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Zenergy Works SEO Blog

Mobile-First Indexing and The REAL Effects On SEO

Mobile-First Indexing

Mobile-first Indexing was one of the biggest changes that Google has brought forth in the past year. Google is correct to acknowledge the explosion in mobile search queries and the need to force website owners to optimize for mobile search. As time has gone by, the practical methods of optimizing a website for mobile-first indexing. I will list a few that have worked for us in the past:

Search Queries 

have changed because of voice search and search habits of those looking for goods and services “near me”. Some of the searches that are now being emphasized are long-tail queries (ie. Best tire store for Goodyear tires), informational queries (ie. What is a mud and snow rated tire?), how do I searches (ie. How do I put snow chains on my car?), and local search (ie. Best tire store near me). According to Google, the fastest-growing types of queries are personal search (ie. How do I know when my car needs new tires?), and conversational search (ie. Can I buy tires online?). Personal search and conversational searches are growing because of the continued use of handheld devices to help us navigate our lives. No doubt, this trend will continue and is a vital need for websites to remain relevant moving ahead.

Relevant Content 

has always been the key to successful SEO. Content that is unique and valuable and addresses the needs of those searching for the keywords that you wish to feature is the key to being prominently featured in Google search results. The change in search queries has necessitated a different keyword research and content approach. Focus is now directed to the intent of search queries, understanding that intent, and fulfilling the need. Google has become much better at gauging whether or not website content fulfills the intent of the search. It is vitally important to watch the performance of website content on different devices. Searches vary depending on the type of device that is used for search. Mobile-first indexing does not mean that the search terms that are more relevant for desktop search should be eliminated, but rather that the content and search terms that apply best to mobile search should be added and constantly evaluated.

User Experience (UX) 

in the context of mobile-first indexing has become far more complex. The use of machine learning in search algorithms is designed to evaluate page performance and the level of engagement with searchers who find and use the page. With mobile search growing, the demands of having site content fulfill the needs of different searches on different devices with different intent become daunting. The practical solution seems to be a combination of identifying and prioritizing what searches are the most relevant to the core business of the company, and (taking a page from the paid marketing handbook) creating more landing pages to be certain to address the exact intent of the visitor to the page.

Google Algorithm Intent 

is the same: to deliver the best content that matches the intent of online searchers and remain relevant in an era of increased competition for the online space from internet giants like Amazon and Facebook. A close evaluation of recent algorithm changes is true to this original intent. The practical part of this is that SEO is now more complex and requires consideration of the intent and keyword use of different users on different devices. The key is to decide what is relevant to you. The intent of a typically older audience may be more or less relevant depending on the product offered and the positioning of that product. The technical aspects of SEO should not cause online marketers to lose sight of their target audience and the search intent of that audience. Most goods and services that are offered have a unique selling proposition, and taking the time to understand how search queries are designed to find this uniqueness is a key to SEO success in the new mobile-first search environment. 

Google’s Algo Intent Hasn’t Changed

Looked at a certain way, it could be said that Google’s desire to show users what they want to see has remained consistent. What has changed is the users’ age, what they desire, when they desire it and what device they desire it on. So the intent of Google’s algorithm likely remains the same.

The mobile-first index can be seen as a logical response to how users have changed. It’s backward to think of it as Google forcing web publishers to adapt to Google.What’s happening is that web publishers must adapt to how their users have changed.

Ultimately that is the best way to think of the mobile-first index. Not as a response to what Google wants but to approach the problem as a response to the evolving needs of the user.

Latest Major Google Algorithm Update: BERT

Spoiler Alert: This is meant to be an “executive summary” designed to explain why the latest major Google algorithm update may be affecting your rankings. However, we in the SEO industry have seen wide fluctuations in rankings. So far, all of our rankings have come back at least once, but we continue to see volatility in rankings and traffic.

My Best Advice is to review your content and wait it out!

What is the BERT Algorithm?

Google has open sourced this technology, and others have created variations of BERT.”

The BERT algorithm (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is a deep learning algorithm related to natural language processing. It helps a machine to understand what words in a sentence mean, but with all the nuances of context. In other words, it is evaluating text for better responses to search for words that sound the same but have different meanings (ie. Too and Two) or words that are the same but have different meanings (ie. Sand (the substance) and Sand (the verb)). This is clearly applicable to improving voice search and therefore, impacts not only core keywords, but also long-tailed keywords in SEO.

