Pubcon Day Two is underway after a big keynote from Matt Cutts and a day full of sessions. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the great things coming from Pubcon Las Vegas, but here are my big takeaways from the first half of the conference.
1. The Inaugural Pubcon Cornhole Tournament is in full swing, even if the name of the game is a bit shocking for anyone not from the Midwest or the Southeast. But the people love cornhole, and 352 is in the business of giving people what they want.
2. Speaking of what people want, you seriously have to be mobile. There are a few ways to tackle mobile for your website and marketing efforts — responsive design, m.URLs — but if you’re not mobile ready yet, you have a lot to catch up on. It’s easy to say that mobile is important, yet lose sight of its actual reach. We’ve all underestimated how quickly mobile traffic would become a serious player.
In his keynote this morning, Matt Cutts dropped some big numbers: 6, 25 and 40. Those are the percentage of overall YouTube traffic coming from mobile devices in 2011, 2012 and 2013. In many countries around the world, mobile traffic has already surpassed desktop traffic, and you’ll only continue to see it increase.
Rest assured that Google knows exactly what it’s doing with the increases in mobile traffic. According to Cutts, the Google quality team has a lot in the pipeline for mobile, including smartphone ranking and mobile load-testing. If your site is still rocking Flash*, your site will soon be filtered from search results on phones that don’t support Flash (hint: a lot of them). Does your site take a long time to load on mobile? It’s getting pushed lower in SERPs.
If you don’t have a serious mobile strategy yet, it’s time to get moving on one.
3. If you want to dive even deeper into the mobile pool, Google Maps searches now make up 40 percent of mobile searches. I’m sure that every Pubcon-goer has already searched Google Maps for the nearest CVS to buy lip balm. Keep in mind that your users are doing the absolute same thing looking for restaurants, stores and basic services.
5. Authority and Authorship will continue to play a large role in search. Beyond helping deliver personalized search, Authorship will help Google identify and shut down spammers. Many digital marketers have tried to game the system by claiming Authorship while still publishing stale, boring content, and Google will definitely be taking steps to address that, just as it has done with every instance of weak content. Expect to see Authorship results tightened by up to 10-15 percent in the next 6 months to target deeper, more reliable content.
On the Authority side, Matt Cutts suggested that many marketers are putting the cart before the horse when pursuing authority, especially on the social side of the game. When building yourself as an authority, content is still king. Rather than chasing RTs, Facebook Likes and +1s (which Cutts mistakenly said don’t provide a ranking boost), create good content first to capture the social boost you need. Long term, good social signals will lend authority, but it’s important to focus on the right things first.
If people want to listen to you, then Google will also want to listen to you.
6. If you’re still reeling from Hummingbird (or from Panda 2.1, if you just can’t get enough of spam), you should have some time to get your feet under you before Google rocks your world again. According to Matt Cutts, it may look like the webspam team isn’t up to much for the next 6 months or so. You can stop obsessing over the next Toolbar PageRank update until at least mid-2014, and Google webspam will be focusing mainly on hacking and other illegal activities before returning its baleful gaze upon the world of search. So you’ve got a few months to get your house in order.
7. Although Matt Cutts mentioned that Google’s mission was to provide the world with organized information, he made no mention of (not provided) or secured search. This is hardly surprising, given that he was addressing an audience who would be all to happy to riot over the new lack of keyword data, but it is still disappointing to hear that Google is dedicated to offering information to the world unless that information can make them money.
*If you’re still rocking Flash, please call us. We can help.
Header image: Photo by Michael Dorausch.