Tag Archives: Search Engine Optimization

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.

Happy Halloween from Zenergy Works!

A slightly early, but very Happy Halloween from the Zenergy Works team! We received some pumpkins in the mail from Google last week for being Google Partners, so naturally teammate Tim Wilson took matters into his own hands to create a Google-worthy pumpkin. It was quite the process.

Tim Pumpkin Zenergy

With all the creepiness and spooky stories circulating at this time of year, this seems like a good time to reflect on some of the scariest internet marketing stories we know.

The Cryptic Case of Keyword Stuffing!

One night, a young entrepreneur hears about a little something called “search engine optimization.” After a ten-minute research session, he decides he has everything he needs. He starts writing, and popping in keywords, and underlining, and bolding, and hyperlinking like mad. In a feverish frenzy, mad with his newfound power, he begins typing, “My business is the best business to provide you with business in Business Town” over, and over, and over again. It’s only then that he realizes he can’t stop. He types, and types, and types until he collapses, stone dead. But his hands don’t stop, can’t stop.

The Web Design of Terror!

There’s a place that no one goes. It’s whispered in secret among the locals, traded like Tweets amongst schoolchildren. They call it The Worst Website In The World. It’s rumored that if you type it into your URL bar, you’ll be exposed to a clashing color scheme so horrific that GeoCities would run away screaming in agony. The navigation will trick you, luring you into a maze of dead links and missing pages. The calendar hasn’t been updated since 2006. If you gaze upon it, the image of low-resolution, vacant smiles will be burned into your mind’s eye forever. If you say its name three times in front of a computer monitor, the poorly-drawn mascot will crawl out and kick your dog. Beware!

Social Media Meltdown in Hades!

The rain came down hard, beating against the windows of a business owner who was feeling very irritated with a certain Yelp review. Moments before, the review had sunk its teeth into his thumb, infecting him with a rage that grew larger every second. “You’re wrong!” he screamed at the screen, banging at his keyboard with a ferocity never before seen in his store. Browsing customers shrank away, fleeing for the exits. Once it started, the fire burning inside consumed him. He took his fury to Facebook, then Twitter, then the blogs clamoring for interviews, telling the world that he wouldn’t stand for a smear campaign. His eyes glowed red as coals. “You’ll never ruin me! NEVER!” he cried as the floor opened up to swallow him into darkness.

Yikes. That got pretty scary. Have a pumpkin to make up for it. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Google Pumpkin

What’s New For October 10, 2013 – Hummingbird, Product Descriptions, Ad Revenue

New Hummingbird Google Algorithm Update Complicates SEO

On October 1st, Google announced a rewritten algorithm called Hummingbird. The announcement stated that the new algorithm was released a month or so ago. Google is being extremely tight-lipped about the update and its exact effect on rankings, but we know that longer-tailed keyword streams that relate to searches for specific useful content, social shares, and the longer search phrases that occur in voice search, as well as Google Authorship, are key components of the change.

Google claims that these changes should not affect rankings, and we have not seen rankings affected for our clients, but the chatter online continues to focus on the changes on August 24th and September 12th related to this update.

Google Hummingbird

Product Descriptions: Not Necessarily Unique Content?

Product descriptions, which have been shared amongst numerous ecommerce sites for years and have been re-written to be unique content by many SEO firms and webmasters, may not need to be unique, according to recent comments from Google’s John Mueller during Google Webmaster Hangout. If you jump about 20 minutes into the video, you will hear the following:

“Let’s say a company uses product descriptions on their own site and at the same time provides the descriptions via a database to official retailers who might reuse them on their website. How can correct content attribution / ownership be ensured?”

John answered that in these cases, Google doesn’t look into the ownership of the content. See the comments below:

“So, for example, if there’s an online store that’s selling a book, and it’s selling it worldwide, and there’s also a local bookstore that’s selling the same book and on the site they have the same description as the big general online store, and if we can recognize that a user wants to find local content, then maybe we’ll show them the local version.

And if we can recognize that the user doesn’t want to find just local content but something maybe they can buy online, then maybe we’ll show them the global version…

So it’s not something where we’d say that if you wrote this product description your site will always be ranking for queries for that product description, but rather we’ll try to show them the appropriate version that matches what we think the user is looking for.”

This changes the focus from unique product descriptions in ecommerce to content that identifies the site as the best response for that search in the scope of what the searcher is seeking.

Internet Advertising Bureau: Digital Ad Revenues and Search Revenue Up From Last Year

Total digital ad revenue in the United States for the first six months of 2013 was just under $20.1 billion, versus $17 billion in the same period of 2012. Mobile ad spending represented 15 percent of the total. Search revenues were up to $8.7 billion, a 7% increase from last year. The full results are broken out below:

Digital Ad RevenueBottom Line: Is Google making organic search so difficult to optimize that the cost will become prohibitive for most small to medium sized businesses? Will PPC and Display ads, along with social media and other strategies, overtake SEO? This is a trend that bears watching as businesses continue to improve tracking of their metrics and the return on investment from their online ad dollars.

Eric Van Cleave is a Partner in Zenergy Works, a Santa Rosa, California based SEO, Website Development and Online Marketing Firm.

What’s New for September 27, 2013 – Organic Search, Mobile Design, Click-To-Call

Google Not Provided Organic Search Queries

Good SEO has just become even more difficult. Google has secured ALL searches in their organic search query referrer data to go completely 100% “not provided.” In other words, Google Analytics can no longer track keyword data. General search term volume data can still be obtained from Google Webmaster Tools and Google Adwords, but the information necessary to “fine tune” and SEO campaign will be more difficult to obtain.

Google is saying that this is to protect the privacy of online users. Many think that this move simply means that Google has more data about the performance of your website than you do. SEO firms will continue to march on.

