BrightonSEO Round Up - Part 1

by Olivia Stone on Thursday 17 May 2018

Last month a group of lucky Forward3Ders ventured down to sunny Brighton, for the bi-annual SEO conference, BrightonSEO. This year certainly didn't disappoint with some seriously thought provoking talks, leaving us feeling energised and inspired. We had so many takeaways from this year's conference, that we have broken down our highlights into two bight-sized chunks. 

 

International SEO  - Anna Milburn


As over 50% of Google searches today have local intent, it is now more important than ever that sites ensure they have localised content in place for they number of territories they cater for. However, the process of translating content is a long-winded process which requires continuous correspondence between numerous, different departments (Devs, marketing and IT teams).  


It is here where the Translation Management System (TMS) simplifies, automates and streamlines this process of translating keywords and implementing these sets onto the different territories. 


In order for the TMS to be fully optimised for use, it is necessary that the client and agency work collaboratively to define a solid SEO strategy, which supports full integration across the number of territories. Introducing a TMS (such as Memoq) to the process of localising content will ultimately speed-up what is usually a lengthy, complex process and make it a more efficient, less-costly and more enjoyable procedure.  

 

Mobile First: Crawl budget optimisation in a Mobile-First index - Mark Thomas


With Google set to change it’s preferred index to mobile in July (80% of crawlers using it), it will be crucial to use a mobile agent when crawling sites. As the John Mueller (Senior Webmaster Trend Analyst at Google) advises, it will also be important to regularly monitor server logs to see which agent is crawling a site. In order to prepare for this change, there are a number of tools that are readily available to test whether a site is mobile friendly, such as Google’s mobile friendly test tool, usability tool in Search Console and Chrome Devs Tools.  

 

The main optimisation tips to bear in mind when testing whether a site is mobile-friendly are as follows: 

 

  • Compare the results from desktop and mobile crawls, even if a site is responsive, there can be more changes than expected from one device to another
  • Always crawl with JavaScript enabled, as this is the behaviour language which tells a browser how to respond on a web page
  • Pruning content that may have become unnecessary enables Google to focus on the pages it should prioritise, and using a 410 status code to indicate to them when content is completely gone is also useful
  • Make sure internal redirects are clean 
  • Avoid inconsistent signalling

 

Following these steps when optimising a site for the mobile-first indexing era, will indicate to Google your site is well-maintained. This is turn will usually tend to result in a percentage increase of how much content Google’s crawl are examining, and ultimately result in traffic growth for the site.  

 


Technical SEO in the Mobile-First indexing era – Barry Adams


It’s no secret that a responsive design is Google’s recommended design pattern, but it’s still important to double-check everything in order to ensure that a site is fully optimised for mobile indexing. Even aspects that we may consider minor issues, or may not even see (such as hidden content) can ultimately have a harmful effect on how a site is indexed by Google, so check everything to be ahead of the game. 


Firstly, as obvious as it may seem, ensuring all metadata and body content is the same across both devices is vital, as mobile sites can have a tendency to sometimes behave in a different way. Secondly, despite Google stating that hidden content is irrelevant for mobile indexing, looking for hidden content is important. If JavaScript is used to load this content, there may be issue with how Google can render the page. Removing this hidden content, will inevitably cut down the indexing time of a site. As well as this, all overlays should be removed, as it is common knowledge they provide a negative UX experience for mobile users. 


Then, there are the larger, more complex aspects to assess, such as examining the internal link structure of a site. Tasks such as this are simplified by using tools such as SiteBulb, which produces a map of a site’s structure and compare the discrepancies between mobile and desktop. This is important to consider, as inaccurate internal linking could lead to value to the incorrect page which could result in a loss of rankings. 

 

Following these steps (to name just a few) will ensure a site is partially ready to enter the mobile-first indexing era of 2018.