BERT And On Page SEO

BERT will certainly not help sites with poorly defined or poorly written content. Again, another sign that in the eyes of Google, “content is King”. Google’s BERT Update improves how Google understands search queries. BERT analyzes search queries, not web pages. On Page SEO becomes more important in terms of using words in precise ways. Poorly organized and written content may not be helped by the Google BERT update.

You Cannot Optimize For BERT

Danny Sullivan of Google, who used to and SEO expert in the private sector and seems to be a pretty straight shooter is quoted as follows:

“There’s nothing to optimize for with BERT, nor anything for anyone to be rethinking. The fundamentals of us seeking to reward great content remain unchanged.”

Conclusion: BERT is an extremely complex and advanced piece of machine learning. I would not presume to be able to describe it in anything but the most broad of terms, and that is what I have done here.

Facts:

  1.  Most, if not all, of the websites that we work on are experiencing fluctuations, if not major fluctuations, in rankings over the past couple of weeks. All have returned to former rankings at least temporarily during this time. All of them have custom content.
  2. Google will continue to take steps to ensure that websites that have great rankings also possess great content. This is nothing new in policy, but may be raising the bar in standards.
  3. I have rarely seen a client who did not gain the rewards of an improved content strategy. Those rewards come in terms of search engine placement, increased traffic, increased engagement and increased conversion. There is no practical reason to try to outsmart an algorithm-provide unique and valuable content to your users.

Website Design: Wireframe v. Mockup v. Prototype

Wireframe v. Mockup v. Prototype

If you are having a website (or mobile app) designed for your business, you will hear the terms wireframe, mockup for sure, and for more advanced applications, prototype.  It is helpful in defining your design process to understand the basic difference between these tools that will help you to successfully design a website that reflects your brand.

Note: Most of these terms also apply to the design of mobile apps, but I have chosen not to make that a focus of this article.

Web Development Building Concept Art

Wireframe

A wireframe is like the blueprint for your website.  It outlines the most essential elements and the content without the website theme, photos or specific content.  A good wireframe will help to outline the elements that you wish to include in your website reveals “the big picture” for the website design.  Specifically, the wireframe is a basic representation of the layout of the website and the placement of content. Wireframes are relatively easy to create and can be used to get feedback on the structure of your site from team members, customers, etc before investing the time in a full design. The wireframe also creates a focus on website structure without the distraction of graphics, colors and photos.

There are too many wireframe and collaborative tools to mention, but Figma provides a complete solution for all of the tasks outlined here.

Mockup

A mockup is a visual way of representing a website design. While a wireframe mostly represents website structure, a mockup is a static graphic showing what the website will look like.

A mockup shows a website’s color scheme, visual style, typography, and photos. With a mockup, you can review and revise the visual representation of the product to create the best representation for your brand. A mockup tool that is suitable for most applications is available at Invision.

Prototype

A prototype is a clickable version of the website and allows those evaluating the new website design to experience content and interactions live. A prototype is very much like the final product itself, except that the front end and backend of the website are not fully tied together.

Tha prototype is interactive and allows those who are testing the website to experience the interface and fine tune the user interface. 

Conclusion

Not every website has a wireframe, mockup and prototype.  Most websites definitely have a mockup approved prior to building the site, and wireframes are common tools in site development, but prototypes are rarely used in website design projects unless the functionality of the site is central to the performance of the site.  The old saying of “measuring twice and cutting once” applies to website design and development. Using the correct tools to fully understand the look, feel and UI (User Interface) of a new website will help to ensure that the final outcome of the site accurately and effectively represents your brand.

5 Ways to Speed Up WordPress Mobile Load Time

Wordpress Mobile Load Time

We work mainly in WordPress for our clients, and we have seen a swift and direct connection between improving mobile load speed and placement on Google and increased traffic.  Search Engines clearly favor fast loading sites and these sites have the added bonus of improving user experience.

Most SEO experts agree that a key component in search engine ranking factors is a fast loading mobile website.  The solutions that we use to speed up mobile load time (after checking and making sure that the server environment does not require an upgrade) are as follows:

Use a lightweight WordPress theme and framework

WordPress themes that contain animation, social icons and widgets can be appealing to many users.  We use a custom theme for our development. A child theme is used to customize the site for any design format. This allows us to have full control over the build and has helped us adjust quickly to changing Google algorithms.

Too many elements will definitely cause your mobile load time to slow down.  We generally create custom themes that use a Bootstrap framework, which provides a great way to speed up WordPress. 

