Fibre Marketing offers SEO services to businesses across the UK. We're a Cheltenham based SEO agency, offering search engine optimisation. Read about experiences, tips, tricks and information on Internet Marketing.
Voice search allows users to find out what they are looking for without actually loading up a search engine and typing in keywords to generate results. People who use voice search prefer it because it allows them to multitask and they can get information immediately, which is handy for when you’re cooking or driving.
And so, due to the increasing amount of usage, search engines are beginning to emphasise voice search optimization.
One of the many advantages of voice search optimisation is that it’s a great way to gain brand awareness. When someone asks a question in voice search, the answer usually begins with ‘According to…’, thus informing the listener of your brand.
It is therefore vital that you should know how users speak about your business and its products. Your content should be written for people, not search engines. Answer questions directly and try and make it obvious that a paragraph is an answer to a question. An example of this type of content is blog posts – many article headings’ feature a question that the post itself then answers.
And, of course, you must know your audience and what they are likely to be asking.
Making sure that your site is optimised for mobiles is just as important – this is where voice search comes from after all. Mobile SEO needs to be good and page content needs to be high-quality, as your content should be as relevant to the desired search query as possible. Using sections with lists, bullet points, and heading tags can be read easily by Google and thus perform better, and are more likely to be used for voice search.
Local SEO is essential as the most popular types of search queries for voice search are location-based – users want to know things like opening times, locations, and what products are available where. So if a site and its content are optimised for local searches, then it’s more likely to succeed in the voice search industry. One way to work out what sort of local content you ned is to think of the popular search phrase ‘…near me.’ Most voice search queries are essentially that but in question form, and that’s the type of information your website will need to provide.
In conclusion, voice search optimisation is making changes to mobile SEO, making it something that business owners need to consider when designing their websites. It is speculated that voice search will be a huge trend this year, proven to improve brand awareness and purchases. It’s usage is still on the rise, so by optimising your site for voice search now, you are sure to see results that will help grow your brand in the long-term.
See more thoughts about this voice search optimisation here.
As you can see, there are four ads on the top of the page, followed by two organic listings. Seven more ads appear followed by six organic listings, and then the page ends with three final ads. That’s twice as many ads than usual, and our video kick-started a backlash across Twitter.
We believed that this was another test by Google concerning its search engine results pages, only this one focused solely on mobile searches.
From what we have seen, the SERPs are not still like this, but the discussion on Twitter is still ongoing:
It has been predicted for a while that Google would push its Ads, and the founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin, recently reported that, in 2018, there had been a decline in click-through rates yet an increase in no-click searches. This statistic reflects how Google SERP features, such as Google Ads and Featured Snippets, are competing for clicks.
However, Google Ads responded to our tweet, confirming that it was, in fact, a bug and not a test:
Thanks for catching this! We didn't intend to show these extra ads. This was a bug impacting a very small number of queries and it has already been fixed.
The latest announcement from Google is an exciting one for website owners who want to know what the Googlebots see when they crawl a specific URL. This is important information if you want to be able to correct problems with any of your website pages, so that you feature highly in search engine rankings and attract more traffic to your site.
It’s only a few months since Google released the beta version of its new Search Console . The URL inspection tool is a stand-out feature of this. The tool has only just been announced by Google, and is being rolled out to Search Console users over the coming months. What can you expect?
What does the URL inspection tool do?
Google has introduced the new tool to help you see how the pages of your website are indexed, and to enable you to identify any issues that need to be addressed. All you have to do is enter a URL that you own into the tool. You will then be able to see specific information about the indexing of that URL, and how this indexing has been achieved:
The information you can see is in depth. You will be able to see any enhancements that Google identified on your page. This can include having an AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page) in place. You will also be able to see if your page has not been indexed and why this has happened. This information includes details of all URLs that have not been indexed for the same reason. This means that you can identify, and resolve, issues with several different pages of your website at the same time.
Why is it so important that your web pages are indexed?
You will probably be aware that a good web presence is an essential tool for any business. This is why you need to invest time and money in an effective content marketing strategy. The problem is that there is little point in making this investment if your website is not included in search results, so that it can attract traffic. This is what happens if your web pages are not indexed as they should be. There are several reasons for pages not being indexed.
