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I have been focusing on mobile SEO since 2005, and before that I focused on international and technical SEO. If there is one thing that I have learned by doing SEO for 15 years, it is that people - SEO’s, clients, bosses and consumers, have a hard time imagining that what they see on their screen might be different from what someone else sees on their screen - even for the same query.
We walk around in a pod of life and reality, and when it comes to mobile SEO, we carry it with us. But it is just not the case. What we see in searches on our phones is not always representative of the larger reality.
We have been doing very specialized SEO for a long time – and we don’t work for companies that don’t already have great SEO teams. We are the SEO’s for SEO’s and we specialize in answering the questions that they can’t answer.
In this presentation, I am going to show you that the data that most SEO’s base their decisions on might be leading them to the wrong conclusions, and I am going to show you what to do about it.
I believe that Mobile-First Indexing was largely about making search results more portable and cross-device capable.
As SEO’s what that means for us is that we have to be more aware of the world outside of our bubble; or at the very least, we have to make out bubbles more portable.
SEO’s love data and analytics.
They NEED it to make good decisions.
That Leads to Bad Decisions, Right?Incorrect Conclusions? Misleading Ideas?
Average Position Improved but total clicks plummeted – WHY?
To illustrate this point, I thought we could look at some client examples through the eyes of #VanLife.
So if you are on Pintrest or even Instagram, you might have been sucked into a fairytale that living in a fancy van or even an Airstream trailer will allow you to quit your job and gallivant the world making new friends and having lots of fun adventures off the grid. #glamping
You’ll party with all your like-minded friends, and everything will be effortlessly elegant and cool.
It looks so fun and carefree – and even sometimes elegant. But here is the thing. It is still essentially camping. Here is the problem:
When you want to eat – which happens 3 times per day for most people, things get tough. Even with the nicest stuff, you are working on a small space, with potentially limited wifi.
The reality is much less elegant than the pictures make it look, and to research and follow the best, vegan, organic gluten free recipes you need wifi.
So a nice meal ends up looking more like this:
Unless you happen to be within the delivery range of one of the many on-demand food delivery apps out there.
But as you drive around, you get the sense that the availability of food delivery apps is much more variable than it is. The companies work in many cities, and the competition changes from city to city, depending on what other apps are operating in each city, and if there are big regional restaurant chains that also offer food delivery outside of the apps.
Plus, they have the double-bind that their clients on the supply side, are also their competition. The restaurants that they deliver for may also be in other apps, or doing SEO themselves.
At MobileMoxie, we believe that there are now two kinds of results:
Inclusions, which Google prefers because they host them, and can see the engagement, and regular organic results.
So when we say ‘Inclusions’ we are talking mostly about position-zero assets that always or almost always are included at the top of a SERP. For the food delivery clients this meant editorial inclusions like ‘Found on the Web’, but also more simple things like App Packs
glennga.be/2LGUks7 Here's another ex. I searched for "how to block a phone number" & the featured snippet is from pcmag (AMP url). When clicking through, Google is highlighting the part of the page with the answer and jumping me down the page. There's a "scrolled to" label & "Go to top" button. https://9to5google.com/2018/12/30/google-search-featured-snippets-amp-highlight/
And we know that these things make a big difference on mobile. More than 50% of Searches are Mobile But…. In the last two and a half years, mobile “no-click” (or “zero click”) searches have grown 11%. Desktop no-click searches have grown 9.5%. More Than 62% of Mobile Searches Don’t Result in a CLICK
Without the click, you don’t get the data into your analytics SO… 34% of desktop searches
So….More than Half of Searches Are Mobile & More Than Half of Those Searches are Not Represented in Most Analytics….AT ALL!
66% on desktop
SEO’s seem like they want to ignore the obvious, that position-zero results are more interesting than blue links.
And even when organic links are included, they push regular organic results way down, so if someone other than our brand has them, like a neutral 3rd party, then we are going to struggle to get any visibility on the SERP.
And Google keeps coming up with new kinds of inclusions. Position-zero results and SERP build-outs are growing in frequency, variety and functionality.
Answers and even Answer Carousels are increasing – in this case, increasing more on desktop according to Stat. https://twitter.com/getSTAT/status/1081246788864991232
The thing IS, you wouldn’t know much about any of that stuff ranking if you didn’t see it – Your Analytics doesn’t talk about that stuff. A picture is worth a thousand words, and, for our client, the local signals, relevance and competition were so variable, that there was no way to really get anything meaningful out of analytics. When something changed in ranking or organic traffic, we didn’t know if it was something we did, or any one of a number of hugely impactful external factors.
This guy looks like he is about to burn breakfast….
So We Built a Tool - For Us & Our Clients, to help us understand what’s going on with the Increasing Variability in Search Results
And then that was too slow for us, going one city at a time, so we built another tool that let us run the same keyword on up to 100 addresses at a time,
And once we had that, it was useful to visualize the results on a map, to see how things changed in relation to each other, and which competitors were winning, and where.
If you are an enterprise local SEO, you might be familiar with some of these complexities, but adding apps and customer sites into the competitive mix makes it much more interesting. In our clients case, they had bosses that were mad because they had lost SEO traffic and the SEO team couldn’t explain it with any proof – only guesses and theories.
Ads can be controlled down to the zip code, so minor changes in the physical location of a searcher can impact how many ads they see.
We had to compile a lot of data, because in addition to the difference from city to city, there were differences between Android and iOS,
And we also needed to see when app-oriented rankings, ads and app packs might be trading off with SEO.
so then we added the ability to archive and re-run the same reports weekly. Archiving allowed us to see when we started out-ranking map packs and when app packs were taking organic traffic from our website, but should have at least been driving app downloads.
Ads are getting bigger, richer and harder to spot --- now included in Map Packs, App Packs and the Explore tab.
Now this isn’t SEO, but it sure does take lots of SEO traffic!
So that helped our food delivery clients. But what about when watching the sunsets gets old, and you want to watch something else – We have other clients that focus on TV – TV networks. They have a different Mobile-First Problem. They are the use-case for Google integrations that used to rely on SEO and now rely on SEO-marked up feeds that we send directly to Google.
And the searches that we wanted to rank for happened in traditional browsers, but also happened by voice, on different devices.
And of course, these results changed regionally too.
And we added a radius tool that would let us see results at regular distances from a center point.
This one is just getting ready to be released to the public. It allowed us to see that our large city pages were over-powering small neighborhood and town pages, even when the keywords were for the neighborhoods and towns.
These are Google Watch Action Season and Episode integrations with Knowledge Graph. They are actually hard to verify and test, but our tool captured the results and let us see which seasons and episodes were missing from the integration, and make sure that the network play time was correct.
You can see that they are also sensitive to location, updating the time of the episode availability based on the time zone But
What we learned was that most branded and IP oriented queries, including questions were returning Knowledge Graph much more than regular web results. Organic traffic was now going through the Knowledge Graph – in some cases to other sites. The Knowledge Graph included the Season/Episode which had some missing episodes that we were able to investigate. Some of the IP was more likely to trigger an App Pack than others.
And this is super important because Digital video is exploding and Google cares a lot about it.
Google sees video (and podcasts btw) as a new potential revenue stream.
And these results are important because these search results are even more voice oriented and even more cross device. Cable-cutters like our airstream family still want entertainment, but they want it on-demand.
And Google wants to be there – not just with media but also with information. They will soon be populating their media assets with information from Knowledge Graph, potentially making the media even more easy to monetize.
And giving the media a richer experience.
What gotyouthere cindykrum-mobilev2
MOBILE-FIRST INDEXING:Mobile-First Indexing: EverythingYou Need to Know
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