Minify JS and CSS files

Minifying JS and CSS files is accomplished by reducing the number of CSS and JS calls and the size of those files.  This can dramatically improve the mobile load speed of your website. The most popular plug in for this is Autoptimize. This plug in helps optimize CSS, JS and even HTML of your WordPress site.  We also use a paid plug in called WP-Rocket which will not only minify CSS and Java Script files, but also help with caching.

Reduce image sizes

Images are the major contributors to size increment of a given webpage. The trick is to reduce the size of the images without compromising on the quality.  We generally manually optimize the images using Photoshop, but this process will be time consuming for some. We have also used an online compressor called Compressor.io.  Currently, again we use WP-Rocket as a one stop shop to handle some of the heavy lifting in compressing photos.

Using any of the above mentioned methods or plugins on your WordPress site will reduce image sizes while maintaining image quality, thus improving the speed of your website without sacrificing user experience.

Use WordPress caching mechanisms

WordPress caching plugins like W3 Total Cache and WP-Rocket have been there for a long time, making the complex tasks of adding caching rules to your website elements easier. We also use NGINX in proxy mode to load the static files from cache. It reduces server load.

Deactivate or uninstall plugins

Retaining unused plugins on your WordPress website will slow down your site load time. It is better to get rid of the plugins that you don’t use, along with any old posts, spam comments or other old data that is no longer relevant to user experience or the operation of the website.  We have found that Lazy Loading images, applying GZip compression and Browser Cache settings carry more weight than the plugins and pingbacks. Those are important best practices, but Google is currently downgrading the speed score pretty heavily when you don’t have Lazy Loading and compression/caching set.

WP-Rocket also does Lazy Loading. That’s one of the reasons we went with it, it’s gives us a 3-for-1 deal (lazy loading, caching, minify).

Conclusion

Improving Mobile load time will help to create a positive user experience on your website. We have done this for numerous clients, and virtually every one of them has also enjoyed better rankings in the search engines.  Some favorite tools for checking your mobile load time are:

  1. Think With Google Mobile Speed Test
  2. GTMetrix Pagespeed and GTMetrix YSlow

Google has also come out with their new Measure tool (https://web.dev/measure) for scoring performance, accessibility, best practices and SEO. The other speed tests that Google provides have started using the measure engine to calculate the scores on their other tools.

Eric Van Cleave is CEO and Digital Director of Zenergy Works. A Santa Rosa, California based SEO and Digital Marketing Firm.  In this blog post, as in life, he has relied heavily upon the advice and experience of Alex Macondray, CTO of Zenergy Works, and Karina Flores, the Lead SEO Technician of Zenergy Works.

SEO in 2019

SEO in 2019

Google and its Algorithm Updates

Just last year, Google had released a number of algorithm updates. With Google changing so frequently, one thing we can not ignore is: User Experience is important. By the end of 2018, Google released a number of algorithm updates: Mobile first indexing and Pagespeed, to name a few. User experience was huge in 2018 and we can see it being a huge part in 2019 as well.

So, what should we focus on this year?

Mobile First Indexing and the Importance of Pagespeed

With the world being at the tip of our fingers, mobile devices have become a huge part of our daily lives. This Statistics Portal, Statista.com, shows an increase in mobile local search queries from 2014 to 2019. In 2014, the usage of mobile around the united states was at roughly 66 Billion and in 2019, increased to 141 billion. That’s a little over 40% increase in mobile search! Don’t be surprised when Mobile completely takes over the world.

Google rolled out its Mobile First Indexing in 2018, and webmasters began to receive a “Mobile-first indexing enabled” messages. With this algorithm update, Google is now considering the mobile version of your website to be the REAL version. It is important that in 2019, you are optimizing for Mobile First Indexing.

Mobile First Indexing

Increase your websites Pagespeed: It’s that Important

Who doesn’t love a fast loading website? (Everyone. Everyone loves a fast website). Around July, Google released its Pagespeed update, which affected rankings of the more slow mobile websites. Again, user experience is major! It either makes you or breaks you. If your websites loading time is lagging and a visitor can’t access your website quickly enough, Google can drop you. In a 2018 research by Google, they said that 53% of mobile users left when a website took more than THREE seconds to load…THREE SECONDS. A slow loading website makes for a bad user experience. So get up to speed!

Mobile Page Speed

Content and EAT

You may have heard about EAT by now. Google had released this core update around August, 2018. So what’s with this new Acronym? Well, EAT is the metric by which Google ranks a page and has become such an important factor. So, What does E – A – T Stand for? Expertise – Authority – Trustworthy.

