released January 19, 2021
(recorded January 12, 2021) - 1 hour, 25 minutes
Some Important SEO points:
1. It can take up to 8 months for any page or post on your website to reach its full potential.
2. Identical content across sites doesn't get penalized as much as Google will recognize that many sites have the same content and they will choose to only surface one of those sites in the results.
3. Google doesn't guarantee that they will index your entire site. They focus on the content that they think will be of value.
a. My opinion is that they will cross reference the common keywords that they know people search for to what they find on your page.
b. If you try to go after multi-word phrases, you might not get indexed at all because Google recognizes that there are only 200 people every year that search for that phrase.
4. Google is switching to mobile-first indexing in March 2021
Google originally announced that they would switch to mobile-first indexing in September 2020, but delayed it.
a. Newly discovered websites are mobile-first by default, and have been for a while.
b. Even if your website looks terrible on mobile, it will still be forced to mobile-first indexing
i. If your site does look terrible on mobile, then that will probably lead to higher bounce rates, which then leads to lower ranking.
ii. Once your site suffers a ranking drop due to things like bounce rate, in my opinion, it always seems harder to regain your ranking after you fix the problem because Google prefers to show higher quality results, and they might not take a chance on you again for a while.
5. In May 2020 Google announce that they will start using Page Experience as a ranking factor.
a. There are several components that make up this ranking factor
b. They have not yet announced what type of impact this will have, my expectation is that it will have a medium impact, but content ranking will still outweigh this factor
c. Stay tuned for a future podcast where we dive in-depth into this subject to explain it in terms that jewelers will understand.
6. Mind your own business
a. Don't focus on what your competitors are doing wrong, and complain about them and why they are getting ranked
b. Google seems to be taking the position to penalize sites less often for when they are being sneaky or using black hat. Instead, they are ignoring those sneaky efforts and concentrating on what the sites are doing correctly.
c. Google will rank sites on the overall ranking for everything that you are doing right.
d. If you happen to follow bad advice found on the internet, you won't lose ranking, you are just losing time and money you pay people to set up this bad advice for you.
i. This represents a change away from their previous approach of punishing bad behavior to rewarding good behavior.
ii. For years, everyone has worried about Google penalties, but now it seems like they only take action against you when you are deceptive in how your offer is presented, of if you really go overboard with Black Hat SEO. Deceptive refers to showing a different page to Google than what you would show to website visitors.
e. Work on improving the value of your content
f. If your content is great, it will even outweigh all the technical issues on your site.
g. Keep in mind that Google has done a lot of work to improve local results for local businesses
i. You might have high ranking in your local area because your content is great, despite black hat and technical issues. This would be the case in rural areas where there's less competition.
ii. It's extremely unlikely you would have any ranking outside your local area.
iii. I define a local area as within a reasonable travel distance. In a big city that reasonable travel distance is anywhere you can get on foot or via subway. In a suburb that's any distance that someone would reasonably drive, which might be 5 miles or so. In a rural area it's also any distance that someone would reasonably drive, which might be 50 miles.
Some SEO strategies:
1. Product Category landing pages
a. Google will concentrating on understanding main category pages before it will dig down into individual products.
b. Work on the SEO of these product category landing pages first
c. Include written details of the product category on the category landing page
a. If possible, rename all the images you upload to include a relevant keyword, but also make sure the image name describes the image
i. Avoid images like IMG001.JPG that come from your camera
ii. Avoid image.jpg
b. Optimize the size of your images
i. I prefer to bulk optimize my images in Photoshop
ii. Alt text that describes the image, but don't repeat keywords
3. City specific landing pages
Sometimes referred to as doorway pages.
A well known black hat strategy for sites is to create hundreds of identical pages of content but they only change the Title, H1, and URL to match the city.
Representatives from Google have explained, during the live Google Webmaster Central training, that this is only black hat if you have hundreds.
Local businesses that have a handful of these doorway pages is not considered black hat
Make sure to change a little more than the Title, H1, and URL
You should rewrite the pages to be specific about that town, and provide rewritten content about your store. You could also include a different set of products on each page.
What questions do people ask in your store all the time?
Make a list of these questions
Write out long answers
Create a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page on your site.
Make sure the content on your mobile site is the same as the desktop site
Google is ranking all new websites according to your mobile site first.
Google is switching to mobile-first indexing in March 2021 for everyone
Rewrite pages of your site based on Google Search Console Performance report
The Performance report shows the phrases that are triggering your site to appear in search results
Study the phrases and ask yourself why someone is searching for that phrase
You are trying to figure out what their "search intent" is, what's happening in their life that they are search for this?
Improve product descriptions and other pages on your site that correspond to the user's search intent
Some products can be related to an obvious search intent, while others cannot.
Especially charms that have specific meaning, e.g. graduation
Mobile usability is important
Google will give you warnings if the text is too small
Make sure every page of your site makes sense and the content flows correctly.
Ask a stranger to look at the site to find out if it makes sense. What's missing?
This has more to do with your design than something you can edit yourself.
Since August 2014 Google has included SSL as a ranking factor
Most search results have SSL
Most website platforms include the SSL for free, so why not set this up?
Even if you have to pay for it, it makes sense just to help with your ranking.
If you have any type of online form without SSL, you are probably hurting your ranking.