Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm To Go Live On April 21st

As blogged about this before, Google announced that mobile friendliness of a website is to  becoming a ranking factor in the mobile search results for very near near future. The Date Google provided for this taking into effect was April 21, 2015 which is quite unprecedented since Google has never provided a specific algorithm release date before.

Most marketers already should know of impact of a mobile friendly site for their businesses. Users simply don’t like sites that are not mobile friendly and they tend to bounce off fast. This Google algorithm should come as no surprise to search marketers and SEO experts as Google has always preached to create website and content that is good for the users. Google has already adopted many ranking signals that examines websites usability (like load time and website performance) and with users using their mobile devices more, it makes perfect sense for them to shift focus to mobile.

The specifics of this mobile have been mentioned in a Webmaster Tool Google Hangout last month which you can see here.

What do do next?

Considering the mobile user trends and this expected move by Google, it is important for all businesses and organizations to make their website mobile friendly as possible. We recommend this should be their highest priority for their IT team as the April 21st is fast approaching. If your website is not mobile friendly you may have recived a  warning from Google that your website is not mobile friendly.

How to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly? 

There are a couple of things you can do.

  1. Work with your developers to make it responsive. This is the fastest way to get around it.
  2. Develop a new separate mobile site for your website that only delivers mobile content. This will require more time and resources to create and maintain but you may see better results.

The impact of this algorithm is unknown but usually such Google changes in the past have been responsible for up to 15% of overall search traffic which could be quite a lot for some businesses.

Search Impact: The New Google Webmaster Tool Feature

Google has just released a new feature in the Google Webmaster Tools called “Search Impact“.

The Search Impact is a report that shows webmaster a breakdown search traffic clicks and various position metrics including date, popular queries, top pages, leading countries, user device and Google Search property

Webmasters can filter these dimensions in order compare and contrast.

Google Webmaster Tools: Search Impact

This news was first posted by Search Engine Roundtable so the screenshot above is borrowed from them but I personally haven’t been able to see that in my own webmaster tools. According to Google it is in Alpha phase (not even Beta) so that’s probably why I don’t see it in my personal or clients accounts.

I am interested to see how accurate the data actually is considering how unreliable Google webmaster tool data can be when it comes to search data so if necessary, I will post more about this.

 

Google and Twitter Deal and Impact on SEO

Last September, I wrote an article about top 10 SEO predictions of 2015 and in that article I specifically mentioned that Google will revisit cooperation the major social media players such as Facebook and Twitter. It turned out that I was right as last week Google and Twitter made a data sharing deal where Google can show twitter data in its search results.

The deal was announced by Geekwire and confirmed by Twitter  that could potentially be a big deal for Google and Twitter and for the marketers

How Does Google and Twitter Deal Impact SEO

It is still too early to tell but last time Twitter and Google worked together was (I believe) around 2009. I remember that year I attended the SMX advanced that year, many experienced SEOs  and marketers including those from Moz claimed that they had seen correlations between the keywords in the tweets and rankings of those keywords in the search results. In other words, even the Google and Twitter Deallink was nofollowed, Google still looked at the keywords and corresponding landing pages of tweets.

Chances are that Google may do the same this time around although Google algorithm has become much more advanced since 2009 hence it maybe less obvious to detect how . Nevertheless I believe SEOs should continue to do the following

  1. Shift Social Media Focus to Twitter. Give more attention to Twitter as result of this deal. Google is thirsty for social media data because that is where Google never succeeded so they will look at twitter data closely.
  2. Increase Influential Followers.  Having a lot of followers is good but having a lot of influential followers is great  because they can have a lot of good impact for the users and SEO.
  3. Increase number of tweets, reasonably. From what I recall, tweets’ age in Google search result were very short. Therefore the more tweets you get out, the more chance you get them show up in search and drive some search traffic and more probability that would impact your SEO.
  4. Stay Relevant and Newsworthy. Don’t tweet just about anything. You should stay as relevant as possible about your business and your industry to demonistrate yourself as an authority in your field. Google’s algorithm always looks for industry authorities so make sure your tweets are catchy and news worthy so they can get a lot of attention.

Summary

As I mentioned, the new deal just happened last week as it was just confirmed by Twitter earlier so it is too early to come up with a  solid strategy. However getting a head start will  not hurt. Even if Google and Twitter deal doesn’t impact SEO rankings, it can still bring in more traffic which can only be beneficial for your business.

We will blog more about Twitter influence in Google search results as we get more intelligence about it but meanwhile you can contact us if you have any questions or comments regarding this article or if you need help forming a your Twitter strategy or social media strategy for your business.

Google Warns Sites with Non Mobile Sites Will Have Lower Search Rankings

Last September, I wrote an article on Top 10 SEO trends of 2015 and I warned that marketers should pay heavy attention to Mobile SEO. The recommendation I made was not only based on market trends and recommendations but also  based on our clients’ data. Almost all of our clients who were B2C businesses were having almost half of their search traffic coming from mobile devices.

