Pubcon Las Vegas, the biggest digital marketing convention of the year, just wrapped up last week and I was there with the Search Engine Journal team covering every little detail.
If you want to know where the world of SEO and digital marketing is going over the next year, this was the place to be. The convention is tailored towards digital marketing practitioners, so as you can imagine a lot of the sessions were quite advanced and full of tactics that will help us do our jobs even better.
Admittedly, that stuff would sound quite dry to anyone who doesn’t work with SEO for a living. So, coming out of this convention, what do regular business owners need to know about? That’s what I’m here to tell you about.
Of course, as I always do, I’ll also fill you in with all the need-to-know headlines over the past week.
Latest SEO News – Week Ending 10/10/14
Key Takeaways From Pubcon Las Vegas 2014
One of the key things repeated over and over again throughout this convention is that mobile isn’t the next big thing, it’s already here.
If your website is already designed for mobile screens, that’s great, you’re right where you should be. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly then you’re already behind. To put it in perspective, by the end of this year we’re going to see over 50% of internet searches being performed on mobile .
Since Google takes into account whether or not a site is mobile-friendly when returning results for people searching with a mobile device, your potential traffic can literally be cut in half if your site isn’t mobile optimized.
Another key takeaway was that SEO is getting a lot harder than it used to be. There are more variables than there ever, and a lot more restrictions from Google as to what you can do and cannot do.
With a bit of technical wizardry and a few good inbound links to your site, you used to be able to rank well in Google without much effort. Now there’s a lot more to it. The technical wizardry still exists, but now you have to be extremely careful where you get inbound links from.
SEO now also involves publishing your own unique content, building an audience on social media, and getting your name out there as an expert by getting content published on other sites. Sound like a lot of work? You bet it is! It’s a good thing there’s a team of experts here to do it all for you.
In fact, one thing I heard a lot while talking to people at the convention was that many people left the world of SEO because of how much it has changed. It became too much for them to keep up with. It’s not an easy job, but the ones who are passionate about it stick around for the long haul.
Building rankings is hard, losing them is easy. In many sessions people were lamenting over the penalties Google has been liberally handing out. Getting your site to rank in Google is harder than it ever has been, and Google will swiftly take away those rankings if it catches you doing something they don’t like.
If anyone ever tries telling you about some kind of new SEO tactic to build fast rankings, please, run it by Pam’s team before doing anything. It doesn’t take much to get penalized these days, and we’re here to make sure your site is ranking for a long time to come.
Google already has a tendency to return mobile-friendly results if you’re searching on a mobile device, but soon it may start judging just how ‘friendly’ your mobile experience is.
At SMX East, Google engineer Gary Illyes revealed that Google can see a site just how a human would. The means if your site is technically mobile-friendly, but a user can’t actually read the text without zooming in, Google will know this.
That’s considered a bad user experience, and in the future it may impact your rankings. If your site is mobile-friendly, take an honest look at it and see if you’re providing the best possible experience you can to mobile visitors.
Are you starting to sense a theme throughout this post? Hey, I’m just the messenger, Google is the one pushing everyone towards mobile.
Now, if your site is not mobile-friendly, Google may display a little icon next to your site in the search results to alert visitors searching on their mobile device.
“Hey! You don’t want to go here! This site isn’t optimized for your device!” — that’s essentially what Google is saying, but thankfully they’re being a little bit more subtle.
I understand that website owners may be frustrated by this, since it may drive traffic away from their non-mobile-friendly site, but at the same time I understand Google wanting to make the web a better experience for mobile users.
How do you feel about Google pushing everyone towards mobile, or about anything else covered in this post? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!