Google cannot see the page
Google does not automatically see all new web pages that are created. If you create a new page, make sure that it links to other pages on your site, so that Google is more likely to identify it. You can also submit a new site map to Google using the Search Console, or even just tell Google that you have created a new page.
The Noindex attribute is in place
This attribute is normally used when you do not want Google to index a page for some reason. It can block Google from indexing a page if it’s still incorrectly in use. The attribute can be found in the header of a page or in a robots.txt file which is in the root directory. If you have any problems identifying the attribute, talk to your web designer.
You have been penalised by Google
There are certain black hat techniques that result in pages being de-indexed by Google. You may need to check that you are not using any of these techniques on any of your pages.
Your website has been compromised
If Google spots that your website has been hacked, or there are issues such as malware being present, it will block your page from being seen by web users, in order to protect them. You can use Webmaster Tools to check for any issues which may be present.
These are some of the most common reasons why web pages are not indexed.
You can see why it’s so important that each of your webpages is indexed. Using the URL inspection tool enables you to see if this is the case, and to identify problems. The tool has been released as the beta stage and will be rolled out to Search Console users over the coming months. As soon as you are able to access the tool, it’s a good idea to do so. You can keep check on the crawling and indexing of all of your web pages and help to ensure that you feature as highly as possible in search engine results.
When we mentioned Google’s mobile first index previously, we spoke about it being an experiment that was in its early stages. That situation has now moved on. While the index is still not being used across all websites, Google has announced that its reach is being expanded.
A small number of sites were already subject to mobile first indexing but this new announcement seems to be a big step forward. It’s starting to seem more likely that the mobile first index will be the sole index at some point.
Which sites will be affected?
According to Google, the new rollout will affect sites that follow best practices for mobile first indexing. The owners of the sites will be notified by message in the Google search console. This is where site owners already get all of the data, tools, and diagnostics to help make their website Google friendly and improve search engine rankings.
Sites that are affected by this new rollout will be subject to increased crawling by the smartphone Googlebot and the mobile version of the site will be the one that is displayed in search engine results.
Why is mobile first indexing so important?
The current index that Google uses to determine rankings in organic search results is compiled by using Googlebots to crawl desktop versions of websites. The Googlebots collect information that is stored in the index and used to decide which are the most relevant results when someone carries out a search using Google.
This method of indexing has become outdated as the use of mobile devices has grown. The majority of searches are now carried out using one of these devices. It does not make sense to use the information collected from a desktop site to produce search engine rankings for searches using a mobile device. After all, the mobile version of a website is often very different from the desktop version.
This means that a user may get results that are not accurate for their search. Knowing this to be the case, Google has developed the mobile first index to reflect the growing use of mobile devices when searching online.
What does this mean for you?
Even if your website is not included in the current rollout, this does not mean that you can afford to be complacent. Google has already stated that it would like the mobile first index to be the only index that it uses in the future. This latest announcement seems to show that Google remains dedicated to this aim. Up to this point, mobile first indexing may have seemed like something which may happen at some point in the future. Now, although the future of this type of indexing is still not completely certain, it does seem as though it’s a lot more likely to become a reality across the Internet, sooner rather than later.
This means that if you do not already have a mobile friendly website it’s time to be serious about developing one. Let’s face it, this makes sense anyway, given the fact that you could be missing out on business by not having a site that is friendly to mobile device use. Now, having to consider the effect on your search engine rankings gives you a further incentive to get your mobile web presence sorted out.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to start by using responsive web design; this is Google’s recommendation. Using this type of web design means that your site can be read using any size of device. This is not the end of the story, you have to think about every aspect of the mobile user experience, from the size of the font used to the ease with which links can be accessed. Doing this should mean that you are well prepared for when your website is subject to mobile first indexing.
Google’s announcement that it’s rolling out mobile first indexing to more websites is a big deal. It seems to be taking the new index from a “could be” to a “more than likely”. All of this means that every website owner needs to think about how their site will fare when the mobile version is used to determine search engine rankings. If you are a website owner, this is something that needs to be a priority today rather than something which you will get around to doing tomorrow.
In the world of Google, things are ever changing- and one of the latest changes is adding to the way the search engine prioritises and ranks results on their website.
