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What is the future of SEO and mobile optimization?

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Episode Overview

Discover Cindy Krum’s mobile insights— author and CEO of MobileMoxie—and how the future of SEO will look dramatically different from today. To stay ahead of Google demands and emerging trends, companies need new strategies for multimedia, voice, and content— that may not even require screens.

Learn about:

  • How Google Home and mobile devices will become more tuned into your true search intentions and location
  • How will the voice-only experience allow users to interact with your website
  • The importance of using Google’s Speakable Schema.org
  • Why is it that 61.5% of mobile searches don’t result in a website click?
  • The diminishing value of second placement rankings
  • How the knowledge graph and voice are impacting placement

GUESTS & RESOURCES:

Episode Transcript

Ben:                            Welcome back to the final episode of mobile optimization week on the Voices of Search podcast. I’m your host Benjamin Shapiro and this week we’ve been publishing an episode every day that covers what you need to know about the technical optimizations that will improve your performance and visibility on your mobile sites. Joining us for mobile optimization week is Cindy Krum who is the founder and CEO of MobileMoxie, which is a mobile centric set of tools and APIs that help SEOs gain better insights into their mobile site experiences. Outside of leading the charge at MobileMoxie, Cindy is also the author of Mobile Marketing: Finding your customers no matter where they are. And today we’re gonna wrap up mobile optimization week by discussing the future of mobile SEO. Here’s the last installment of mobile optimization week with Cindy Krum, the founder and CEO of MobileMoxie. Cindy, we are approaching the finish line. Welcome back to the Voices of Search podcast.

Cindy Krum:                 Thank you. Thank you.

Ben:                            Great to have you here. Happy Friday. And let’s talk about the future of SEO and mobile optimization. We’ve talked about all sorts of different ways to optimize your existing websites, but websites that’s … Might not even be a thing in a couple of years. Talk to me about where you see mobile SEO optimization heading.

Cindy Krum:                 Yeah, I think that you’re right. I think that websites, they’ll always be a thing but they might not be as much of a thing and they definitely won’t be the only thing that SEO is focused on. From my perspective, the future of SEO could look very different from what SEO looks like now and to meet the demands of what Google is focusing on and what we’re seeing, we are encouraging companies to be more multimedia, because Google cares about voice only search, they care about casting, they care about all these different things that may or may not have screens, and so that makes the ability for content to be shown or ranked with or without a screen, interacted with or without a screen as much more important.

Cindy Krum:                 So, let’s say maybe you have a Google home and you’re looking for how to cook a specific dish. Let’s bring it full circle and say tacos. Then you can say, okay, I’m not gonna say it, ’cause it’ll set off my devices, but okay, assistant give me a rescue for tacos and they wanna show you a video first making tacos, because the video might be more useful than just a list of ingredients and cook times, right? So, if your Google Home knows that you have a TV also on the same network and it can pass to it, then it can say, hey, we found a great video with a taco recipe. Do you want us to cast it to your TV in the kitchen? And you can say yes. And all of that is voice search and it’s content like the video that could rank a desktop or a mobile search, but it also could rank without that, because the devices are more tuned in to where you are and what your intent would be.

Ben:                            Yeah, I think that the biggest thing that I think about when we get beyond the mobile device, right, when we’re not talking about having a screen with us is that right now with SEO position two is incredibly valuable. Down the road, position two is the first loser …

Cindy Krum:                 I’m gonna argue with you and say that there’s so much happening above position one organic that position two organic has some value but I think you’ve overstated it. The study from Jumptap shows that 61.5% of mobile searches don’t result in a website click. More than half, more than half. I see your face, more than half.

Ben:                            This is why I took the video off. I agree with you in some stances. I would say that for position two with a 61% of the queries not resulting in clicks are things that are going to be very question and answer based as opposed to research based. My guess is …

Cindy Krum:                 Why wouldn’t you wanna be there though? If you’re a brand, you wanna be there.

Ben:                            It’s not gonna be the same for everyone.

Cindy Krum:                 Maybe.

Ben:                            For informational queries, right, knowledge graph type stuff, people asking questions, Wikipedia showing up and answering every question on the planet probably helps their business. Nike showing up when someone is saying, tell me about shoes, probably has some brand value, but in terms of a transactional value, not having a click isn’t great. So, it changes the notion of …

Cindy Krum:                 What’s the best running shoe?

