Auditing customer reviews for organic traffic growth without losing speed or attracting penalties

User-generated content on product or service pages can be key to driving conversions and a fantastic way to add unique content to a page.  
If you don’t have the resources to write good content yourself, user-generated content can be especially helpful. However, if your customer review content isn’t optimized for search engines, it can work against you and delay or obstruct your marketing efforts instead of driving more business.
Below are four common issues (and a bonus) I have come across when auditing retailer product pages and the workarounds I’ve used for each.  
1. Page speed
This is a much-discussed subject, and as of late, it is a mobile search ranking factor coming July 2018. It is key to sync with your web developers on the optimal page load speed, as images, related products and content will impact load times for this critical part of the purchase funnel.
Customer review content is best when optimized for both Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)

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Google’s Page Speed Update does not impact indexing

Google’s Page Speed Update won’t impact how Google indexes your mobile or desktop content; it will only affect how the mobile pages are ranked in the Google mobile search results. To be clear, indexing and ranking are two separate things, as Google explains clearly in the How Search Works portal.
We are covering this again because there appears to be some confusion around the Page Speed Update and whether it will impact indexing. Both John Mueller and Gary Illyes of Google chimed in to explain that this specific algorithm will have no impact on indexing.
Here are those tweets:

The mobile speed update affects only ranking in mobile search results; it’s independent of the indexing.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) January 31, 2018

Why would indexing be related to speed? (I’m kinda confused how this was connected, wonder if we need to update something on our side to make it clearer)
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) January 31, 2018

Slow pages can get into the index.

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FAQs on new Google Speed Update: AMP pages, Search Console notifications & desktop only pages

Google has just announced its latest algorithm update, named the Speed Update, that will be launching in July of this year. We asked Google several questions about this update, including how this impacts desktop pages, whether pages with AMP URLs but slow canonical URLs will be impacted, if webmasters will get Search Console notifications and more.
Here are the questions and answers from a Google spokesperson:
1. Are you still going to be using the desktop speed factor for the desktop index?
Correct, no changes to announce for desktop.
2. With the mobile-first index, will desktop rankings use mobile page speed and not use desktop page speed?
No, this change is about the mobile search results. As mentioned in our mobile-first indexing blog post, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.
3. What about the sites that get the “unavailable”

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AMP: A case for websites serving developing countries

Like Taylor Swift, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) have a reputation. In a not-very-official Twitter poll, 53 percent claimed AMP was “breaking the web.”

What do you think about AMP?
— Maximiliano Firtman (@firt) March 23, 2017

The mobile ecosystem is already complex: choosing a mobile configuration, accounting for mobile-friendliness, preparing for the mobile-first index, implementing app indexation, utilizing Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and so on. Tossing AMP into the mix, which creates an entirely duplicated experience, is not something your developers will be happy about.
And yet despite the various issues surrounding AMP, this technology has potential use cases that every international brand should pause to consider.
To start, AMP offers potential to efficiently serve content as fast as possible. According to Google, AMP reduces the median load time of webpages to .7 seconds, compared with 22 seconds for non-AMP sites.
And you can also have an AMP without a traditional HTML page. Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller has mentioned that AMP

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SEO + UX = Success

In the good old days, SEO was simple. You stuffed a page full of keywords, and you ranked number one. Oh, if only it were that simple today! Now, Google (and the other search engines) literally take hundreds of factors into account when determining which pages rank high in search engine results pages (SERPs).
This new reality means that elements of user experience (UX) have been rolled into SEO best practices. How easy is your site to navigate? Do you have quality content that makes visitors want to stay and engage? Is your site secure, fast and mobile-friendly?
Think of the partnership of SEO and UX this way: SEO targets search engines, and UX targets your website’s visitors. Both share a common goal of giving users the best experience.
Here are some common website elements that impact both SEO and user experience.
Headings
Just as the headings of a printed work make it easier to find information, the headings of a web

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19 technical SEO facts for beginners