SEO can seem complicated- and now Google are going to include Website Speed and Mobile-First Indexing into their Optimising system.
Our desire for online speed has been met by Google in their quest to make pages ‘appear’ much faster for us. Where we want efficiency and easiness, Google will be matching our wants by boosting faster pages up the search rankings- and lowering slower or longer-loading pages.
There is time for developers to improve their web speed: the update won’t take place until July 2018. However, this will be a world-wide change and so website owners should be wary that- if they’re not joining in- competitors across the globe might well be…
But don’t jump to panicking just yet! This does not mean that Google will down-play the rest of your SEO efforts. Slower sites that have high quality and relevant content will still rise above websites containing poor content.
What about the Mobile-First Indexing?
An impressive 55% of internet traffic comes from searches completed on mobile devices. In the past, Google ranked websites using Desktop information. However, after a study completed by Stone Temple Consulting, a clear shift showed the preferred method for searches is using mobile devices. Inevitably, the search engine now ranks sites according to Mobile traffic instead.
How will this affect my site?
It’s the question we all want answered- but- to keep things straightforward for the time being, webpages with matching content on both Desktop and Mobile will likely keep their SEO rating as is (unless they’re both slow.) However, if your Mobile site has less content available (and is of a poorer quality,) you might notice a negative turn for your rankings. The answer then, for the immediate time, is to invest in making your Mobile experience as excellent as it can be.
Google are being quite vague and saying that the rankings will switch once results are “quality neutral.” This means they will wait for websites to adapt before implementing drastic SEO structures. If they were to make the changes immediately, many people would be rather uncomfortable with the idea. However, by outlining that these changes will be made later in the year, you at least have the chance to optimise your mobile website and- quite literally- get up to speed!
How do I do this?
Firstly, ensure your content shows up on all devices. If you have a website, this will affect you and potentially where you are found on Google search engine, so you need to check how your website is functioning, especially on those mobile devices! Also, check out Google’s Webmaster Central Blog and bookmark it so you can read first-hand of any updates. If your business relies on good internet traffic, then read this article: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/11/mobile-first-indexing.html
Do I panic… now?
Still, no. Google provide resources to help you get this sorted. They’re not expecting all web-owners to have a team of developers behind them to help keep them updated! Instead, they are making tools available for you to be able to track your progress. In terms of speed, we are all able to access their ‘Speed Scorecard,’ whereby you enter a domain, press the search button, and it will tell you the length of time it takes to load the home page. In fact, why not check yours out now? Use this link to reach the feature: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/feature/mobile/
Understanding the Speed Scorecard
Helpfully, Google provide an ‘Impact Calculator,’ included as part of the Speed Scorecard. Through this, you’re able to work out any financial losses as it compares your rankings to competitors. We all know that internet traffic equates to revenue, with more hits come more impressions; with more leads comes more sales! It really is time to make responsiveness and speed a priority at present!
How Does This Look?
Let’s say you host a news site and, for example, you produce a brilliant article about the Oscars. A rival site sees it and produces a really similar piece with the same number of keywords as yours. They post it to their website- but they have the speedier page- so they will rank higher up the search engine results than you!
What should you do about it?
Well, all you can do is keep updating and improving your site to maximise your own SEO rating- and meeting Google’s latest speed demands. Clear up the ‘clutter’ on your site, for starters. Concise content is best (cut lengthy pages of text) and reduce the number of high-res images you have, as these take a long time to load. Servers, hosting and other factors do play a part, too, but by making sure your mobile view is quick and clutter-free, will lead you in good stead!
WordPress is a dominant force when it comes to web-hosting, and Google have paired up with them- creating nothing short of an ‘Internet Super-Power!’ Over 28% of all global websites are WordPress hosted- and 50,000 more sites are added daily. Therefore, what Google want to achieve is help accelerate the development of WordPress, in somewhat of a win-win scenario for both parties.
