Mobile SEO Visibility – Prepare yourself for the huge Google Mobile Update on April 21st

How my website performs in mobile searches on smartphones is increasingly different to my desktop performance. Particularly now that Google has announced it will release an update on April 21st, which will have a significant impact on websites that are NOT mobile friendly. According to Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Zineb Ait Bahajji the coming Mobile Update will have a much stronger impact then any Panda update!

As a marketer, I now have to know how big this difference will be on my domain and where there is specific room for optimization. Because if the traffic from mobile devices continues to rise, and the wheat separates from the chaff, then I have only a few possibilities to find out the following points:

  • What is the status of my mobile performance?
  • What do I ideally have to do to improve it?
  • What does my competition look like?

It is therefore even more important to have a basis of comparison in which the specific difference between my Desktop and Mobile Visibility can be recognized. Our new Beta-Version is now live providing you first indications on the Visibility difference:

Mobile SEO Visibility vs. Desktop Visibility - ScreenIndividual search results by device

At Searchmetrics we have been working on search differences between mobile and desktop for years. Therefore, we already collected & analzyed data last year for providing facts about differences of the Mobile SEO Ranking Factors. The split between mobile and desktop search results is measurable. At our last Mobile Ranking Factor study in 2014 the difference of URLs between Desktop and Mobile index was already 36%.

Difference Mobile vs Desktop

It’s for this reason that we have been tracking the same keywords for months in the mobile area as we have for desktop searches. This is, firstly, to see how the results keep differentiating more and more (which they definitely do) and, secondly, with the intention of giving our users the opportunity to have more evidence for their optimization.

And so, the time has come: the Mobile SEO Visibility (Beta) is now available as a KPI in the Searchmetrics Suite for all users, providing first indications for figuring out main differences between Desktop and Mobile SEO Visibility.

Comparability of Desktop and Mobile Visibility

The starting problem is: Desktop and Mobile cannot really be compared and analyzed to one another under real conditions. In the mobile area, there are different click-through-rates, search volumes, user intentions and the influence of local parameters on the search results is different.

Nevertheless, we want to make a comparison between Desktop and Mobile index possible and have converted our calculation of the normal SEO Visibility – which is based on a dynamic CTR calculation by machine learning algorithms – 1:1 to mobile. Why? Because we consider it to be intrinsic to prepare a mutual basis as a KPI in the form of this comparison. Especially to see how the performance is now and how it will change at April 21st.

The Mobile SEO Visibility will be updated weekly.

We have decided on an Android smartphone as a user agent. Differences between iOS and Android can occur, but in my opinion they are irrelevant, as the only differences that I have previously witnessed occur in queries for apps. For example, if you search for ‘netflix’, the Apple App Store ranks on an iPhone, whereas the Google Play Store ranks on an Android. This is also the reason why apple.com and google.com show such great deviations in Mobile SEO Visibility. Other than this, there have not been any further relevant differences between these domains so far.

Mobile SEO Visibility with desktop comparison at a glance

From now on, there are new KPIs for the evaluation of Mobile SEO Visibility (Beta) in the research area. The new search result page of the Searchmetrics Suite in the research area looks like this:

Mobile SEO Visibility Research OverviewThe rank overview, which was previously displayed across the entire page width, has moved to a closed circular graphic on the left side – in favor of the new ‘Desktop vs Mobile’ KPI. By the way, we have dubbed this circular graphic ‘mojo’, as in Austin Powers, as it shows at a glance how much mojo a domain has in a respective country and which channel works best! We have also pre-calculated the Mobile SEO Visibility on all subdomains so that you can see how a mobile subdomain, such as en.m.wikipedia.org or m.imdb.com, performs.

The new KPIs and possibilities at a glance:

  • Desktop vs Mobile Visibility – comparison of visibility on the same database
    • Difference been Desktop and Mobile Visibility (circular graphic with percentage overlap of the respective Visibility)
    • Trend desktop/trend mobile – to previous week
  • Mobile SEO Visibility (SEO research)
  • Mobile Paid Visibility (SEO research)
  • Mojo with the ranks for SEO, paid, social and links
  • Toplist domains (top 10/ top 100) comparison of SEO visibility desktop vs mobile

1. Recognize problem: same database for desktop and mobile

This ‘Desktop vs Mobile’ KPI offers the simplest way to create comparability between Desktop and Mobile Visibility performance. In order to ensure this comparability, we work with identical CTR calculation and search volume on the basis of desktop values.