Organic Search Inquiries

Photo Credit: Guudmorning! via Compfight cc

Mobile Design Colors Matter

A well-designed website and online marketing presence has become a key part of a successful marketing plan for most, if not all, businesses. As the use of smartphones and tablets increases, a mobile presence is becoming more important. Most firms either employ responsive design or design a separate mobile site as a miniature, simplified version of their desktop site. There are some additional considerations when designing a successful mobile web site.

  1. Most companies want their mobile web design to copy their desktop design. It’s important that the sites are similar, but not identical. The mobile site should have its own identity.
  2. The color scheme for a desktop site may be able to get away with a bolder and more varied design than that of a mobile site because desktop computers and monitors have a greater capacity for loading and viewing design elements. Make sure that desktop design elements replicate well to a mobile site and do not create significant load time problems. Also be wary of background images that may impede loading or be visually confusing on a mobile site.

Color choices are becoming more critical because of the demands placed by numerous website viewing environments. Web designers will have to be careful to choose colors and designs that will lend themselves to a website that will create a consistent look and feel across both mobile and desktop environments.

Study: Majority of Mobile Callers are Ready to Buy

A new survey of smartphone users conducted by IPSOS on behalf of Google states that 61% of survey respondents say that “click-to-call is most important in the purchase phase of the shopping process.” And 70 percent of respondents said they had used the “call button” in Google search results. This means companies without click-to-call buttons, or at least listed phone numbers, will lose business to their competitors. Calling is an efficient way to get information from a business, especially from a mobile phone. This is especially critical in the buying phase, as illustrated by the chart below:

Mobile Click to CallMore detailed information on this study can be obtained here.

Bottom Line: Google continues to make Organic SEO more difficult and Adwords more accessible and easy to use. Mobile continues to be increasingly important, both in design and making sure the ease of use is optimized for a mobile website visitor. SEO firms will continue to raise their game to meet the challenges of the new environment.

Eric Van Cleave is a Partner in Zenergy Works, A Santa Rosa, California SEO, Responsive Website Design, and Online Marketing Firm.

It’s Okay to Ask for Help with Internet Marketing

You may be at the point where you need a little (or a lot of) help with internet marketing. Many people don’t like to admit they’ve reached this point because, for whatever reason, anything done on the internet is still regarded as some combination of easy, unnecessary, or unimportant. This could not possibly be further from the truth.

We could list you off all of the various statistics about modern consumer internet use, but it’s likely you’ve heard it all before, so we’ll spare you. Here’s an infographic illustrating internet usage if you’re interested. Suffice to say that you cannot avoid it any longer. You can’t pretend it doesn’t affect your business and you can’t pretend people aren’t really influenced by what they find online.



Let’s break down these misconceptions real quick-like.

Myth: Internet Marketing is Easy

There’s a prevalent attitude that help with internet marketing is an unneeded expense because it’s all a bunch of smoke and mirrors, or posting on Twitter, or bolding the words you want search engines to find. Any teenage kid can do it, right? No. Search engines and other methods of locating you online have become exceedingly advanced. There are a million rules to abide by; dozens of approaches and experiments to test. If you’re not working with someone who knows what they’re doing, it could actively harm your web ranking.

Besides… if this were easy, everyone would be an expert and no one would be struggling to be found online. Sadly, this is not the case.

Myth: Internet Marketing Isn’t Necessary

Yes, it is. If you don’t have a website or are difficult to find online, you are quite literally losing business. Depending on your line of work, it can be anywhere from a few customers to lots of potential new clients. A huge percentage of consumers are now going online first to research businesses, read reviews, and perform a local search for nearby services. This is how people are finding new things to try today. If you’re not paying attention to your online properties, your name won’t be coming up in those searches. Or worse… it’ll come up with a dozen bad reviews you didn’t know you had. The things people say about your business online matter.

Whenever you’re ready to ask for help with internet marketing, you have options available. It’s always best to work with a professional agency or an internal hire that has been vetted through references. If you don’t know much about online marketing, it’s easy to be snowed by fancy buzzwords and someone claiming to be an “expert.” Because internet marketing is still a relatively new field, nearly anyone can claim to be a self-taught guru. References  from clients or previous employers are vital.

Zenergy Works happens to be such a full-service agency, and we provide services ranging from web design to local SEO services. We’re good at what we do, but we hardly expect you to just take our word for it. Give us a call, stop by our offices, or check up on our track record.

Stephanie Wargin is the Social Media Strategist at Zenergy Works, a web design and SEO company located in Santa Rosa, California. Her friends like to brush her hair into her eyes whenever she talks about Facebook.

Happy Holidays From Zenergy Works!

Happy Holidays from the team at Zenergy Works!   We appreciate that you trust us with your important Web Development, SEO and Online Marketing Projects.

Zenergy Works will not be at full staffing from December 21st-January 3rd as we all take turns enjoying the Holiday Season with Family and Friends.  Please give us a little extra time to respond to your needs.  We promise we will honor your patience with a response!

We look forward to having you join us in a very Happy, and Successful 2013!

Bottom Line:  Happy Holidays to all and Wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Productive New Year!

Eric and The Zenergy Works Team

Happy Holidays from Zenergy Works

Our Team will be taking a break from Designing, Developing and Optimizing for the Thanksgiving Holiday on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, and the Day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 23rd. We will also be closed for the Christmas Holiday on Monday, December 24th for Christmas Eve and Tuesday the 25th for Christmas Day. We will also be closed on New Year’s Day, January 1st, 2013.

Please allow me to wish you all a Joyful Holiday Season from all of us at Zenergy Works. We have enjoyed a happy and prosperous 2012 and we will be striving to have 2013 bring more of the same. We also wish all of you happiness and good fortune in the coming New Year.

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