WordPress has soared to its success and secured its large portion of the tech world. Despite this, its coding has not quite ‘caught up.’ Mix that amongst many security and performance updates, alongside users applying complex plugins and heavy content, individual website speeds plummet. This is totally not ideal when ‘53% of [internet] users abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.’ Google, secure in the knowledge that they have the power to do something about it, are getting involved! Therefore, expect to see much quicker website loading times and increased functionality from a large proportion of the world’s web using WordPress. You can read more about this, here: https://www.fibremarketing.co.uk/google-teams-wordpress-speed-web/
Wonders for Your WordPress
Of course, this partnership creates somewhat of an elite status for WordPress. This basically guarantees them market-domination in future. In addition to the support and input from Google, it seems likely that websites hosted with WordPress will be prioritised when it comes to the search engine rankings. If you’re with WordPress- and you’re clued up when it comes to these SEO switches- then you’re in a very secure place to keep moving up the rankings, for many years to come!
Google has always been interested in ensuring that Web users get the best possible experience. Its Googlebots crawl the Internet and search for data to populate its index. It’s from this index that search results rankings are established, using Google’s algorithm.
The full details of the algorithm are something of a mystery but what is certain is that the mobile user experience has become more of a focus for Google in recent years. This is hardly surprising given that more people now access the Internet using a mobile device than so do using a desktop. Given that this is the case, it makes sense for any business to utilise any help or support from Google in order to optimise their rankings potential, as well as improving the user experience of their mobile web presence as much as possible.
The background to Google’s new mobile effectiveness tools
Th real surge in Google’s concentration on mobile effectiveness came with Mobilegeddon, back in 2015. This was the introduction of the new mobile-friendly algorithm which took account of a website’s mobile-friendly features when determining rankings in search results. This has been followed by Google’s current experimentation with the mobile first index.
It’s not certain what the results of the current testing will be, but it’s possible that there will be only one mobile focused Google index in the future. Given this background, it makes sense for Google to provide tools with which businesses can measure the effectiveness of their mobile web presence.
Introduction of the new tools
Google announced the availability of its new mobile benchmarking tools at the Mobile World Congress which took place in Barcelona from 26 February – 1 March 2018. The Mobile Scorecard and Conversion Impact Calculator are aimed at helping businesses to see how the load time of their mobile site can have an effect on customer experience and sales.
Data from the Chrome User Experience Report has been used to feed into Google’s Mobile Scorecard, in order to provide information on the load speed of thousands of different sites in twelve countries across the globe. Using this information helps businesses to see how they perform in comparison to their competitors.
It’s worth remembering that Google recommends a maximum page load time of five seconds for a 3G connection and three seconds for a 4G connection when a mid-range device is being used. Load times outside of this range can deter potential customers from accessing a site. This, in turn can reduce sales and revenue. It’s to help put these financial considerations into context that Google has created the second new tool.
Conversion Impact Calculator
This calculator has been designed to show businesses how much conversion revenue they could be losing by having a mobile website with a slow load speed. The calculator uses data from the The State of Online Retail Performance Report, from April 2017, to show that a slow loading mobile site can reduce conversions by as much as 20%. This is a significant reduction in conversions for any business.
In order to use the calculator, to check the potential monetary effects of slow load speed on them, businesses need to input the following data:
• The average number of website visitors monthly.
• The average monthly conversion rate.
• The average monthly order value.
It’s easy for business to access the Mobile Scorecard and Conversion Impact Calculator, in order to monitor how they are performing when it comes to the load speed of their mobile website and see how this performance is affecting their revenue.
Of course, it’s not just load speed that needs to be addressed when a business is considering the affectiveness of its mobile web presence. Other factors, such as ease with which content can be read and ease of navigation are also important. It’s also important for businesses to make sure that the content contained on their mobile website is the same as that contained on their desktop site. This is why Google recommends the use of responsive web design. This consideration is going to be even more important if the mobile first index is fully rolled out. If this happens, the mobile website of a business will be the first port of call for Google when it determines its search engine rankings. Content and load speed will both be taken into account and tools such as the Mobile Scorecard and the Conversion Impact Calculator will continue to be valuable.
Over the past few months, there has been a lot of talk about Google’s mobile first index. It’s still described as an experiment by the technology giant. But, if the experiment is successful, this will be the way that Google ranks your website. So, you need to know about the changes.
The first thing it’s worth noting is that there are no set timescales for a full-scale rollout of the index. The testing stage is already underway, with some users already seeing search results produced using the new method. Depending on how well the testing goes, mobile first indexing might be with us imminently, or it might never be with us at all. If changes are imminent, you need to ensure that your business is prepared.