Content is so important now! So it’s crucial that your content can reflect who you are and what your website is about.

You are an expert in your field, which means you are the authority! Show your visitors that they can trust you!

Clickbait is the WORST. No one likes to be tricked into clicking on something that is irrelevant to what they searched. If your content is nothing but spam and doesn’t hold any valuable information, chances are the user will be quick to leave. Googles Rank Brain will note that and can begin to drop you since they have determined that you don’t have any valuable information to offer possible new users.

SEO Expertise - Authority - Trustworthy

UX is Very Important in the world of Google!

This sounds like a lot of work right? Well, that’s because it is. At Zenergy Works, we pride ourselves in the work we put in to each project and we work hard as a team to meet Google’s standards. From the web development to SEO. Let Zenergy take the hard Work off your hands.

For Pricing Please Call

707-360-1402

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5 (Now 4) Search Engine Result Page Changes in 2018

In 2018, Google released several SERP (Search Engine Results Page) display updates. Along with the rash of Google core algorithm updates, 4 of these 5 updates changed the look and feel of Google SERPs significantly. The traditional text-only SERPs are gone and have been replaced by featured snippets, video, images, knowledge graphs and related products. SEO experts have been challenged to develop strategies to take advantage of these changes by creating and optimizing these different content types.

1.Mobile First Indexing.

The mobile first indexing update was designed to address increased utilization of mobile content and ensure that the mobile speed were taken into account for the SERP.  The mobile page speed update takes into account the page loading speed for mobile results and dictates that Googlebot will only crawl and index the mobile version of a page. Creating mobile pages that only load quickly and have keywords at the top of each page and creating alt tags for all photos is a key. Responsive websites require that javascript and css by compressed or minified.  Another solution is to utilize AMP (accelerated mobile pages) which are an open source asset.

2. Featured Snippets And Knowledge Panels

Starting in late 2017, Google made changes to the configuration. Featured Snippets were expanded, Knowledge Panels improved, and suggested content was also featured more prominently. All three of these elements align with user intent and improve the user’s search experience.  Most featured snippets are triggered by long-tail keywords. This content is designed to provide an answer the searcher’s question directly within the SERPs. There are several kinds of featured snippets: bullet points, tables, numbered and paragraphs.  Paragraph types are the most prevalent category of featured snippets. These snippets usually provide answers to question queries, such as “how to,” “what is,” or “why is.”

Google leverages Google Maps or Google My Business listings for knowledge panels.

Knowledge panels can feature images, facts, social media links, and related searches.

3. Related Products

Google has also started providing related products represented by clickable logo links within the SERPS.   Google has not defined how they are selecting these featured products. We can say for certain that they are striving to deliver the best search suggestion. They take the user behavior and intent into account to generate the best SERP.  Interlinking and a strong display of expertise, authority and trustworthiness (E-A-T) are the best strategies to suggest for placement in the Related Products section of Google SERP.

4. Video Display

A very noticeable change in the SERPs in June of 2018 has been the inclusion of video carousel.  The video carousels compete with organic results for SERP space and can appear next to any combination of other features. The the vast majority of the accompanying URLs are from YouTube.  That said accompanying URLs is another element that is changing.  Now Google is actually giving preference to videos featured on websites instead of Vimeo or YouTube.

5. Increased Length of Text and Titles – NOT!

Google changed 2 parameters here.  The character limit was increased and then a core algorithm update was done that restored the older character limits. A lot of webmasters put a lot of work into gaining benefit from this change, only to find the work was for naught.  

Conclusion:

It is clear that Google is accepting the challenge of being (and remaining) the planet’s #1 Search Engine.  The changes that remain in place are clearly designed to deliver a more complete SERP experience for search engine users.  The benefit to digital marketing is more ways to reach potential website visitors and potential customers, in different ways.

Eric Van Cleave is CEO and Digital Director for Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa California based Digital Marketing Agency

The One Vertical, One Geo Policy

Or: Why We Do Not (Usually) Do SEO/Paid Search For 2 Competing Businesses in The Same Geographic Area

Local SEO Map and Pin

At Zenergy Works, we have a policy not to work with competing businesses in the same geographic target market, unless they both give us permission to do so. Yes, this has cost us business over the years, and is not, from what I can determine, the norm in the digital marketing industry. We tried to avoid this policy in the early years of our firm by assigning different account managers to competing businesses, and by creating an internal firewall of information, but in the end, we concluded that local SEO is becoming more difficult as time goes on; effective content, strategy, and online brand representation becomes more critical not only for SERP (Search Engine Results Page) placement but also for conversion, and we could only focus on one competitor in an area.  

