This week on Edge of the Web we were very excited to play host to Google Webmaster Trends Analyst and all-around SEO genius John Mueller. Those of us at Edge Media Studios were excited to talk with John, who joined us from his home in Zurich, Switzerland. Before John kindly gave us a peek behind the veil at new SEO developments, we caught up on the following notable news stories:
- AOL Instant Messenger is shutting down for good. Update your away messages one last time!
- Updated Google Webmaster Q & A videos are coming to better meet blogger’s needs. John will be contributing to these at the start and you can contribute possible questions here.
- Google parent Alphabet is deploying Project Loon balloons to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to help restore cellular service, following FCC approval.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with John and the work he does, check him out on Twitter and Google Plus. Initially a private business owner working in the early days of SEO, John joined Google in 2007 as Webmaster Trends Analyst. His work directly impacts Webmaster Central, sitemaps, and search quality teams as he works to improve the free flow of information to business webmasters.
While we aren’t able to capture all of our conversation with John here, you can catch the full episode here. Highlights of our conversation included:
- Discussion of incoming mobile-first indexing protocols for search. By indexing the web based on how most people will access it, Google aims to increase how accurate and effective the results it provides are. The results provided will match the platform you are searching from, so desktop results will still be optimized for that platform.
- The impact of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) on user behaviors. The ability to have your page be cached for mobile search results for a more responsive and faster user experience is a big win for internet users.
- Voice search’s impact on changing user behaviors. The popularity of home voice devices can potentially revolutionize how users access your website’s data. What changes do you need to make to help keep your assets accessible across platforms?
In the past, some SEO specialists felt that Google’s updates were rolled out too rapidly and potentially negatively affected their business. John reiterated Google’s commitment to user experience and the need for collaboration between the two sides of his company’s development and SEO business tactics and strategies. “We have to make sure that any change we roll out has a positive effect,” John said.
Before leaving, John gave 3 powerful tips to future-proof your website from an SEO standpoint:
- Whenever you make a change to your website you should test it on mobile. Go beyond checking updated information and go through your funnel to conversion to ensure everything is still functional.
- Few websites do task-based testing of an average user. John suggests you bring people into your workspace so you can give them a task to complete on your website. Observe their behavior and determine from that how user-friendly your site design is and what changes may be needed.
- With the advent of voice-based technology, a random brainstorm can be hugely beneficial. Ask yourself “What would my business be life if there were no screen? How could I bring my information out to people if they weren’t using my site on a traditional screen?”
Interested in joining John’s team? Google is hiring for another Webmaster Trends Analyst.
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