16 Oct 2015

Search Engines as Users and SEO Skeptics: Weekly Forum Update

seochat-wmw-cre8asite-threadwatch-roundupLots of surprises came out of our communities this week! There was the news that Firefox is dropping all plugin support… except for Flash. Yes, the same Adobe Flash that was, not long ago, being dropped left and right.

We’ve got a great discussion about the nature of search engines as users where Alan Bleiweiss was kind enough to join in and share some great thoughts, and conversations about structured data, site layouts, and user experience from elsewhere.

Here’s your roundup:

SEO Skepticism and Unethical SEO-Specialists

Like a sugary candy left out in the sun will develop a sticky coating, a crusty shell of cynicism forms quickly over business that get burned by “$200 SEOs”. There are a lot of people trying to do good work, but also a lot of people trying to pull the wool over each other’s eyes. How can a newbie to the scene break through that shell and meet clients?

“To overcome the hurdle of people dealing with a $200 SEO, I always use an analogy,” writes user Thomas Harvey, “…to try and explain this to a potential customer…[compare] a cheap car vs a luxury car. Which are you going to get more from?”

Ann Smarty adds,

“Naturally, potential clients look at reputation….If you have real experts on board, make sure you make their names and achievements visible on the site. Show your experience.”

If you have experience to share or if you’re a newbie looking for advice – join the discussion!

New Firefox Platforms Will Launch Without Plugin Support

Now, keep in mind that plugins are different than extensions. As far as users on Threadwatch can tell, this only applies to plugins.

The idea is that HTML5 can do many things on its own that plugins used to handle. So Mozilla seems to think that they don’t need to support what HTML5 will pick up for them. But, as one user on WebmasterWorld points out,

“The web is not yet migrated to HTML5 and all those goodies build in…”

so we could be waiting a while for everything to catch up. In the meantime, many webmasters are considering a change of browser. What about you?

Your Site Layout Might Be Killing Your User Engagement

You know that trendy layout? The one all the most popular sites seem to be using? While it could be working for them, that doesn’t mean that it will work for you too. Heat maps and user testing prove that popular layouts are sometimes killers for user engagement.

This thread from WebmasterWorld is about comparing vertical and horizontal layouts for user engagement. All of WebmasterWorld’s heavy hitters showed up for this great thread to compare notes about where website design has come from and where it’s heading – this one is definitely this week’s must read!

Search Engines Are Users

A frequently asked question, this week with a new spin. Are search engines users or, as Kim Krause-Berg writes, “code we command…to respond to our demands. Search engines are tools.”

User Black_Knight writes in support of the “users” definition:

“The search engines are services, and they are publishers. If you want to be included in their publications, then you really do need to understand them as users…”

Alan Bleiweiss joined the discussion to provide his own unique context,

“I drive [the search engines as users] as a primary message because Google has always driven the concept that we shouldn’t chase algorithms, that we should focus on users/humans… Except, unfortunately, that inevitably leads people… to, at the very least, occasionally ignore or discount critical factors that cause search crawlers… to choke, become lost, or… misunderstand something.”

So it seems to be a bit of a compromise – perhaps search engines are both! Join the folks of Cre8asiteforums and share your opinion!

Facebook Tests “Reactions,” an Extension to the Like Button

“Reactions,” are also being called “expressive likes.” They add a little emoji to your like so that you can add some complexity to your thumbs-up.

There are also rumors of a “dislike” button – maybe this is what they decided to go with instead. Facebook has been loathe to add a dislike button for years, out of fear for how it could be abused. Would you use a “reaction” if they went global?

Are There SERP Advantages to Structured Data?

A few weeks ago, in a Google hangout, John Mueller hinted that Google might be thinking about ways to use structured data. Ever since, the SEO world has been all abuzz with talk about how structured data could be made into a ranking factor soon.

Just to be clear – it isn’t… yet. But structured data does provide advantages to your listing that can encourage traffic.

“… rich results in the SERPs can definitely increase your CTR, so if you have a website on which it makes sense to implement Schema.org (like reviews, prices…etc), I would,” writes user Aleszandro.

New Raventools Study Reveals Most Common Page Issue Metrics

One of our Threadwatch reporters picked up a great study from Raventools recently. Among the “most common page issues,” are image-related issues, a lack of Google Analytics support, duplicate content…and the most common was a missing title attribute. I bet you’re thinking to yourself now,

“Am I guilty of any of these?”

Before you run off to check – take the link above with you so that you can do a quick audit!

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