Mozcon 2015: Dr. Pete Meyers

DISCLAIMER: This post is written as a live blog from Mozcon. There may be typos and grammar to make my high school English teachers weep. Please excuse those … it’s a fast=paced conference with back-to-back sessions and no time for proofing or even proper writing.

Due to some horrible traffic in Seattle I missed the first 10 minutes of the session I was probably most looking forward to but jumped right in to Dr. Pete Meyers chatting about Google and their changing result set.

He’s chatting now talking about the answer box and it being driven by mobile.  It’s very clear from the examples he used that it’s not in great shape yet and doesn’t fully grasp intent but it’s getting better.

He notes that answers are selected by by Google first determining if it’s a question.  They then sort through the top ten to determine who should be the answer at the top of the page.  Essentially – the hurdle to occupying it is only being on page one and Google believing you answer the question.  He points out wisely that it may be easier to get from position 5 to 1 than 5 to 0 (the answer box).

He moves on to authorship …

Authorship died 2 to 3 years after bu it’s good to remember that for those who jumped on board, they profited for 2 to 3 years so if you laughed when it ended declaring that you’re happy you didn’t jump in … think about what you lost for 2 to 3 years and ask yourself, “Who’s the chump?”  If you see a traffic source, grab it.  It may end but in cases like authorship with such a low barrier to entry just do it.

He then moves on to note that Google has moved from content curator to content creator and they now dominate their own results.

He moved on to knowledge panels.  From medical to auto insurance Google is moving into verticals.  He points out, what if Google pulled MLS and just started displaying real estate in their results.  Google is essentially a threat to every industry.

Now he’s talking about Mobilegeddon.  How bad was it … not much.  The bump was small bu they go what they wanted.  They went from 66% mobile in the mobile serps and hit 77.  He mentions that they forced us to change because it’s cheaper than changing the algorithm and with less risk.

He also brings up that if you’re not losing desktop it’s not because you’re not losing.  Mobile isn’t taking from desktop, it’s adding to it.  Jon Wiley from Google declares: Mobile first !

Google is clearly developing for mobile and many of their design elements work better on mobile than desktop.

So the big questions are:

Do you have a good mobile experience
How do you get the tag

These goals aren’t exactly the same but both need to be hit.

H’s now talking about the knowledge graph.  They’re now using that zone for booking on hotels and other conversions after training us to trust that information.  They’re also putting ads in.  They are an advertising company first and even when they display song lyrics they place ads to buy the song from Google Play.

The addition of apps too is disruptive and set to get worse.  The more apps in the results the less sites.

While they are generating money from everything they are constantly improving the user experience.  My questions is – are they responding to users or controlling our expectations display more ads.

Pete asks: will voice be the death of the SERPs?  Voice devices are answering full questions.  Google is worried about monatization and we should be worried about the lack of search results.

For now we need to keep watching the algorithms but not just to see what’s happening but to predict what is down the road.

He notes that we should focus on short terms with tactics and long term with strategy.  This means we’re responding today with the tactics that work today and it’s located at http://mozcast.com/keyopp/.

NOTE: They don’t know if it’s going to break yet so be kind it it does.  It’s super-super beta.

They’re also working on some other awesome tools.

When asking in Q&A whether having an answer is bad for clicks he wisely points out – the answer is in play so would you rather a competitor was there or you?

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