Bruce Clay is President of Bruce Clay, Inc. and a well-known authority in SEO. Bruce recently presented a webinar with us, "How to Improve Your SEO with a Web CMS." What follows is a Q&A with Bruce about trends, tips and the future of SEO.
What's one thing every Web CMS system must have for SEO?
Primarily, the ability to enter and modify as needed the title and description tags, and the H1 heading tag at the top of individual pages. These tags are how a search engine understands what the page is about.
Note: See this related post from colleague Bruce Chapman on 10 ways our CMS can improve your site's SEO.
What are the simplest actions I can take to drive SEO gains?
You must do many things, and not all are simple. Doing only simple things makes you at best equal to your competition that is likely also doing simple things. The few items that come to mind are to be mobile-friendly (that is the future of search), to have a fast loading page, and to properly structure your site with easy to read, competent content that visitors will share.
What are the top three things impacting search engine rankings today?
According to Google, and this is paraphrased, content and on-page competence (E-A-T: expertise, authority and trust), linking (other experts in your field respect you and thus link to you - implied testimonial), and RankBrain, a newer algorithmic layer responsible for understanding the user query and essentially searching for what you wanted instead of what you asked for.
Pictured: Bruce Clay presents to a full house about SEO.
Do different content types rank differently in search engines?
Yes, the query determines the intent and the intent prioritizes the results. Ultimately, it depends upon the topic. If it is a search that is exceptionally popular for videos, then videos will rank in the organic search results. If it is a news item, then perhaps a blog post will rank higher. If the best result is a simple answer, then Google just answers it. Popularity and search intent determines result format and content.
What mistakes do you see companies make with mobile-friendly websites?
Many sites are not mobile scalable and only work on certain sized phones. Some images are too wide, or reduce to postage stamps, and some buttons are too small. Performance is too slow. It’s a common problem to see no phone number with click to call. It’s a problem if the navigation menu is too long or too full. The mobile-friendly test is just a place to start your mobile optimization. Take a look at our All-In-One Mobile SEO & Design Checklist to see the full scope of what one must consider for mobile optimization.
How do you handle SEO for the Bruce Clay, Inc. website?
I will often look at it myself to set direction, but the same teams that optimize our clients’ web presence are charged with the optimization of our website. We are our own clients. Much better than a cobbler’s child situation.
Note: Feel free to visit the Bruce Clay, Inc. website to learn more about their services.
What role does content marketing play in SEO?
Content creation is important to SEO as content is the means of maintaining expertise, authority and trust. Marketing that content is the goal of social media. In general, content is a significant part of any SEO project as it impacts quality, awareness of brand, click-through rates and user satisfaction.
How much time does your team spend on the latest Google developments, such as RankBrain?
Staying up-to-date on ranking algorithms, search results features and user behavior is a priority.
While we are aware that ranking algorithms are somewhat of a black box and that many search engine employees are not fully aware of the algorithm (it learns), we do what we can to study results and have a solid understanding of how results change day to day. Today is another story. And so research is never-ending.
Pictured: Bruce Clay (right) with with Google Webmaster Trends Analyst and Google spokesperson Gary Illyes.
Google says that 20% of mobile queries are voice searches. How should we adjust our SEO strategy accordingly?
In our classroom SEO training course, I explicitly describe mobile as the future, and that the future of mobile is voice search.
I am a science fiction enthusiast and Star Trek fan, and you’ll recall that the voice controlled computer was part of the Star Trek story 30 years ago along with iPads.
Voice search, in my opinion, will grow significantly and be commonplace over the next three to five years. To account for voice search in your SEO strategy, take your keywords and perform a voice search, then make sure that you are optimizing for that results set.
How do I translate my SEO efforts into metrics my CEO will appreciate?
The only real metrics for a CEO are revenue and profit. Backing away from that you get to traffic, and targeted traffic at that. So our metrics are generally rankings and traffic reported in analytics. If traffic is up and rankings are up but revenues are down, it is not beyond reason to think that demand is down. Industries change as do traffic patterns. For instance, run "search engine optimization" versus "SEO" in Google Trends and see the shifts.
View the Webinar Slides
Have a look through Bruce's slides from the webinar. Alternatively, register to view the webinar archive.
How to Improve Your SEO with a Web CMS from DNN