We noticed that those clients without mobile friendly websites were at risk of losing business. Knowing Google’s user oriented philosophy (“Focus on the user and all else will follow”), I only expected to be a matter of time before Google comes out and announce that they would give lower rankings for those websites that are not mobile friendly.

A recent update to Google mobile algorithm has been noted as Google is now showing a “mobile-friendly” label next to those sites that are confirmed to be mobile friendly. But Google isn’t leaving it up to website owners to verify if their websites whenever they want! Google is actually taking action by sending warnings via the Webmaster Tools to inform the webmaster if their websites could lose search rankings if they are not mobile friendly! Here is what the warning looks like:

 

Google Mobile Friendly Warning via the Webmaster Tools

Credit: Search Engine RoundTable

Time to Pay More Attention to Mobile

If your website uses the wordpress engine, then all you have to do is to make sure you have a mobile friendly theme or design. But if you are using the other CMS or custom websites, then you should really reach out to your vendor or web developers to make sure you have a mobile friendly website. After that, then you need to do some optimizations following some basic  mobile SEO Tips.  And of course as usual, feel free to contact us if you need help at any point.

What to Expect in 2015. A Note by Al Sefati

Sefati Consulting

The 2015 has started and we are already into the second week of the year and I thought I share with you some of our goals and expectations for the year 2015:

Sefati Consulting Went Full Time 
Sefati Consulting was launched as a full time firm in 2014. Prior to then Sefati Consulting was a side\part time business because I had a full time job. But in 2014, I resigned from my full time job to pursue Sefati Consulting full time. Thank God things have turned out well as we were able to get busy fast enough to the point that we had to pick and choose clients.

My goal is to continue and expand this firm by expanding our staff, our professional services, our partnerships and future clients so hopefully one day major media can cite “Sefati Consulting” as a major consulting firm in the industry.

Certifications & Credential 
I  have  years of experiance in the world of Web, SEO and SEM but I felt it was necessary to pursue some certificates in order to stay up-to-date and have something to show to my clients in terms of my credentials so I was successfully able to obtain  Google Adwords Certification , BrightEdge Professional Certification,  SearchMetrics Certification, and also become a Yext certified partner. This year I am going to pursue my Google Analytics IQ certifications as I get more into data analysis.

Partnerships (US Based)
We have grown to have our own in-house staff but we also work with other professional firms as I felt it was good idea to team up with established firms that have already built a team and track records hence our clients can expect top quality services and solutions from us. Some of our partners include a custom web development firm, a content marketing firm, and a multiple digital marketing and data analytic firms and experiance consultants.

Reduce Outsourcing 
We  never outsource unless we really have to or if something goes beyond our expertise and even then we inform the client and get their approval first. Also we  never outsource to overseas unless we are working on an international project where the overseas expertise is needed. My goal is to keep it that way and keep everything “Made in USA”. I will personally be involved in every project as well to ensure our clients are satisfied.

Data Data Data
Big Data and Data Analytics are more than a buzz words these days. My goal is expand services to digitals analytics and digital data analysis for 2015. This is why I am working on Google Analytics IQ certifications and then I will be looking into there trainings and certifications. In coming years, my goal is to go more into Data Science field beyond  regular digital analytics. This is another reason why I am working to launch a sister company, Analytics Clarity, that would mainly focus on data analysis and data science.

Beyond SEO and Search Marketing
Traditionally Sefati Consulting has been known to be a vey good search marketing consulting firm that delivers solutions in SEO, local SEO, and PPC (adwords). In 2015 we are going to be looking beyond beyond Search Marketing and expand into  content marketing, social media marketing, data analysis and custom web development.

I am very grateful that 2014 worked out great and I am very excited for a successful year in 2015. Happy New Year and God Bless!

Al Sefati
President | Chief Consultant
Sefati Consulting

 

PPC for 2015

I admit I have been focusing a lot on 2015 SEO trends and not so much pay per click trends for 2015. The main reason is that 70% of my clients are SEO clients or have SEO focus so naturally I get dragged to talk more about SEO rather than PPC or SEM in general. But I am a search marketer who has a lot of experiance in the field of pay per click. I also have my certificate in adwords. As an adword certified consultant, I know I should try to focus more on PPC posts so here is my shot at it by predicting PPC trends for 2015;

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It’s Official; Local SEO is THE SEO STRATEGY OF 2015

In my post on 2015 SEO Predictions – Top 10, I made an attempt to predict the top 10 SEO trends of 2015 back in mid September of 2014. But as time passed on and I learned more, while I still stand on that article, I was able to filter out the top 5 SEO trends for 2015 in that article I was able to focus that mobile SEO, local SEO, social media, and data analytics is where SEO experts should spend most of their time on. It turns out that I wasn’t too far off the chart in fact I was spot on.

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SearchMetrics Certified

As I mentioned earlier, I was working on some attaining some industry respected certifications in order to stay up to date, relevant and connected. So far this year I have earned my Google adwords certification, which I thought it was a good thing to do since I have been an adwords expert for so many years. Then I received on my BrightEdge SEO Certification because some my clients have used the platform and also BrightEdge is the leading enterprise SEO platform.