What is the mobile first index?
It helps to start with the basics; understanding what the mobile first index is. Currently, Googlebots crawl through the pages of your desktop website, to identify information that is useful to store in Google’s index. It’s the information that is stored in this index that is used to produce organic search results every time that a user enters a search into the Google search engine. This is why it’s so important that Google collects useful and relevant data when the bots crawl your site.
The problem with this method of indexing is that around 60% of searches are made using a mobile device, and users need search results that are most relevant to them. In order to reflect the move towards the dominance of mobile searching Google is starting use information gathered from mobile sites, ahead of desktop sites, to create its index.
As we mentioned earlier, this is only an experiment right now. But, if it rolls out fully, users will see search results based on your mobile site, not your desktop site.
What if a business only has a desktop site?
The truth is that, with the massive growth in mobile usage, you cannot really afford to only have a desktop site. You could be missing out a large number of leads, if this is the case. But, if your business does only have a desktop site, Google will continue using this information for its index.
Will the new index really make a difference?
The answer to this question is, yes and no. Google does not anticipate that the change to a mobile first index will make much of a difference overall. Although it’s still early days with the testing, so it’s hard to tell.
If you look at this question from the point of view of individual businesses, the index could certainly make a difference. If the content on your mobile site is the same as that on your desktop site, you should remain in the same position as you are now. But, if your mobile site contains significantly less content, this could potentially damage your search engine rankings.
There is also the question of links, which often play a vital part in determining rankings in search engine results. It’s unclear what effect having less links on your mobile site than your desktop site will have on your search engine performance.
What about expandable content?
Generally, content that is hidden away behind tabs, or in expandable boxes, is not given the same weight as visible content, in Google’s current index. This is different when it comes to mobile first indexing; for obvious reasons. Expandable content is often used on mobile sites to improve user experience. So, when it comes to the mobile first index, this type of content will usually have equal weight.
How can you tell if you are ready?
It seems as though there is some time yet before Google’s mobile first index rolls out across the Internet. But, it’s still useful to know that your business is ready, if and when this happens. You can use Google’s Fetch and Render tool, to check what Google will see when it crawls your mobile site.
Will there still be one index?
While the mobile first experiment is ongoing there are technically two indexes; one for desktop first and one for mobile first. They look exactly the same to the user. Google has stated that it aims to only have the mobile first index at the end of the day.
This is assuming that the experiement goes well, and the mobile first index becomes a reality. Only time will tell.
The internet is awash with pictures. An ever-growing library of images uploaded from phones and computers the world over. Most of them don’t have a price tag attached, and whether strictly offered for download or not, get duplicated, re-uploaded, saved, and spread across dozens of sites.
But, there is a portion of pictures on the internet that do have a price-tag. Those shiny, beautiful things we refer to as ‘stock images’. Stock images are professionally taken photos or illustrations that are then uploaded to sites like Getty images, and are available for purchase for use on websites and the like. These services aren’t uncommon, but with Getty being one of the largest, it’s their prerogative to make sure that if people are indeed using their images, that they’re paying for them.
So what’s happened to Google?
You may have noticed if you’ve found yourself in a Google Image Search recently, that you’re without a ‘View Image’ button. The button used to exist, and when clicked, would open the image in a seperate tab. The issue has developed off the back of this, and from what Google have said; “For those asking, yes, these changes came about in part due to our settlement with Getty Images this week,” it seems pretty clear that it comes as a direct response to their settlement with Getty. They said that this ‘View Image’ button ws allowing people to open a photo that wasn’t free to download, in a new tab, and then download it without visiting Getty’s site.
Why is this a big deal?
Because people earn their livings from having their work bought and downloaded from sites like Getty, it becomes that murky argument of whether or not the person who downloaded it illegally without visiting Getty’s site (albeit in low resolution or size, and usually with a watermark attached) knew that it was a stock photo for which they were supposed to pay. Now, each could argue themselves blue one way or the other, but Google have held their hands up and removed the button from their search. Now, we’re left with a ‘View Page’ button, which takes us to the webpage on which the photo resides.
What’s the point in that?