2. Solve problem: individual data for mobile

We know that both CTR and search volume differ in the mobile area. We have already been working with mobile data for years and have even offered mobile rankings in the project area of our Suite since June 2013. Therefore, we recommend this new Mobile SEO Visibility (Beta) only be used as an indicator in order to understand how the performance between mobile and desktop differs.

For an optimum mobile measurement of performance, individual, local rankings for mobile with individual mobile search volume are necessary. We offer this data and functionality within the project area in the Searchmetrics Suite using more than 800 search machine/country/device combinations.

Organic Keyword Rankings per Device - Searchmetrics Suite Projet Area

Conclusion: From data comparison to deep analysis

The new ‘Desktop vs Mobile’ KPI can been seen as the starting point for recognizing how big the overlap between my Desktop and my Mobile Visibility is. Furthermore, the trend shows at a glance how my performance has recently developed. Due to the fact that this KPI is part of the research area, all users of the Suite benefit from this update, which spans not only the SEO but also the PPC area.

In order to be prepared for April 21 – Google’s mobile update – and thereafter, the tracking of concrete mobile rankings is required. This is already available in the project area of the Suite, taking into account also historical developments and individual data.

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Google To Launch New Doorway Page Penalty Algorithm

Google will take algorithmic action on more doorway pages in the near future. The new algorithm adjustment will impact these pages trying to increase their search footprint.

Google announced they are releasing a new “ranking adjustment” to their doorway page classifier to better handle doorway pages in the search results.

In short, Google does not want to rank doorway pages in their search results. The purpose behind many of these doorway pages is to maximize their search footprint by creating pages both externally on the web or internally on their existing web site, with the goal of ranking multiple pages in the search results, all leading to the same destination.

Google’s Brian White said:

Over time, we’ve seen sites try to maximize their “search footprint” without adding clear, unique value. These doorway campaigns manifest themselves as pages on a site, as a number of domains, or a combination thereof. To improve the quality of search results for our users, we’ll soon launch a ranking adjustment to better address these types of pages. Sites with large and well-established doorway campaigns might see a broad impact from this change.

Google will be launching over this new ranking adjustment shortly and those who have created doorway pages may see them really soon.

How do you know if your web pages are classified as a “doorway page?” Google said asked yourself these questions:

Is the purpose to optimize for search engines and funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site, or are they an integral part of your site’s user experience?

Are the pages intended to rank on generic terms yet the content presented on the page is very specific?

Do the pages duplicate useful aggregations of items (locations, products, etc.) that already exist on the site for the purpose of capturing more search traffic?

Are these pages made solely for drawing affiliate traffic and sending users along without creating unique value in content or functionality?

Do these pages exist as an “island?” Are they difficult or impossible to navigate to from other parts of your site? Are links to such pages from other pages within the site or network of sites created just for search engines?

Google To Confirm The Next Penguin Update/Refresh

Last time there was a big Penguin update by Google, i.e. Penguin 3.0, Google did not announce that it happened but they confirmed it after we asked about it.

Google’s John Mueller implied they would do the same thing next time a Penguin algorithm is updated or refreshed.

He said in a Google+ hangout at 1:17 in to the video when someone asked about Google announcing the next Penguin update.

I don’t think we’d pre-announce it but if this is something bigger that happens that people have been waiting for we will try to confirm it.

According to my records, there has not been a Penguin update since early December and it is unclear when the next one will happen. So we know Penguin is not running monthly or regularly yet but it is a goal they set out with. Although, at one point Panda was and maybe it stopped?

But when it does, I am sure we will report it quickly and get Google to confirm it.

A Content Marketer’s Guide To SEO: A Checklist

Content is an integral element of search engine optimization (SEO), so check out columnist Thomas Stern’s handy check-list to ensure your content reaches its full potential.

