Thank you to everyone who made it down to the Globe for another great TIO meetup. This time we focused on tech SEO, a popular topic among our team, with some really interesting points raised, such as the issues businesses have been battling when implementing HTTPS and whether they are starting to see results from AMP. Read on for the highlights below.
50% of the group were working for companies that had switched over to HTTPS, illustrating the strong movement over the past 12 months.
Tristam from Purple Smudge stated that “clients need to be educated. Developers and marketers need to marry together” – Purple Smudge. He hit the nail on the head, as the list of businesses that went through a poor migration over to HTTPS were negligent of keeping SEO’s and their dev team separate, openly admitted by multiple businesses. Both have a role to play, however too often is the case that dev will jump ahead and the SEO team will be informed afterwards, at which point it is already too late to avoid potential issues.
Consultant Ervin stated, “when dealing with HTTPS, it’s key to take a snapshot before and after the migration, so you can compare”. We fully agree with this statement, as we will crawl the site beforehand using Screaming Frog, but also run a number of benchmarks, such as speed, to test any changes both positive and negative. These crawls are integral for the process and to help diagnose any potential issues.
The consensus was that HTTP2 is still too new in order to consider this yet, as servers haven’t been updated to support this.
As much as this is pretty in picture, the costs are currently way too high for anyone to have adopted. These also aren’t accessible to everyone in all formats, however you can produce a basic version for mobile.
Are Links Still Important?
Well, no big surprise here, the answer is a resounding yes. They may have diminishing returns over time, but these are still one of the most important ranking factors and will be for the foreseeable future.
Are Social Links Deemed Important?
There was a slight split in the group. While everyone in the group agreed these are crucial to the success of the business, there was a split when discussing whether these largely affect rankings. While some thought that there was a direct correlation between the highly shared pieces of content and their rankings, others felt that correlation doesn’t mean causation and this could be a knock-on affect of something being viral (links being built, mentions, increased CTR etc).
What Are The Best Tricks To Improve Page Speed
The ultimate one which was inevitably brought up was image optimisation. It made everyone in the room chuckle about the amount of businesses that still load up giant images without compression and have insanely slow page speed. The next recommendation, which leads on from image optimisation, is the importance of a CDN. If you work for a business, which is reliant on a website, then you should undoubtedly have a CDN setup. The cost would put us off running it for a blog, however this cost shouldn’t even bother you when considering this as a purchasing funnel.
Steven from Content King also highlighted that through the use of a CDN, as well as various other speed optimisation tricks, they have managed to bring down their page load time to 300ms.
With Links Devalued Rather Than Demoted, Are You Taking More Risks?
An interesting question which left people going back and forth on the topic, there does appear to be a little bit more leeway to take more risks. We have realistically built Google a list of supposed spammy sites with the disavow tool, while now the threat of negative SEO has been heavily wiped out.
The real question building on from this is whether people will be deleting their disavow files from before, or at least removing some of the links that they weren’t sure on. Why? Well, if they weren’t great links, they will either pass on a little link value or simply none at all, but your domain won’t be punished for having these links. Therefore it makes sense to remove the disavow, unless you have some incredibly dodgy links or you have previously faced a link penalty.
Year Of The…
This topic brought out some interesting concepts. Shouts came out from all over the room, with some stating that 3D printing will become more commonplace in 2017 and will have uses for an increasing amount of offices. Another opinion was that with Amazon testing out drones for delivery purposes, this could remove cost of delivery, as robots and drones take the human element away.
One strong opinion shared was that it certainly wasn’t the year of VR. As Jono claimed, “VR killed capitalism”…Strong claims!
In regards to SEO, long tail keywords is where organic search was heading, especially with increased usage of voice. How marketers carefully track this will be interesting, as we can no longer put as much value on those big hero terms we always used to target.
A few were discussed, but 90% of the room settled on Screaming Frog. There will always be others battling for consideration, such as Xenu, but for the moment, Screaming Frog has a dominance on the market. That said, since the event a few of us have been trying out Content King, who attended, impressive stuff (and he gave out t-shirts!)
Two backlink tools were offered as the best. Half the room went for the inevitable choice of Majestic, which is incredibly rich in data and is the tool I’ve always opted for when producing a backlink analysis. Ahrefs was the other popular option,.
You’d all expect it to be either Google Analytics or a modern analytical tool, but the consensus was surprisingly Bing Webmaster Tools. So often underused and ignored by businesses and marketing teams, Bing Webmaster Tools has come a long way in the past few years. With voice search being dominated by Bing, this might become an even more important place to be checking data over time.