Google Webmaster Hangouts 11-9-2017

Google Webmaster Hangouts 11-9-2017

Mobile First Index & Voice Search SEO

GHangouts are back!  We had a short intermission but now the recaps have returned.  This one was slightly different than most.  Instead of just John Mueller fielding the questions, there was a roundtable of SEOs.  I’m sure John appreciated some help.

However!  There were some great topics covered in this Hangout.  Below is our recap of some of the best questions asked.

When Your Home Page Disappears But Internal Pages Don’t – It’s Likely Technical

This was probably the toughest question they had to deal with today.  A companies homepage has been dropped from the rankings, no manual penalty, a couple of “potentially” bad links removed, and a removed duplicate version.  The pros didn’t have a great answer for this one.  I’m sharing it because, technically, it was an unusual one you may want to be aware of.

Changing Your Site Address in Search Console Should Happen Quickly (In a Couple of Days)

…But in this case, it didn’t.  The SEO with the issue used Search Console correctly and applied the proper redirect.  However, it’s been months now and his new address hasn’t fully populated the search results.  The answer was simply – it just takes time (except for when it doesn’t).  Despite the fact that when the SEO searches a page title the new and old domain show up.  This process can be confusing.  In general, this process should take no more than 90 days.  Don’t rush to make changes if things don’t work out as quickly as you’d like.

Doing Manual Rank Checks Isn’t The Best Idea

Even if you’re using a private browser, different GEOs, etc. this is going to end up poorly.  Google Search Console can show you rankings.  What’s even cooler is that GSC will show you what users are ACTUALLY seeing.  When you manually search you’re getting some misleading data.

John can’t recommend a traditional rank checker.  It’s against Google TOS.  However, they did recommend Majestic because they use the Google Search Console API for checking rankings.

Mobile First Index Will Not Favour a Responsive Site Vs an Adaptive Design

As long as your site’s mobile version is user-friendly it doesn’t matter how it’s delivered (according to Mr. Mueller).  One caveat from the author here (that’s me) – Your site will be favored if it is faster than other mobile sites.  Speed will be the name of the game here.

Visible Text Should Be The Same on Mobile & Desktop (Including the hidden technical features)

As long as your site maintains the same text content as well as structured data, hreflang, AMP versions, you’ll be in good shape.  The issue isn’t just about keeping text the same.  The hidden technicals should be the same as well.

Spend Time Exploring Voice Search

This was a great tip.  One of today’s presenters mentioned that you should try doing voice search yourself.  Explore it.  Try asking questions your customers ask you.  Or questions that you might ask in their shoes.  It’s still very early in voice search optimization.  Keep reading and doing some experimentation.

Content Length May Not Be The Key To Voice Search Results

Because it is still so early dealing with voice search it’s hard to share best practices.  John recommends doing a user study.  Perhaps your users don’t even use voice search to find your site.  It may just be too soon to tell even if they’re not today.

Conclusion

There were a lot of experts sharing some tidbits from their corner of the world in this one.  It was nice to hear some different points of view.  Unfortunately, the questions were dominated by just a couple of different askers.  Hopefully, they will do some more of these types of hangouts in the future and we will have a chance to hear many different types of questions and replies.

Have You Missed Our Other Recaps?

Check ’em out here & here

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Written by
Dustin Bow
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Rob Andrews

Since 2007 Rob Andrews has worked in the SEO and Content Marketing fields and is an established writer and trusted provider of thought-leadership for hundreds of SEO, advertising and marketing agencies worldwide. Read More

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