Google at Pubcon 2017

by Jim November 15, 2017

I’ve just returned from Pubcon in Las Vegas where I had the opportunity to not only present on brand and content marketing, but listen to Google’s presentations on disavows, structured data, Mobile First and Accelerated Mobile Pages.

What I learned

• A lot of confusion still surrounds disavows
• Structured data has pros and cons
• Mobile First is happening. But when?
• Google is keen on AMP, but the people aren’t
• Will AMP be around in the near future?

Video Transcript

Hey, welcome back Rankers. Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you with the suit. On telly again tonight, so, that’s what I’m wearing today. Have to look nice on the telly, or else mum won’t watch.

Now, we’re talking about Pubcon tonight on Sky News. Got back yesterday, flew in yesterday from Vegas. Yesterday morning, it’s about … I’m still five hours behind here. But, what an awesome conference. That was my first one. I spoke there. I spoke about brand, content marketing those sorts of things. How brand affects content marketing. But I learned so much from so many other people. Met a lot of old friends. Met some great new friends.
So, I’ve learned so much from that conference. I wanted to bring you a few things over the next couple of weeks. Which I might be able to fit in today. But, I want to leave you today with, you know, the Gary Illyes presentation from Google. There were some panel sessions from Google as well. Just a lot of the other talk that was going on there. There’s been some reports, obviously, with anyone from Google speaking and it gets live Tweeted, it gets live blogged, the whole bit.

Are Disavows Outdated?

For my part, I think there was a little bit of confusion around some of the things that Gary was saying. It was more around the disavow files. The question was, “Is it still necessary to do disavows?” He was very reticent to say yeah, do them. Except, he said, “Well, if you’re doing something bad, yeah, you should probably do them. If you think you’ve done something bad, yeah, you should probably use them.” Which was interesting, but some of the reports that I’ve seen come out have said that Google says only do a disavow if you’ve received a manual penalty.
Well, no, that’s not true. You may have already seen the error of your ways and believe you’re going to, at some point in the future, get a manual penalty so maybe now is the time to disavow. So, there’s that. So, some slight clarification and I had a bit of back and forth with Glenn Gable on LinkedIn this morning. Glen, that’s basically the point I was making. But yeah, essentially, most people don’t need to worry about disavows these days. Unless you’ve been doing, maybe, a lot of TBN type stuff. You know, blog network type stuff and those sorts of things.

Structured Data Benefits

The other big takeaway is … The other two big takeaways, which were interesting, structured data. So we had a couple of people from Google talking about structured data. I’ve got a mixed feeling about this, because on the one hand they’re saying we need to do structured data. But on the other hand, the main reason that they’re saying that is so that they can, you know, create more products and make more products for their users who are coming to their site. So, for instance, job ad boards and those sorts of things.
Now, these sorts of things will help you with traffic, right. So I like structured data with the featured snippet, or product snippet I should say, or rich product snippet. You are going to get a huge benefit from being in that spot, as opposed to the number one organic. So, the sum of the parts is greater than the whole. Or the greater the whole is, more than the sum … You know what I mean.
Anyway, so getting those is really important. But that was always running around the back of my head. It’s like well, yeah, you want structured data so you can do … Basically cannibalise probably a lot of aggregator sites out there.

Mobile First & AMP Fears

The other thing they were talking about, of course, is Mobile First, right. So, basically Mobile First what it means is that Google will index the mobile website. If you’ve got content on the desktop, and these sites aren’t identical and that content on the desktop isn’t on the mobile site, that content is not gonna ring. As simple as that. So, you need to have identical sites. If you don’t have a responsive design you’re done, right. If you have got an M-Dot site, you’ve got a bit of work to do. Especially if it’s a cut down version of your main site.

So, for those sites out there that have cut down versions of their desktop site on mobile as an M-dot, which we know is a problem with a lot of large retailers, or old retailers. Legacy retailers, those sorts of people. They’re gonna feel some pain when this happens. Now, people have been asking for a date, but no one knows. Gary doesn’t know, and I don’t know. Next year, maybe, who knows. But that’s what Mobile First is.

The final thing was accelerated mobile pages, a lot of talk about that. Basically say everybody has to move toward it at some point. But there is, generally, at the conference there was a lot of reticence, or a lot of … Most people didn’t seem as keen as Google about AMP. Because what if there are competing technologies that might be just as fast, just as lightning fast that might not be AMP? Or, our own version of AMP? You know, will these things be supported? So there was a lot of talk around that. One of the things was, well, you know you said we should all do authorship. We all put heaps and heaps and effort and time into authorship. But, then you just pulled it out, so it’s like, well why should we? Is this gonna be around?
So, yeah. There’s a lot to do around AMP, and we’ll do some more shows on that and those sorts of things. But, essentially if you’re a publisher, if you’re a blogger probably and we’ll probably have to do some stuff in bloggersSEO about AMP as well, which will be coming up. But, that was it for Pubcon. It was awesome. If you get to go, go. I’m going again next year ’cause I loved it so much. We’ll see you next week. I hope that’s helpful. Thank you very much. Bye.

Jim’s been here for a while, you know who he is.

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