Google Thinks About SEO
Mike: You’ve probably heard agencies say all the time that they’re Google Premier Partners. We are and we’re very proud of that, don’t get me wrong. But a lot of times, there’s a little bit of compensation that comes along with being a Partner. There’s an assumption that you know what’s going to happen with SEO prior to it actually happening and that’s a little bit of a misconception. So, I’m going to turn it over to Eric here and he’s going to go over that with us.
Eric: Yes, that’s what a lot of companies will do. They’ll say they’re Premier Partners and people automatically think they have the inside scoop. But the issue with that is they don’t share anything about organic SEO. You’re kind of in the dark when it comes to that. Even when they release updates, they’re still not telling us what those updates are about.
It’s important to know that the only time we know exactly what’s happening is if you follow Think with Google, follow their search leads on Twitter, and follow some of their knowledge bars online. And that’s really the only time you’re actually getting the inside scoop, which means basically anyone can get that information.
Mike: Yeah, and with that, Google recently released a blog post on Think with Google, and the title was something along the lines of “What Google Thinks About SEO.” We’re going to break it down for you.
So, number one on that list is that for big results, you want to start small. Eric, what does that mean for us?
Start Small for Big Results
Eric: When you go into a website, you don’t need to be changing everything instantly. Start small and see what happens as you make those changes. So, there are four things that Google focuses on. First is Fast. Make sure your site is responsive and as fast as possible. Next one is Integrate. You want to make sure that when a user comes to your site, their experience is great. They won’t have trouble trying to find out how to contact you. Next is being Reliable. Make sure that your site is loading right away. You don’t have any 404 errors or website issues. And make sure you don’t get that downosaur. For those who don’t know, the downosaur is as soon as you go to a website and you see a downosaur instead of a website, that’s the game. So, no, as fun as that is, it’s not great for a reliable experience for the consumer. The last one is Engagement. You want to have something on your site that stands out from the rest that keeps people coming back. It’s beautifully designed, easy to navigate, and the experience feels natural.
Mike: All right, number two, don’t be scared of changes; embrace them. What does that mean, Eric?
Eric: When a search engine comes out and they say, “Hey you have these errors in your site,” you have to go into your search console and make sure that your Honeybuns rules and a lot of people walk and they may use no SCM reps or H reps. Those tools are great but you’re not focusing on the biggest one of them all, which is Google Search Console. They are telling you what’s wrong with your site and they’re crawling your site, giving you all the information that you need, so you really want to focus on this. Some of the big things they tell you to focus on is when a search console says, “Hey, you have these 404 errors and these AMP issues,” go in and fix them! As you fix these, it starts to have a giant increase in your SEO. Just like Google said in their blog, they even went in and updated some of their AMP pages and they saw a two-percent increase just in mobile traffic. That’s huge since about 80-percent of all traffic to your site typically comes through mobile.
Implement Structured Data
So, the biggest three things that they want you to focus on are implementing structured data. Basically what this means is that it’s an HTML code in the backend of your site that gives more information to search engines, like what your site’s about, what the images are, when you posted it, who the author is, all of that good information.
Next is implementing AMP and accelerating your mobile pages. Basically what this means is that it removes the CSS and your page is going to load instantly like this. You may notice it on your phone when you see the little circle and the lightning bolt. That’s an AMP page.
The next thing is focusing on Schema can help you fill in more featured snippets, which overall, means increased visibility. So, featured snippets. Let’s assume you’re searching for Portillo’s and you find the closest one to you. On that search page, you’ve got your Google Maps in front, you’ve got images, you’ve got a knowledge panel, and all that stuff is going to grab a consumer’s attention a lot faster than just having a link to the site.
And, for those who want to get even deeper into this, focus on the new URL inspection. I can take YoutechAgency.com, throw it in this tool, which says my page is indexed—yes or no. My page has AMP—yes or no. If your page isn’t indexed, they’ll give you a list of reasons why and how to fix it. The same thing with AMP. So, it really prepares you with all the tools you need to really get your site up and going and to really not be scared of these changes. They really are trying to help you move along and drive more traffic to the site.
Mike: See why I brought the expert?
And again, going back to number one, these are small changes. These aren’t things you’re going to do on a huge scale all at one time, because that’s going to be a little bit crazy.
Eric: That’s true! And you want to really focus on your analytics when this happens. As you’re making these changes, you can make annotations in your analytics that basically say, “On November 18th, I fixed AMP plugins.” And then you can focus the analytics for the week after and notice how much your metrics increased or decreased. You can see what you did and how that affected traffic coming to the site.
Mike: And, last but not least, the third thing is that when possible, you want to consolidate.
Consolidate When Possible
Eric: Yes. This is the biggest thing we see. Big companies will come to us and say, “Hey, well, another marketing agency can accrue a website for every single town that we service or every country we serve.” And yeah, while that may help you a little bit when it comes to organization, the biggest impact is that when you have one great website, you have a better chance of ranking. Spreading your content into six websites is only going to hurt you in the long run. Having that in one easy, fast, reliable, and engaging website is going to drive your rank up higher, making it easier for people to find your information. When you drive people out to these other sites, you’re going to lose them because they won’t be able to find their way back to your original website. So, stop trying to rank for six websites. Just try to rank for one.
Mike: Yup, and honestly, your domain authority is going to be so much higher if you’re aggregating all that information into one site. If you’re trying to split all of that authority throughout maybe five or six different sites, they’re all going to be way down, rather than one big site ranking higher.
Eric: On top of that, all six websites are probably going to try to rank for the same keywords, which isn’t good. You just need that one website that has all your backlinks and all your keywords consolidated.
Mike: Thank you, guys! This is #WeBuildWednesdays episode 19: How Google Thinks About SEO.