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

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

Melanie Nathan
5 SEO Questions with Pete Meyers; 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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Great info. I shared you with my 10,000 followers. I am going to share you with a 4,000 person group also. I love #5
Melvic Real Estate
Another nice post of you Melanie. Just love to read your content.
Anand Tiwari
Great thanks for this blog
I totally agree to point no 4, this is the most important thing that every marketer has to pay attention to.

I personally think Google is aggressively manipulating industries specifically with huge volumes and where the repetitive searches. For example in India, cricket as a category is highly searched. There are approximately 400 mil searches happening around cricket in the months of April – May in India. Because of instant answers organic CTR’s have dropped by almost 80% for the sites that where ranking for those queries. Whereas if you are ready to pay for those queries the ads will take over the P0, Having said that it’s becoming more and more important to focus of SERP features.
I agree. So you figure out a way to get through them or around them. Good luck
Matt Macchia
Definitely SSL and mobile are the new focus for Google. Especially after all the drama with Facebook, privacy is becoming paramount. Google will be fearful of being caught with their pants down. My tip is definitely have a responsive, HTTPS secured site.

And, the hidden gem of answering users questions to qualify for featured snippet is the real nugget in here. That should probably be broken out into another blog post. That is truly the holy grail. If you can get the featured snippet for a relevant question you'll be given a HUGE amount of real estate are are in the enviable position of being the focus of attention.

Great stuff.
Matt Macchia
Thanks. Great stuff. Remember Google Posts. You can post an event, video, or picture. Have a customer post a pic to GMB. I did that for a business I have a 1,000 views of the picture. Google has sent me 2 emails now telling me about my views.
Thanks for the great interview Melanie and Dr Pete!

It will be very interesting to see how the mobile first affects how we do SEO. Pete, in your answer you cover alot in terms of how we should be monitoring Mobile versus desktop rankings and i agree that this will be absolutely essential. But do you have any top level advice on what SEO's should be doing to prepare for the mobile first update; I appreciate you've mentioned sites that are completely different on mobile versus desktop are not going to fair well, but in terms of a general advice list, what would you say is most important?

I think that many businesses who have invested heavily into mobile may struggle here, just due to the fact that they have created a completely different experience on mobile to desktop; affecting the content that google will find on each device, which could penalise brands that have a very different mobile versus desktop site, despite the fact that both may perform well for the user.
Sam Maley
I wish I had a good answer. In many cases, those companies are well-intentioned -- they're trying to create a mobile experience that's faster and good for visitors, which naturally means cutting some things. I think Google is going to tread pretty carefully on these. Big question to me is how it impacts your internal linking impact. We're probably all going to have to make sure that our mobile sites have solid internal structure, even if it's not as large a link footprint as our desktop sites.
Andy Drinkwater
This is a fantastic read! Thanks for that Pete.

Dan has hit the nail on the head with his comment about looking at HTTPS as a bare minimum for a site. I wonder if we will see more people taking the next step to HSTS?
Dan Taylor
Good advice. I think it's important though to not look at HTTPS as "secure", but as a bare minimum - the first step on the ladder to being secure and protecting user data (stored and in transit). HTTPs only encrypts data in transit, when it's at rest is unencrypted and can still be vulnerable - so I'd say make the move to HTTPs as a minimum and then assess your full exposure and put in place the necessary measures.
Dan Taylor
Yeah, I think it's a good distinction to make in terms of HTTPS to satisfy Google and actually doing what it takes to make your site secure for visitors/customers. It's much like "mobile-friendly" -- satisfying Google's benchmarks is just one piece of the puzzle.
Jake Bohall
I love the advice regarding focus on your niche in SEO. With over a decade of experience, I’ve watched the fragmentation of SEO and most importantly the need to focus on specialized areas of the SERP and SERP features based upon your business model and target demo. For a local business, there is no time or budget for worrying about image search, news feeds, etc. you have to look squarely at maps, reviews, knowledge panel, and relevance to your location. It’s easy to get lost, and this is why it’s always important to ask ‘why am I doing this’ along the way.
Smart Blogger
Amazing information. Good job!
Ankit Gupta
The aim, the goal isn’t to provide the most relevant results, it’s to provide the results that tend to best satisfy a searchers situation and information intents
Dan Taylor
Ankit Gupta
That's the same thing? If they're relevant they'll answer and satisfy intent.
Vaibhav Aggarwal
Great information and right path for the SEO's to take in coming time :)
C. Alex Velazquez
All good stuff as usual! ;) Love it.
Melanie Nathan
C. Alex Velazquez
Thanks for reading, Alex. Do you have a question for Pete? I’m sure he’d be happy to come over and answer :)

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