Ben:                            Yes, there is absolutely value there as well. I think now when there is a query for what is the best running shoe, my … And I’m not actually gonna conduct the search, I don’t know if Google is necessarily saying it’s Nike.

Cindy Krum:                 Nope. They’re showing a featured snippet that’s a round-up of reviews. So, they’re showing third party opinions and so the new SEO might be getting in those roundup featured snippets with links.

Ben:                            Yeah. So, I’m gonna backtrack a little. I’m gonna agree with you. Yes. The value of the second placement is less valuable than it used to be.

Cindy Krum:                 Yes.

Ben:                            My point is that when we move away from having the screen, that the value of the second placement goes from, let’s call it on a scale of one to a hundred, it used to be 60, now it’s 30. Because of the knowledge graph, it’s gonna be zero or significantly less, because voice search is gonna present one answer and chances are people aren’t gonna say show me the next or tell me the next result. So …

Cindy Krum:                 Even if that answer was your website, how is the voice only experience gonna read your website and let people interact with your website? That’s a bad experience too.

Ben:                            Well, I think that that’s actually gonna be something that gets developed over time and we’ve talked a little bit about it in some of our voice search episodes. And I’ll give you an example of, hey smuggle. Trying not to set off everybody’s voice devices. I want tacos. And the answer could be like, you want tacos, he … Do you wanna order tacos from XYZ restaurant? Do you want them from Taco Bell? And you’re gonna respond and then it’s gonna ask you a series of other prompts and set up a delivery for you. And so I do think that there will be transactional utility built around voice search.

Cindy Krum:                 Yep.

Ben:                            Hey, I wanna book a flight. Okay, what time do you wanna go? Okay, how about this flight? And maybe that just gets punted to a screen at first, but eventually people will just feel more comfortable with just answering a series of questions or setting their defaults and move to using air quotes that people can’t see, but a one click type methodology where order me diapers, right? Like that’s done now … Or … And I feel like that experience will be improved with multiple prompts. And to me that is the future of mobile optimization is getting beyond just informational into transactional without a screen.

Cindy Krum:                 Yes.

Ben:                            So tell me more about what you think in terms of mobile optimization and what’s the future?

Cindy Krum:                 Well, so the future is gonna look different. I think it’s about putting the content that’s multimedia, multifaceted out there and then making sure that your content is integrated in the knowledge graph correctly. So for instance, if you have a business with locations and people are doing voice search from their car potentially on their phone or on an android auto, and you search for I want tacos, then it should show you a map result. If you’re at home and you ask the Google Assistant, I want tacos, then it might wanna give you recipes or it might ask you, do you wanna order from Grubhub or do you wanna talk a recipe? Do you want to find a taco restaurant that’s near you?

Ben:                            Absolutely. I think the context of location laid on top of some of the transactional stuff that I mentioned that’ll happen with the voice assistant. And also moving away from having the screen like that confluence of technologies and events is gonna make a really different experience and a much richer experience where Google is gonna know where you are, some of your preferences and gonna be able to sort of cut the line in terms of how much they have to ask you to be able to provide you what you want.

Cindy Krum:                 Right.

Ben:                            Which is exciting. And there’s also a huge number of like privacy and data and a whole bunch of other concerns where all of these devices will be listing and know where you are at all times, which is maybe a podcast for another day.

Cindy Krum:                 Sure. But, I mean from a user perspective, if they’re getting what they want a lot of people don’t care.

Ben:                            So, we’re talking about a lot of the far-off future of mobile optimization. Let’s just take it back into something that’s a little more near term and a little bit more actionable for SEOs. When we think about the future of optimizing mobile with the screen being prevalent, what are some of the things that you see coming down the pike for maybe the rest of this year and what should mobile SEOs be prepping themselves for?

Cindy Krum:                 I think Speakable Schema’s a big deal. So, even if you have a screen, you should be using Schema and making sure that the content that you have is getting ready to be ported over. So, for instance, if you have an SAQ page, then you should be using Speakable Schema, because I think that a Speakable Schema is going to help it get into the knowledge graph, help it get featured snippets and help it rank well, whether or not it’s a voice query, because remember it’s the same index for screen or no screen. ‘Kay? So … And … But Google wants to enhance the no screen experience, so they’re taking the machine learning wherever they can get it, with or without a screen. So, if you’re ranking featured snippets or if you’re doing things to optimize for voice, then you’re gonna automatically be well optimized for screen-oriented searches as well.

Ben:                            Okay.

