5 SEO Questions with Pete Meyers: Algorithms, Mobilegeddon and Actionable Tips for Mom and Pops

Melanie Nathan

Apr 05, 20184 min read
Algorithms, Mobilegeddon and Actionable Tips for Mom and Pops

If you are interested in SEO, then you have undoubtedly heard of Dr. Pete, aka Pete Meyers; Moz's marketing scientist and the brains behind the MozCast. He is a very well respected legend in the SEO industry, and naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to ask him a few questions recently.

If you haven’t made the move to HTTPS, at least spec it out. We’re seeing over 80% of page-one organic results on MozCast as HTTPS now, and Google is pushing alerts in Chrome aggressively.

— Pete Meyers, MOZ

If you own an online business, especially a small mom and pop, I guarantee you are going to want to pay attention to what he has to say regarding Mobilegeddon, Google algorithms, and Local SEO.

So let's get started...

1. What do you see coming in the next 12-18 months that online businesses should prepare for?

I think it depends a lot on the business. The tricky part of SEO these days is that it is fragmenting, in a lot of ways. What has a huge impact on one industry may not impact another one at all. If you are in travel, Google launching destination portals and re-launching Google Flights was probably huge. If you sell artisan dog bowls, you probably don’t care.

I think everyone should watch features in their niche, and especially how the Knowledge Graph (in a very broad sense) is changing. If your business model depends on answering questions that are easy to answer, you are in danger.

Any local business should pay attention to what is happening in local advertising, including pack ads and local service ads. These are big changes and expect more to come.

If you haven’t made the move to HTTPS, at least spec it out. We are seeing over 80% of page-one organic results on MozCast as HTTPS now, and Google is pushing alerts in Chrome aggressively. Whether or not you agree with them, they are going to keep adding pressure to switch.

2. Mobile indexing is coming in July, what specifically do businesses need to watch for rankings wise?

I would watch for obvious differences between mobile and desktop rankings (something we need to measure better with tools, honestly). I expect they will converge over time, but ranking drops on mobile mean that you are in trouble across the board, even if it hasn’t moved to desktop yet.

3. Are you expecting everyone to tank in July? What are your predictions?

No. I think Google is going to use mobile results where it makes sense, and keep using desktop where they have to. They aren’t going to tank a big brand because they have a sub-optimal mobile experience. Sites with obvious desktop/mobile differences that could be seen as deceptive or manipulative are in serious danger (but they probably should be). The rest of us need to keep pushing forward and do better, but I don’t predict a catastrophe, overall.

4. You monitor algos, how much should businesses be paying attention to them? WHAT exactly should they pay attention to?

I hope I do it so that they don’t have to, at least most days. I think it is useful to have a benchmark for change, to understand if something happened just to you or across all of Google. Beyond that, I think people should pay much more attention to the SERP feature space and understanding how that’s evolving in their industry. The algo is changing all the time. I think it still matters to know when the big changes happened, but that is just one piece of the puzzle.

5. What three actionable tips do you have for helping mom and pop businesses to get ahead right now?

It is getting tougher. I think Google is trying to model the real world, and big brands have an advantage in reality. The web isn’t as open and egalitarian as it once was. As a small business, I would focus on a couple of things:

(1) If you are brick-and-mortar, pay attention to local. More and more Google results are landing on that local panel (GMB data, essentially) and that panel drives phone calls and foot traffic. Make sure you have good data out there and let go of your ego. No one needs 500 pictures of your dog or your restaurant website. They need to know when you are open, where to park, and what is on your menu.

(2) Answer your customer’s questions. It is good for customers, and it is good for SEO. That content has evergreen value, is eligible for Featured Snippets, is eligible for voice, and it makes you credible.

(3) Diversify your marketing. Facebook changed the rules, and people’s social traffic dropped overnight. We are far too dependent on Google right now. Build an email list. Nurture your referrals. Send out postcards, if it makes sense. Own your own marketing channels, even if it takes some initial investment. Be open to both organic and paid search – one is a long-term investment, and one can kick-start you effectively. They both have a place.

There you have it, folks. To recap:

  • Pay attention to local search and local advertising.
  • Make the move to HTTPs.
  • Monitor differences between mobile and desktop traffic.
  • Watch for big algorithm changes.
  • Give your customer a great experience while diversifying your market.

If you have been doing this with your online business, then it would seem that you’re on the right track. If not, it may be time to rethink your online marketing strategy.

Big thanks to you, Pete, for your participation and for all the great stuff you do for the SEO community!

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