It’s adding a middleman, of sorts, but what Google and Getty seem to be lobbying for is the notion that if you’re sent to a Getty Images page, and are forced to sift through it for the photo that you want to borrow, then you won’t be able to claim ignorance and say ‘Hey, I didn’t realise it was a stock photo’ after downloading it. Google made the agreement with Getty, and said that the change would “help connect users and useful websites”. Whether the change comes because they truly believe that or if it’s simply them wanting to remove a thorn from their sides, we’ll probably never know.
How are people taking it?
As usual, badly. People don’t like change, and a little bit of public outrage has spilled out of the Twittersphere, as usual. In response to Google’s statement that, “For those asking, yes, these changes came about in part due to our settlement with Getty Images this week […] [the changes] are designed to strike a balance between serving user needs and publisher concerns, both stakeholders we value.”
In the wake of that, critics have called the change “awful”, “user-unfriendly”, and even went as far as to say that it has “degraded the product”. Still, I don’t see anyone switching to Bing any time soon.
Tweeters in favour of the ‘View Image’ button were quick to point out that Google was “destroying [their] own successful service.” and that should anyone wish to relive the glory days, they could simply right-click an image and select the ‘open in new tab’ option, which replicates the now removed button.
Getty’re all smiles
Getty released a statement that sought to soothe the savage seas, saying: “We are pleased to announce that after working cooperatively with Google over the past months, our concerns are being recognised and we have withdrawn our complaint.”
And just like that, all was well on the internet. Whether these changes will spell long-term disaster for the internet colossus that is Google, who can say… But honestly, it’s pretty unlikely.
This week, in the next step of Google taking on speeding up mobile internet, saw Google announce the beginning of a new partnership with WordPress. But why is it such a big deal? Should we have seen it coming?
Over the past few years we’ve seen Google turn their attention to page speed for mobile users. Take a quick look around you and it’s easy to see why. We use mobiles for general browsing more than ever. You may even be reading this on a phone right now. Unsurprisingly, total browse time for mobile users has even surpassed that of desktop users, and is projected to continue growing by 6% per year.
And yet – many websites still aren’t accessible for mobile users. Sites optimised for desktop, or even those adjusted for mobile view, are typically large and slow to load when not accessed via WiFi. For example, even over a 3G connection average mobile loading speed is 19 seconds. This may not sound like long but over 53% of users abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. For online businesses, this is a massive loss. But for Google it’s a huge opportunity to access a large, growing and poorly tapped market.
To improve mobile access, Google already gives priority positions to sites that utilise AMP (keep an eye out for the grey lightening symbol!). And at some point in 2018, mobile page speed will begin to be incorporated into Google’s ranking factor for websites.
Which is where we get to WordPress. Like mobile customers being an untapped market, it seems that the same can be said for WordPress. Currently, WordPress have almost 60% of the market share and about 1/3 of all – all – published content online utilises WordPress CMS (content management system). Despite its size and popularity, WordPress is often found by users to be slow and buggy. In WordCamp US 2017 – one of the biggest events in the WordPress calendar – Google presented a complete overview of WordPress ecosystem performance metrics. And it was a sad picture. Among some circles it even has a reputation for being less secure but there’s not a lot of evidence for this notion. Yet, if Google can turn their attention to improving the web experience for WordPress users, they have the potential to reach a massive part of the market and potentially help it to grow.
So yes, maybe we should have seen it coming.
It’s thought that Google’s interest in WordPress isn’t just about speed though. It’s about pushing Progressive Web Apps (PWA) or the ‘’appification’’ of the web. Like AMP, this technology incorporates app like features such as push-notifications, security features and identity management, among others. It aims to standardize user experience across different websites by making them fast, app-like and consistent across all platforms. Yet, PWA is still in the early days and needs a lot of work. Right now, PWA have been poorly deployed effectively, perhaps because they are code heavy and difficult to develop. Yet with WordPress 4.5 release, working PWA simply into the core code looks like a realistic possibility. And for Google, working in tandem with WordPress allows them to roll out Progressive Web Apps as well as AMP to up to a 1/3 of online content.
To kick-start their partnership with WordPress, Alberto Medina, a developer working for the Web Content Ecosystems team at Google, announced on his blog last week that Google will be expanding their team to include a core group of WordPress experts who will work on generating PWA plugins for WordPress while simultaneously working with Google to improve speed, performance and (most likely) AMP compatibility.