Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached peak BuzzFeedification.
By “BuzzFeedification” I refer to the recent onslaught of articles that fit BuzzFeed’s style (i.e. full of GIFs and memes) and/or follow the get-as-many-ad-impressions-as-possible model, which has been adopted by many publishers at the moment – more and more by the day, it seems – in an attempt to get that elusive click.
I came across one article that ticked all the usual boxes…
Unnecessary multi-page image listicle? Check.
Memes? UGH. Check.
Goes on for much longer than it needs to in order to try and accrue more ad impressions? Oh god yes check.
…and is simply one of the most frustrating and pointless articles I’ve ever read. The things publishers will do to get you to click and get you to view ads is becoming laughable.
When someone gets to your website, it’s important that your contact form works, your email address and phone number are written correctly and your checkout process is working correctly (if you’re running an Ecommerce website). After all, you’ve worked hard to drive traffic to your website – you don’t want them bouncing at the final hurdle, affecting your conversion rate.
Clients/customers are one thing. Imagine if your visitors were contemplating suicide…
The other day, I noticed that the Samaritans’ phone number on their Contact page wasn’t working properly if you were on a mobile device and you were trying to use the tap-to-call function.
Their phone number is 08457 90 90 90. However, due to the asterisk immediately after the third “90” (which references a bit of small print talking about the cost of the call per minute), my iPhone wasn’t processing the number fully when using tap-to-call. Instead of the full number, it was picking 08457 90 90 – an incomplete and incorrect version of the phone number.
So I urge you all to check that your website’s phone numbers are working correctly from mobile devices. It might be worth checking from multiple devices – it might be the case that it’s fine on an iPhone but not working on an Android, so don’t just check one and assume that it’s fine across the board. Check them all if you can.
Just a quick post today based on a random discovery that I made over the weekend…
I was checking a SERP on behalf of my parents’ company (IT recruitment sector) from my phone simply because I didn’t have my laptop or tablet to hand. A search for "web developer job cardiff" showed the following:
Two things struck me as odd about the first result, which is first on both mobile and desktop searches. Firstly, the top result isn’t labelled ‘Mobile-friendly’ (any SEO who’s not been living under a rock will know that this is bignews at the moment), yet it’s ranking above two results that are. Secondly, having been on Indeed.co.uk’s website before, I was convinced that it was mobile friendly – so I clicked (or tapped) on it, and – as a matter of fact – it is:
Notice how the label next to Indeed.co.uk’s result shows ‘Jobs 1 – 10 of 370’ instead? I have a feeling that this rich snippet is overriding the ‘Mobile-friendly’ tag for this result – i.e. that Google is choosing to show the former instead of the latter (even though both are true)… which isn’t good for Indeed.co.uk (more on that below).
Recently I noticed a difference in the way that the URLs of my blog posts were being generated and presented. Some of the ‘gubbins’ words such as “the” and “a” (I believe articles is the correct grammatical term) would be taken out when I generated a draft, so for example, for a post called “Why I Prefer A Full URL Slug”, instead of the URL being /why-i-prefer-a-full-url-slug/, it would be /why-prefer-full-url-slug/.
I checked my plugins, immediately suspecting that it was a change made to the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast (which is awesome, by the way). I couldn’t find anything related to it in its settings, so I let it go, manually ‘beefing out’ the URL each time I drafted a new post. However, a few weeks later, I checked Yoast SEO looking for another feature and came across this…
(Click to enlarge)
This feature of the plugin “helps you to create cleaner URLs by automatically removing the stopwords from them.”
In the words of the mighty Partridge: “A-HA!” Bingo. Unticked. Job done. All is well.
Here’s the thing though… It’s ticked as the default, suggesting that most people prefer it this way, and/or that it is the standard as far as SEO is concerned.
Always enjoying an opportunity to be controversial, I disagree!
As someone who’s been doing SEO and PPC day in and day out for nearly 5 years, I’m no stranger to Google’s Help sections. While there’s a lot of great search engine marketing advice out there on other people’s blogs, sometimes it’s helpful to see what Google themselves suggest and recommend about Google-y things, especially if it’s a brand new feature or a confusing topic.
Of course, the info isn’t just intended for SEO and AdWords folk: it’s for your everyday webmaster (hence why one of their main Help blogs is called Webmaster Central). Your everyday webmaster (definition: the person responsible for maintaining a website) might be an individual working in marketing, web development or IT, however it might even be the business owner his/herself, especially if it’s a small business. Therefore Google should endeavour that all of its information is sorted in the best way possible for convenience and accessibility and that the sections in general are as easy-to-use as possible in order to reduce frustration.
…But that’s simply not the case.
What Google Help needs is:
UX (user experience) improvements,
A content audit, and
A better attitude…
Why UX improvements?
I had an incident recently that just screamed ‘frustrating user experience’ when I tried to contact the Google AdWords Help team, who – in their own words – are “here” and “love to help.”