A few weeks ago, Brendan & I descended upon Nijmegen in The Netherlands to attend a practical SEO conference hosted by the team who built the Yoast SEO WordPress plugin.
It was a single day event which was broken up into 4 keynote style presentations with a couple of practical workshops in between. In my opinion, it was well run, and definitely worth the trip over from Ireland.
Conferences always throw in a few golden nuggets of information, and YoastCon was no different.
My biggest takeaway from YoastCon was site speed, and more specifically, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). I’ve finally become convinced that AMP is the way forward. Or more so, it’s clear now that if you don’t deploy AMP, you’re going to be left behind.
I can pinpoint my change of opinion in relation to AMP to these major events:
Firstly, back in September, Eric Enge released a case study outlining his arguments for AMP. This really grabbed my attention. I’ve watched Eric speak numerous time at length about AMP, and he has always shared a similar opinion to me on it. It’s a great idea, but from a marketer’s perspective, it’s not the best solution. It’s too limited.
After viewing Eric’s case study, I began to pay attention to AMP once again in the weeks prior to YoastCon. I still wasn’t fully convinced that AMP was 100% the way forward.
But at YoastCon, my uncertainty was relinquished. Another major critic of the AMP project over the past two years, Joost de Valk, from Yoast, declared that “AMP is being pushed harder than anything we’ve ever seen before. It’s here to stay. You need to adopt it if you want to get traffic on mobile.”
Joost’s statement hit home. Google are pushing it, and they’ve also got buy-in from some major players like The Guardian, Wall Streel Journal, and New York Times to name a few. Close to 1 million websites have deployed AMP. Over 2 billion pages are now AMP pages. Dare I say, it’s too big to fail.
If Joost’s statement was an eye-opener, my mic-drop moment was when Dixon Jones, from Majestic SEO said “Figure the conversion issues out later. If you aren’t AMP’d you’re losing out on traffic. Soon, you’ll have no mobile traffic. No conversions are easier to figure out than no traffic.”
Mobile CTR has dropped significantly since the introduction of the mobile carousel. Over 70% of all articles in Google News on mobile are now AMP pages. User behaviour is also changing. People are choosing the instant loading page over non-AMP pages in search results. Now is the time to consider, or re-consider AMP.
Other YoastCon Takeaways
- Voice is growing quicker than I expected. Marcus Tandler declared that voice search will hit 99% accuracy by the end of next year which is pretty big news. The recent introduction of a screen to assist voice search is also big. Amazon released their Echo Show while Google Assistant rolled out on Nvidia Shield and stated plans to roll out to tons of other devices and TVs very soon.
- Content in apps will be treated the same as content on websites when the mobile first index rolls out — This change may mean a resurgence in the use of apps, or maybe even lead to the growth of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)…especially now that it looks like Apple will finally support PWAs.
- WordPress Gutenberg is coming soon, in WordPress 5.0. This is big news for anybody who works in WordPress every day. It’s a new editor that looks a lot more different to the current WordPress WYSIWYG editor. It will definitely be a learning curve, but it appears to be a step in the right direction. More information on Gutenberg, here.
- Karl from AG Consult was outstanding. His presentation alone was worth the trip over. His slide deck can be seen here. Karl reiterated a lot of conversion best practices, some of which are well worth testing. Some of the big ones were:
- Get rid of sliders on homepages.
- CTAs should never be on the right-hand side of your site. People read left to right, and pay very little attention to the right-hand side of your website. CTAs on the left usually work better.
- Personalise your CTAs. Don’t use words like Submit. Use phrases like Give me my report Make them personal to the user.
- Every page should have a clear focus.
- Don’t forget about the fold. Your CTA should be above the fold on all devices.
5. Check out Kraken.io for bulk image optimization. This is the software that Yoast are using to bulk reduce their images right now. They found the quality to be better than other tools. For more image optimization tips, please see here.
6. Use PPC data for link-building. Find out what sites the majority of your GDN conversions are coming through, and target those sites for guest post opportunities…or even try to advertise directly on those sites to keep costs down.
7. Hire a journalist to help find out what journalists are looking for in a story. Most journalists want to do very little work. Give them as much data as possible so they don’t have much editing to do. Give them all the data in your initial email, also. If you put any barriers up that means they’ve to do additional work, they probably won’t use your material.
8. For KW Cannibalization, search filters in Google Search Console can help find issues.
9. JSON-LD is also being pushed by Google at the moment. There’s a guide to JSON-LD on Moz.com.
Like I said before, YoastCon was an incredible conference, I highly recommend it for you or the SEO specialist on your team. If you’d like to discuss any of my takeaways in further detail, please reach out.
P.S. We really don’t want you to miss out on our webinar dedicated to improving your business’ well-deserved spot at the top of Google. Join Agora Marketing Masters today at our special monthly price.