It’s 2015 and by now you’ve been told, again and again, the importance of developing valuable content to increase your visibility in search. It’s time to cut through the noise and step up with some advice you can actually use to generate results from content development.

The checklist below is intended for marketers to use with their team to identify specific tasks needed to create valuable content that generates results.

We recommend leveraging this check list to guide content marketers and capitalize on opportunities in your industry. Start by documenting your strategy and use this list each time you launch a new campaign to ensure your content reaches its full potential.

Understand How Users Search

Content strategy begins and ends with users in mind. Of course, your end goal is to increase sales, but the best way to achieve that is to keep users top of mind in each phase of your strategy development process.

By understanding your target audience’s online behaviors, interests, and expectations, marketers can develop stronger content that compels users to interact with and talk about your brand.

  • Analyze current data from search, social, and other owned assets to identify user trends (top content, sharing/engagement, and demographic data)
  • See what content currently appears in search and what competitor content users see when searching for related terms and keywords
  • Examine competitor content strategies to understand what content your audience currently sees in search Identify what users want and expect from your brand
  • Create a story from your data that identifies trends, behaviors, and interests to develop personas for unique audience segments

Optimize For Users

With users in mind, your content should be formed around the interests of audience segments to offer more value. Targeting your content will draw stronger followings and deliver more quality leads. While achieving high search rankings for keyword targeted content is valuable, speaking to an audience is what drives engagement and conversions.

Identify how your post will offer value through education or entertainment and create content worth sharing

Support your ideas with references to validated, external sources to increase credibility and authority

Build your content around the topics and keyword phrases your audience is searching for to increase exposure

Keep content “human” in delivery that is easily digestible and appropriate for your audience segments

Establish your brand’s tone and voice in individual channels to create unique content that contributes to your overall focus and strategy

Explore different content mediums and delivery channels to determine what methods generates the highest engagement

Keep the limitations and unique features of mobile in mind when crafting content to ensure all users have a consistent and quality experience

Optimize For Search Engines

High performing content is a balance between users and search engines. Just as your content needs to quickly capture the attention of a user and clearly deliver value, search engines require the same consideration.

Optimize your content and distribution channels to help search engines make connections between your content and the information your audience is searching for. Be careful to keep your content “human,” as search engines have evolved to respond to quality more than over-optimization techniques such as keyword stuffing.

  • Maintain a consistent schedule and focus by creating a content calendar that identifies topics and keywords for each piece of content
  • Integrate keywords into content and back-end optimization such as headlines, page titles, URLs, and meta descriptions
  • Leverage tools to audit content for SEO such as Yoast for WordPress
  • Create unique pages for content to earn authority for individual assets
  • Generate quality links from bloggers and trustworthy publications to help search engines connect content with keywords
  • Perform periodic audits to discover and fix any broken links
  • When applicable, optimize content for local search with unique pages and detailed information for individual locations
  • Create an XML sitemap and submit to Google and Bing to assist in indexing pages
  • Amplify content with paid media to increase visibility across the web

Measure & Improve

Your data tells a story of the obstacles faced and opportunities created from your brand’s content and distribution, and analyzing this data provides a path to develop stronger campaigns. By understanding how audiences interact with content, marketers can hone their focus to increase visibility, engagement and conversions.

  • Pull reports from all owned, earned, and paid channels and identify patterns of engagement and interest
  • Leverage tools in analytics platforms to discover what content drives more traffic and action from users
  • Define clear goals in Google Analytics to monitor how content influences your conversion funnel and sales cycle
  • Monitor Google Webmaster Tools to look for site errors than can inhibit exposure in search
  • See how users move across your website and content with click tracking and heat mapping tools such as Crazy Egg
  • Use data to understand what content mediums, focus, tone, and distribution channels result in the highest engagement

Conclusion

Leverage this checklist to create stronger, more visible content by understanding which components of your digital strategy to monitor. By viewing SEO and content marketing as partners, your brand can put the right content in front of the right users with timely precision. Always keep your content top of mind and current by revisiting your strategy throughout the year.