Cindy Krum:                 I think that’s where you and I may have a disconnect in communication, because I don’t see these things as a separate effort. I think if you do well optimizing for voice, then you’re gonna be rocking and rolling on a screen oriented devices as well.

Ben:                            Yeah, absolutely. I think that the … I do agree with you. The knowledge graph and that sort of experience of bringing the first answer to people, whether it’s on a screen or whether it’s through voice assistant is powerful. So, absolutely on the same page there. Last question I have for you for all of mobile optimization week, give our SEO community listeners a little bit of an understanding of MobileMoxie, how people can get in touch with you, what are some of the ways that you’re helping people?

Cindy Krum:                 Yeah, absolutely. So, we believe very strongly in the problems created by the data that I was mentioning with the 61% of no clicks. So, people are using data based on, I think the the right number is 38.5%, if we were to go back and look at the original data, 38.5%. So, if you’re using any kind of analytics platform other than search console, then you’re making big, big decisions based on only 38.5% of the data. You’re missing any kind of analytics on the searches that happened that didn’t generate a click, ’cause those platforms only show you post click results. And so we … To rectify that and because a lot of the platforms also don’t do a good job of separating out how a mobile device, a specific device might change the search result or a location, a very specific like down to the physical address might change location, ’cause if you walk a block or two, the search result changes.

Cindy Krum:                 So, we’ve built a tool set that allows you to test with real user agents, real GPS data and see what a real search result looks like so that you can know where … If you’re not getting the clicks where they’re going. And then we also set it up where you can run the same query over time, because the worst thing that happens as an SEO is you see something new in your mobile search result and you’re like, hey there’s this new thing called found on the web and it’s taking up all this room and there’s all these people also asked and there’s a new knowledge back. This wasn’t here last week was it? And everyone’s like, I don’t know. And you’re like well it’s gonna impact search, ’cause we were ranking number one and we’re still ranking number one according to all the software, but now we’re halfway down the page.

Ben:                            Yeah.

Cindy Krum:                 And there’s all this stuff with colorful pictures up there.

Ben:                            Yeah. I think that the understanding of real estate, the knowledge graph, the sort of position zero content is becoming more of the game and mostly with mobile where the real estate is so scarce.

Cindy Krum:                 But position zero, it’s important to know, position zero isn’t position zero only anymore. Google’s putting what we’re calling hosted inclusions, which are knowledge app pack. People also ask, found on the web. Interesting finds. Interesting finds near you. These are all hosted inclusions of stuff that Google has scraped and cashed and they’re putting in the middle of the results and at the bottom of the results too. The blue links are getting crowded out and the blue links are boring compared to these hosted inclusions that almost always include pictures.

Ben:                            Yeah, I think that the … My biggest takeaway from mobile optimization week is that the connection between the knowledge graph, position zero, mobile optimization, all of these things are pointing the direction towards the future in Google moving away from the screen and moving towards a single answer, more of a question and answer experience and mobile search and some of the optimizations related to it are a big part of that. Absolutely.

Cindy Krum:                 Right. And APIs, product APIs, indexing APIs, they don’t wanna crawl.

Ben:                            Yeah, interesting. Well Cindy, I appreciate you taking all this time to be our guest and walking us through the complicated topics of technical mobile optimization. Thanks again for being our guest on mobile optimization week.

Cindy Krum:                 Thanks for having me.

Ben:                            All right, and that wraps up this episode of the Voices of Search podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversations with Cindy Krum, the founder and CEO of MobileMoxie. We’d love to continue this conversation with you, so if you’re interested in contacting Cindy, you can find the link to her LinkedIn profile in our show notes. You can contact her on Twitter or her handle is Suzzicks, or you can visit her company’s website, which is MobileMoxie.com. And Cindy is kind enough to offer all of our listeners a free month off of MobileMoxie when you use the promo code SEARCHMETRICS, in all caps.

Ben:                            If you have general marketing questions or if you’d like to talk about this podcast, you can find my contact information in our show notes or you can send me a tweet at BenJShap. And if you’re interested in learning more about how to use search data to boost your organic traffic, online visibility or to gain competitive insights, head over to searchmetrics.com/diagnostic for your complimentary advisory session with our digital strategies team. And if you like this podcast and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app and we’ll be back in your feed next week. Lastly, if you’ve enjoyed this show and you’re feeling generous, we’d be honored for you to leave us a review in the apple iTunes store or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Okay, that’s it for this week, but until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.