The competitors who give permission for us to work with each other generally are in competitive industries and feel that the “frenemy” that they allow us to work with is at least doing a quality job of providing services and is a credit to the industry in their competitive area.  The bottom line is, if they cannot have the customer, they would much rather the customer go to the preferred competitor and not grow to hate the entire industry. There are 3 other major factors behind our policy: the increasingly limited room that Google gives on page 1 for local listings and paid results, the fact that we are most effective when we work with a client as an integral part of the team, and that each of our clients deserves to have a brand and approach to their customers that is as unique as possible in their relevant market.


Give Me A Little Room.

Search Engine Results Page Concept

Google has been gradually reducing the number of search results on the first page of search results.  This has affected the percentage of paid v. organic search clicks and made it tougher for local businesses to optimize their search position without paid search.  See the excerpt from Blue Corona below:

“Google AdWords results receive 65% of the clicks that started with buying keywords, while organic results only receive 35 percent (Craig McConnel) Businesses make an average of $2 in income for every $1 they spend in AdWords. (Google) On average, 41% of clicks go to the top 3 paid ads on the search results page.”

How can I work to optimize return and position for 2 clients bidding on the same keyword and attempting to chase decreasing organic clicks?  Organic clicks typically, in our experience, deliver a higher CTR (click through ratio) and have a much lower bounce rate than paid ads.  We prefer to make decisions that will benefit our client without worrying about the effect of those decisions on other clients.


We Are On The Same Team. 

It used to be that SEO was done pretty much by the numbers.  Get some keyword research showing the most popular search terms, create some content with good text to code ratio, build some decent inbound links and placement, traffic and then business improves.  Now it’s tougher to rank for everything, and user experience is the biggest single factor in rankings.  Strategic keyword decisions need to be made and these decisions need to be tied to most popular products that have the highest profit margins and fit the “wheelhouse” of the client.  A lot more knowledge about the client and their products or services is required to be an effective digital marketer.  I want my clients to know that I am not using my knowledge of their goals, strategies, and objectives to help their competition.  I can be a valued and trusted member of the team if I am only working for that team.


Come On In, There’s Plenty of Room. 

There are many website development and digital marketing firms that specialize in certain verticals and take on as many clients as they can in a market area.  They can leverage their knowledge and experience in the business of their clients to more efficiently build websites and market on behalf of the client.  It’s hard to argue some of the benefits of these firms, but we have a different approach based on the following qualities of our clients:

Website Design Concept
  1. Each client is unique.  They have different branding, USPs (Unique Sales Propositions), specialties, approaches, and manners of finding and serving their clients.  This requires getting to know these aspects of the client’s business and spending the time to tailor a plan that fits the client’s business.  We find that once this happens, conversion increases, but prospective customers find the same approach that prompted them to contact the client when they come to do business with that client.
  2. Each client needs to stand out in their market.  Your website needs to look different, and not just in color and logo, but in the way that the client explains their business and how it will benefit the customer’s needs. 
  3. All our clients are cost-conscious, but the cost is not that different in the long run.  Of course, there is more initial time and money in setting up a campaign that takes all the unique aspects of a business and delivers an individual message to a specific target audience.  Over time, we have seen our clients reap the benefits of “measuring twice and cutting once”.

Conclusion.  As I go back and read this, it sounds a bit like I am selling something.   That is not really my intent.  My intent is to explain why we take the “one vertical, one geo” approach with our clients.  I believe that there are advantages for most clients in making their digital marketing firm part of their team, and being able to trust that the information that is given to that firm will not be reflected in the digital marketing plans of any of their competitors unless they choose to make that the case. Eric Van Cleave is CEO and Digital Director for Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa, California Digital Marketing Firm.

Google Algorithm Updates in 2019

How do SEO practitioners, or self-titled SEOs know when Google has an algorithm update? Usually, it is by “listening” online for the collective groan and angst from their peers.  Like Gamblers in a high stakes game, it is often feast or famine. Their clients might rank in position number four on the first page of SERP (Search Engine Results Page) on a specific day, and the next day, they may have dropped to position 12 or bumped up to position 1.

