Face-to-face between the top search marketers, and Bing and Google reps was sure to churn out a pool of useful information. Moreover, this was the first session ever at SMX that paired SEOs with search engine reps in the same session.
Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan), Founding Editor, Search Engine Land
Bruce Clay (@bruceclayinc), President, Bruce Clay, Inc.
Janet Driscoll Miller, (@janetdmiller) President and CEO, Marketing Mojo
Gary Illyes, (@methode) Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google
Vincent Wehren, (@vincentwehren) Lead Program Manager, Bing Webmaster Tools, Microsoft
Ellen White, (@ellenreathwhite) Director, Organic Search (SEO), Team Detroit / Ford Motor Company
Penguin update next week
One of the very useful questions was the one thrown by Danny Sullivan to Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google.
Danny asked when the overdue Penguin updated was expected. Gary revealed that it could be as early as the next week. He took the pains to explain that the upgrade was aimed to make it easier for the users and webmasters and went on to say that it was too late to disavow for the upcoming Penguin update. It was one of the most talked about points after the session.
Danny also jokingly remarked that the two SE representatives, Wehren (Bing) and Illyes (Google), were seated at each end of the panel, with three SEOs in between.
The Q&A sessions started with a bang, when the search marketers hit the ground running.
The first question was about Negative SEO, posed to the entire panel.
The questioner had two negative backlink attacks and a host of negative links aimed at their site. The panel was asked if they recommended using a disavow tool or there was some other solution.
It was replied by Bruce Clay, who explained to the audience that if a company’s portfolio was filled with negative links and they were five years old already, it may be concluded that they may be of their own doing, and not the outcome of an attack.
Next question was the one asked by Danny to Gary.
Importance of user experience
Someone in the audience asked on the state of 404 errors which evolved into the importance of user experience.
Salient points of the panelist comments:
- For Google, user experience will remain important in the near future.
- A site triggering 404 errors is not a bad thing from a user experience.
- Mobile user experience will become even more important, so do not ignore it.
Use of Structured Data
If structured data is added to an event that occurred yearly, should the data be updated or a whole new page created.
In case it is a major event like SMX, people may be inclined to read about the history of the event. Coming out with a new page will enhance the benefits for the user. As for the search, adding new structured data to the pre-existing page isn’t likely to make much of a difference.
Once the event is past, the agenda for the year would be archived to its own page. The next year’s event agenda would retain the link equity on the same canonical agenda page.
Quick questions, quicker answers
The concluding minutes of the session included quick, short-answer questions. Here is a brief of ultra-quick Q&A.
Disavow progress reports
Could Google give progress reports on the status of disavows?
Gary Illyes replied in affirmative. When someone tried to dig deep, Gary said that he would examine it internally.
An interesting question was if mobile-deep links allowed searches to crawl deeper into native mobile apps.
Gary replied Yes for Android apps, and No for iPhone apps.
Https: will Bing follow Google?
Bing was asked what they felt about Google’s action with https and would they take the same path.
Vincet Wehren, the Bing rep, said that secure sites was a good idea. However, they indexed what the user was looking for, replying that they would not follow Google.
When asked what was new in Panda 4.1, Gary plainly said that he was unaware. He also could not recall if mobile search volume passed desktop.
Absolute linking over relative linking
Gary and Vincet were unanimous on one question – if the search engines preferred absolute linking over relative linking?
Both replied that it did not matter.Search Marketers vs Google, Bing Reps: #SMX New York 2014, Day 3!,