The premier episode of the #AuthorityHoA went live on June 24th with featured guests Dr. Pete Meyers from Moz and Cindy Krum from Mobile Moxie, and hosted by Melissa Fach, produced by Michelle Stinson Ross, and color commentary from AuthorityLabs CEO, Chase Granberry.
Pete is the Marketing Scientist at Moz. He is well known in the SEO industry as the guy to go to when the SERPs are changing to get answers. In fact, see his post today The Colossus Update: Waking The Giant.
Cindy is perhaps the top expert in mobile marketing today. People travel far and wide to hear her speak on the subject. Cindy’s insights in this hangout, combined with Pete’s, will be valuable to any business today. The AuthorityLabs team discussed changes in the mobile SERPs, what businesses need to do to remain competitive in search and more.
Melissa Fach: Pete and Cindy, what kind of impact have you seen from April’s mobile algorithm update? Has there been a true impact on mobile rankings?
The answer to that depends on the industry. Some sets of results chanced dramatically, especially in segments that also compete with mobile apps. Other market segments demonstrated very little change in rankings as a result of the Google mobile algorithm update. The big shift had more to do with the number of mobile friendly sites by the launch date compared to the number before the announcement of the update. Dr. Pete indicated that prior to Google’s warnings to get your mobile act together, fewer than two thirds of search results in mobile were “mobile friendly.” Since the release of the mobile algorithm update they are seeing up to 80% of results showing up as “mobile friendly.”
MF: Cindy, can you elaborate on the app side of things, please?
If your business is centered around keywords that are also commonly used in the App Store or in Google Play, searches for those terms were affected to a greater degree by the mobile algorithm updated. The way the App Pack displays in mobile search can push even first place organic rankings way below the fold and causing businesses to not only compete for placement with similar businesses but also with Google’s media rich results.
MF: Do you feel this update has or will hurt the small business owner in the long run?
Cindy indicated that small local businesses that were already doing a great job of their local SEO should have seen very little change in mobile rankings even after the release of the update in April. For them it’s not so much about having a mobile friendly site as it is about getting proper placement in Local Packs and interactive location cards in mobile search results. Again the media rich results that Google places before organic results are the prime spots to land. For local businesses, that has far more to do with local SEO than mobile SEO.
Dr. Pete did, however, warn small businesses that while local SEO may have given them a reprieve for now, updating their web presence to mobile friendly will still be critical over the long run. Small businesses need to keep in mind that there is a continuing shift toward multi-device and cross-device use and a much richer way of accessing search in general.
MF: How much of search is now mobile vs. desktop?
Dr. Pete commented that although Google reports that searches are about 50% mobile and 50% desktop, it’s not actually an either or proposition. Desktop searches have not declined in favor of mobile search. While the number of searches has remained about the same on desktop devices, the number of mobile searches has increased to catch up with desktop. So rather than the number of searches remaining the same and more of those searches happening on mobile, what is actually happening is an overall increase in search volume with mobile making up the difference.
Here’s what’s key, although businesses are not losing business with a shift away from desktop, since that search volume remains the same, those same businesses are missing out on the new opportunities represented by the increases in search on mobile. Dr. Pete cautions businesses not to be lulled into felling that since they are not losing desktop traffic that mobile is not quite as important to their online operations.
Dr. Pete also reminded us that App Pack results are quite common and those results in affect kill a valued organic placement by pushing them off of page one the results in mobile search. Cindy pointed out that along with the App Pack, there are also carousel results that will present other less directly related content like Wikipedia and YouTube videos toward the bottom of the first page.
MF: What other crazy things are you seeing in mobile SERPs?
Along with the App Packs, Local Packs, and various content carousels, Cindy also highlighted instances of branded boxes for certain large sites with deep links and a mobile app that highlight that particular brand, like Urban Spoon or Pinterest, and provide the install button there in the search results.
There are also instances where a Knowledge Graph answer box will trigger some longer descriptions for organic results as well as doubled information with the organic result that won the knowledge graph box at the top of the page.
For Dr. Pete the oddities are a result of Google’s drive for mobile first development. The snack packs and carousels are now developed for mobile search first and then pushed to desktop. Those same packs display in weird sorts of ways on desktop. There is also a divergence in how much more engaging these media rich displays are on mobile versus desktop. The features that you see on desktop are displaying as much more appealing in mobile search.
There is much more we asked Cindy and Dr. Pete about, but you will have to watch and listen to the rest of the hangout at the bottom of this post to learn more.
Be sure to mark your calendars now and join us for the next #AuthorityHoA to discuss Local SEO with Loren Baker and Andrew Shotland on Wednesday July 8th.