Technical SEO is an awesome field. There are so many little nuances to it that make it exciting, and its practitioners are required to have excellent problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
In this article, I cover some fun technical SEO facts. While they might not impress your date at a dinner party, they will beef up your technical SEO knowledge — and they could help you in making your website rank better in search results.
Let’s dive into the list.
1. Page speed matters
Most think of slow load times as a nuisance for users, but its consequences go further than that. Page speed has long been a search ranking factor, and Google has even said that it may soon use mobile page speed as a factor in mobile search rankings. (Of course, your audience will appreciate faster page load times, too.)
Many have used Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to get an analysis of their site speed and recommendations for improvement. For those

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Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) conquer the competition for shoe retailer

In the highly competitive footwear vertical, no season matters more than late summer, when shoppers spend $27 billion on supplies and clothing for the coming school year.
According to the Deloitte back-to-school survey for 2017, some 55 percent of that spend, about $15 billion, is devoted to clothing and accessories. Late summer may be only the second-biggest shopping season of the year in the United States, but for verticals like footwear, it’s number one.
A top shoe retailer came to Brandify (disclosure: my employer) for a solution to boost local store visibility online. To achieve the retailer’s goal, we worked in collaboration with SEO consultant Steve Wiideman to implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for the retailer’s nearly 500 US stores.
The open-source AMP Project, led and heavily promoted by Google in collaboration with Twitter, WordPress, Pinterest and LinkedIn, defines a lightweight standard for publishing web pages that makes them load very quickly on mobile devices. The standard includes special implementations

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The non-developer’s guide to reducing WordPress load times up to 2 seconds (with data)

With Google’s continued focus on user experience and engagement metrics in recent algorithm updates, it’s become even more important for marketers to pay attention to how fast their sites are. Page speed has long been a ranking factor for desktop search results, and it may soon impact mobile rankings as well.
The benefits of improved load times go well beyond their impact on SEO and your site’s organic rankings, however. Consider recent Google data, which shows that “53 percent of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load,” or that “for every second delay in mobile page load, conversions can fall by up to 20 percent.”
So, how do you actually go about speeding up your site? For many non-technical marketers, trying to figure out how to improve page speed can be a daunting task. Which levers should you actually be pulling to generate a result? And how do you get those changes implemented

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What I learned from the Danny Sullivan/Gary Illyes keynote at SMX Advanced

On June 13, 2017, in Seattle, Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan sat down with Google’s Gary Illyes to talk about all things Google. You can read live blog coverage from the session here. In this post, I’ve organized the content of this session into topical groups and added my own analysis.
Note: The questions and answers appearing herein are not direct quotes. I am paraphrasing Sullivan’s questions and Illyes’ answers, as well as providing my interpretation of what was said (and including additional context where appropriate). I’ve also omitted some content from the session.
The featured snippet discussion
Danny Sullivan asked: Are we going to keep getting more featured snippets?
Illyes has no idea about that, but he notes that featured snippets are very important to Google. They want the quality to be really high, and one consideration people don’t normally think about is that, in some cases (e.g., voice search results), the answers may be read out loud.
This example is one of my

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8 major Google ranking signals in 2017

 

It’s no secret that Google’s ranking algorithm is made up of over 200 components, or “signals.” And while the list is impressive, it can get daunting if you’re a just regular human with 24 hours in a day.
Luckily, SEO isn’t about getting every tiny thing right; it’s about getting your priorities right. Below, we’ve put up a list of top eight rankings factors, based on the industry studies by SearchMetrics, Backlinko and SEO PowerSuite. Read on to find what they are, and how to optimize your site for each.
Backlinks
Surprise, surprise, right? In 2017, backlinks continue to be the strongest indication of authority to Google. Let’s look at the things that can make or break yours.
1. Link score
How does Google turn the abstract concept of “backlinks” into a quantifiable ranking signal? In several patents, Google explains that this is done by calculating a “link score.” The score is made up by every incoming link’s individual quality score (aka

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