Our research shows that so far in 2019, significant algorithm updates occurred on or about January 9th, 13th, and 20th.  Most, but not all, third-party tracking tools that monitor Google search results have shown significant volatility in SERP rankings around the dates specified above. Here is a screenshot from SEM Rush Sensor Rankings Graph:

Google Algorithm Updates in 2019

Google usually does not confirm or comment on specific updates and commonly states that “improvements” to the search algorithms are happening constantly.  Google has told us numerous times that with core algorithm updates that there is no fix.  I disagree with the “no fix” statement-you can work harder to comply with Google’s Content Guidelines, which have been published by Google and seem to be a reasonable approach to gaining rankings.

Conclusion.

Google will continue to make changes at will. The only absolute consistency in SEO or any digital marketing is change.  Knowing the reason for rankings changes is helpful in maintaining a “big picture” perspective on your online marketing.  The only way to try to stay ahead of the curve is to work consistently to improve your website.   Hard work and providing a good user experience is the only way to improve rankings.

Eric Van Cleave is the CEO of Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa California Digital Marketing Agency and Website Design Firm.

How Should PPC and SEO Work Together?

It sounds easy to get PPC and SEO to work together, but creating an effective joint strategy can be challenging. I will outline some proven strategies on how these two platforms can work together.

1. Keyword Research. We have great tools, but many companies effectively use their PPC campaigns to test and perfect new keyword streams and approaches before writing SEO copy and implementing new SEO pages on their websites.

2. Effective PPC Ads = Better Meta Descriptions. Meta descriptions can be tricky to write and have a major effect on click-throughs from effective SEO placement. Using copy techniques from PPC ads that enjoy high click through ratios in meta descriptions is a proven technique to improve search traffic.

PPC and SEO Work Together

3. Browser Device Variations. It has become a challenge to track search results through all browser and device variations. PPC allows results to be more consistent and ensure top placement across the board for the most important Keyword Streams. Many online marketers tend to pause keyword streams that enjoy top 3 rankings on the first page of organic results, but the consistency of top page results makes this challenging.

4. SEO Pages Make Great PPC Landing Pages. Copy that is added for vital SEO Keywords on your website make great PPC landing pages. In theory, SEO pages should be designed for maximum conversion and should naturally improve quality scores for PPC keyword targets. This will not work in all instances but is a solid strategy for most clients, especially small and medium-sized businesses with limited online marketing resources.

5. Branded Results. Showing up #1 in search for your company name is a given, but does that justify turning off branded search in PPC? Maybe not, especially if you have a generic search term as your business name, ie. Quality Auto Repair. Do not let a competitor sneak into primary position for your customers just looking for your phone number. Many clients are concerned about maintaining top of page position for mobile search users. In that case, simply turn off desktop search in your campaign.

6. Organic v. PPC Rankings/Conversion. Despite the concerns voiced in #3 above, I would recommend using tools like SEM Rush to find placement reports for organic v. paid search. If organics are not ranking for paid search terms that are converting for you, it indicates that more effort should be placed into organic placement for these terms. In contrast, consideration should be given to pausing or constricting results by designating “exact match” for paid search terms that are not converting where organic placement is strong. You will want to search a sampling of the rankings found by automated services with manual search to ensure that placement is accurate.

The key is balancing your paid spend and efforts to gain organic placement to ensure that you have placement in the searches that will drive qualified customers to your business. Using paid and organic search strategies together will improve relevant search traffic and optimize online marketing investment.

Eric Van Cleave is Managing Partner of Zenergy Works, a Santa Rosa California based online marketing firm.

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Mobile Page Speed Algorithm Update

Google has announced a new ranking algorithm that will downgrade the search rankings of slow loading mobile pages. Google stated that the new algorithm will go into effect in the Summer of 2018.

The search engine giant went on to state that the algorithm change “will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users” and that it “will only affect a small percentage of queries.” Google has said for a long time only really slow pages have to worry about a downgrade in their rankings for speed. According to this blog post, there is no ranking improvement for being fast, just a downgrade for being really slow.

Mobile Page Speed Algorithm Update

Google says you can measure your page speed multiple ways and they are not sharing a specific, single metric to know if your site was hit by this algorithm update or not. Because the update will be algorithmic, not manual, it will not even show up in webmaster tools.

Most SEOs, including Zenergy Works, routinely use Google’s mobile speed test to evaluate mobile load time. Most responsive websites cannot achieve top speed scores, but come in at “fair” or higher. My best guess is that “fair” would not result in a rankings downgrade, but this situation will require further review as the algorithm roles out.
Eric Van Cleave is the CEO of Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa, California (SEO) Search Engine Optimization and Online Marketing Firm.