Jaimie Anderson. Gordon Carslaw.
This week, our Search team has been glued to the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle. They've brought back two key bits of news from Gary Illyes, leading Google webmaster trends analyst: Mobile First Index, and Featured Snippet Analytics. Read on for all the details!
Mobile first index is coming…oh wait no not yet!
We’ve been non-stop talking about the mobile-first index with our clients and peers alike in recent months, and we’ve been waiting with bated breath for announcements of it rolling out.
The news announced on Tuesday at the SMX Advanced conference in Seattle was that Google is “probably many quarters” away from launching its mobile-first index and it's looking like 2018 will be the year, so Gary Illyes (Google webmaster trends analyst) informed the audience. It appears Google has had a change of heart around this roll-out and doesn’t want to catch people off guard - they want to make sure it is communicated widely with publishers.
Whilst the mobile first index might be some time away, our search team is working with our technical teams to get clients ready for it. Our focus areas include:
- Mobile site speed
- Mobile friendly content which will rank
- Structured data
And if you’re still not convinced this should be part of your digital roadmap for 2017, then here are some interesting stats which might make you think otherwise:
- The percentage of people who are using to Mobile to search has increased consecutively over the last 5 years in the UK
- 61% of customers will leave to go to a competitor website if a site is not mobile friendly
- Mobile-first consumers in emerging markets are more intolerant of bad mobile web experiences;
- 84% saying they would leave a mobile website if it loaded slowly
- Compared to 69% in Europe
- And 75% in North America
Jaimie Anderson, Senior Channel Manager
Google continue to keep us waiting for Featured Snippet Analytics in Search Console
This week, at SMX Advanced Conference, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes revealed that Google is not currently working on a tool within Google Search Console to allow us to get analytics data about our featured snippets. Before I go any further, what is a featured snippet? Well it’s only right that I ask Google isn’t it? Oh look here it is explained in a featured snippet, how convenient…
Anyway back to Gary. This announcement is interesting as about a year ago, Google were caught testing featured snippets in Google Search Analytics, however it is considered that these test must be complete because Illyes said:
“To be frank, we are not actively working on that. We have something that we think would answer those questions, but we cannot release it”.
Illyes explained his reasons for not being able to release it, commenting on the main blockers. When questioned on why it hasn’t been made public, Illyes responded:
“Because we have bosses. And those bosses have bosses. And some people don’t want this feature launched for various reasons. What we do really need is to understand how people use this feature... Now we have a similar problem with my higher ups about a feature that would give you insight about how your content might show up as a featured snippets in search results. The proposal to launch something like this was rejected by the higher ups. What we need is to go back with something to explain how publishers can use this feature to improve their content in the featured snippets.”
He followed that we, as webmasters, have to communicate to Google to on why we need this information and currently it seems that Google has yet to be convinced to make it public. This is frustrating for marketers as we already know that Google SERP features, in particular featured snippets, are reducing the amount of traffic to websites. You can see this for yourself in Nayomi Chibana’s study ‘Are Google’s SERP Features Stealing Traffic from Your Site?
For more information on what Gary Illyes had to say at the SMX Advanced Conference and more about Featured Snippets you can read it here on Search Engine Marketing Land. We’ve had some great results through effective Paid, Organic and Content strategies to help reduce the negative impacts featured snippets can have on traffic - drop me a note if you'd like to chat through any issues. Until next week folks, as always, have a great weekend.
Before you go here’s another Blog that caught my eye this week which also highlights Featured Snippets and how they can be used to develop content & target keywords.
Gordon Carslaw, Senior Digital Marketing Executive
And that's it this week! We're off to enjoy the weekend and we'll see you again next time. If you have a question for any of our contributors or for our team, in general, please get in touch with us or catch us on Facebook or Twitter.