As local SEO is becoming more important, I felt teaming up with Yext was important and as a certified dealer, I had to go through their online training and workshop where I ended up getting my Yext certification and became a Yext Certified Partner.

SearchMetrics Green Belt Certification

SearchMetrics-Certified-Professional-GreenBelt
My thirst for certification wasn’t yet satisfied yet after getting all these certifications so I decided to pursue certifications for  SearchMetrics SEO platform. I really like SearchMetrics company as a whole because they are very active in the search community. They are well known for their platform’s research tool and the rich data it offers hence I thought it would be a good idea to also become SearchMetrics certified.

Earlier this week, I attended their workshop in Palo Alto where I learned more about their platform, its features, and reviewed more advanced SEO and content marketing topics. After completing the workshop, I  took a couple of exams and  certified. First half of the day we spent learning about the basic features of the platform then took an exam and got my Yellow Belt certification then after lunch, we went over more advanced topics and features of the platform where after taking the the exam and passing it,  I received my Greenbelt certification.

I believe they are going to have another workshop in December, where they will offer a blackbelt certification which I am intending to attend and become certified. According to SearchMetrics, Black Belt is the highest certification they have and it has a more holistic approach which it is a good fit more for SEO strategists and senior SEO consultants like myself.

About My Certification Goals
Certifications don’t necessary mean results which is all it matters end of the day. But I believe attending such workshops, trainings, and becoming certified, can give me competitive advantage in winning larger clients, staying up to date with latest trends and stay connected with fellow professionals and industry leaders.

I am planning to pursue more certifications starting with SearchMetrics BlackBelt certificate then Google Analytic IQ certificate.  As an enterprise SEO expert, I understand the need to be as data oriented and as analytical as possible in order to succeed by helping my clients.

 

SEO Trends for 2015

2015

Learning what other SEO experts had to say about my last blog post on 2015 SEO trends and also reading others’ blogs on 2015 SEO trends,  I am glad to see that I was on the right track. It looks like that all SEO experts anonymously agree on at least few of the points I made in my last article so I to go over them again to elaborate more:

  1. Mobile SEO – Apple realized that it had to make screens of iPhones large because because people use their phones to do perform many activities  such as reading ebooks, stream audio and videos, surf and search among many other things. A large screen will enable users to do just that so Apple facilitated in their iPhone 6 series and it seems that they have by permanently made the iPhone screen sizes larges.SEO’s also need to learn from Apple and need enable their websites to be more Mobile friendly and optimize it for Mobile devices as  mobile traffic is going the predominate method of web surf and web search in 2015 according to data. Mobile SEO isn’t hard one can simply follow some basic  mobile SEO tips and also understand that search behaviors on mobile devices are different and search results can be different too based on many factors including location of the user.
  2. Local SEO – As mentioned above, mobile is going to take over and it may display search results differently due to the location of person performing the search hence it is important that businesses are  fully optimized for local SEO even if their business does not have a local retail presence. If businesses do not have a local retail location, then they should optimize for their main or corporate offices, office of their sales representatives, partners and etc.For example if someone is in Laguna Hills or Orange County searching for for “SEO firms”, Google is more likely to return SEO firms in Laguna Hills or SEO firms in Orange County because of the GEO and the phone number of the surfer. For example, when I googled that phrase while I I in San Diego, I got different results than when I did it when I was in Orange County.
  3.   Social Media – Google has been at odds with major social media players such as Facebook and Twitter mainly due to politics. But data shows that Google is looking more at social signals from the public pages in Facebook. We don’t know exactly what Google plan is for social in 2015 but introducing Google businesses allowing businesses to claim their social media channels, it seems that social signals are going play a larger role in Google’s rankings.
  4. Content  – Great content will remain essential and content will remain to be King in 2015. In order to succeed, businesses need to heavily invest in great content.  Great content isn’t only limited to text but also videos. Just remember that you add a little transcriptions for your videos too.  Just get creative when it comes to content so you can stay ahead. If you are creating great content, you are setting the norm not following it.
  5. Analytics – There are many SEOs who claim to do SEO by a just a few of them actually strategize according to available data. SEO should not be a one size fit all. For example one site may need better content, one size may need better backlinks, or one site may need code fixes. So dividing deep into your  Analytic tools enables you to form a customized SEO strategy for your particular website. Also having strong analytical skills, you can get better idea of what your audience need which can help you deliver what they need in order to get better results.

In summary, in 2015, SEO trends will continue change according to users behaviors. More users are now using their mobile devices, performing local searches and sharing great content on social media. If you like to be successful, you have to make sure you are on top of your game or permanently fall behind.

Need a little help with your 2015 SEO strategy? Let us help you. Contact us today and I personally make sure I lead your projects.

 

Adwords for Small Businesses

Many small businesses shy away from investing in Google adwords because of how expensive it can be. It is very true, adwords costs can be very expensive and unaffordable especially for small business with very limited budget. However I still advise small businesses to invest in Google adwords for the following reasons;