5 Big SEO Challenges Discussed (with Nick Eubanks)

If you’ve been in the SEO space for a while, there’s no doubt that big challenges have arisen. The current methods of marketing require too much effort to be sustainable and they don’t provide your business with the experience it deserves. On this episode of Search Engine Watch Podcast, Nick Eubanks discusses these five major topics: Google Hummingbird Update, Panda 4.2 Update (Google), Bing Webmaster Tools Updates, Black Friday SEO Scams & Tips to Avoid Them., White Hat SEO vs Black Hat

Nick Eubanks is a digital marketing expert and the founder of SEO by the Sea. He has worked with some big brands such as Apple, Nike, and Coca-Cola. In this podcast he discusses 5 big SEO challenges that are currently taking place in 2018.

Google and other search engines are continually upgrading their algorithms to give the best possible search experience for its users. This poses difficulties for SEO.

SEO specialists and site owners must adapt their optimization tactics to the changing internet landscape on a regular basis. Otherwise, rankings will be altered when search engines examine and change their algorithms.

We welcomed our special guest, SEO and entrepreneur Nick Eubanks, to talk about the current huge SEO difficulties. Nick is a partner at Traffic Think Tank and the Head of Strategy at From The Future. 

Nick and the other SEMrushchat participants discussed how to prepare for Google’s mobile-first index, voice search, and other SEO problems.


 Q1. What should SEOs keep in mind as they prepare for Google’s mobile-first indexing?

Google began testing its mobile-first index in November 2016, which is likely to impact how websites are ranked in search engine results pages. This implies that Google’s algorithms will ultimately favor the mobile version of your site’s content above the desktop version.

Let’s take a look at what SEO professionals need do to be ready for Google’s mobile-first index.

First and foremost, a mobile site or responsive design that optimizes your site for smartphones and tablets is critical. SEO experts and site owners, as Rachel Howe pointed out, should have already done this. If they haven’t already, they should get started right now. “Both desktop and mobile rankings will be determined by Google using a mobile site.” Andy Drinkwater said, “Get your mobile site in order.” “Make a mobile-friendly website.” “It’s astounding how many websites are still not mobile-friendly!” Netvantage Marketing tweeted.

A1: They should have considered it months ago since it is already being implemented! Create a mobile-friendly or responsive website. #semrushchat

February 15, 2017 — Rachel Howe (@R8chel Marie)

Users nowadays expect websites to load quickly. Google thinks so, too. To rank on mobile SERPs, you must ensure that your site’s load time is fast enough. Nick said that speed is more crucial today than it has ever been. Arnout Hellemans advised paying attention to your site’s user experience in addition to its load time: “Speed is the key, test your loading speed on mobile, no pop-ups, and emphasis on UX.” Errors should be recorded, and criticism should be taken seriously.”

A1. Content presentation is more crucial than ever, and Google has agreed to allow for it. /cont #semrushchat

February 15, 2017 — nick eubanks (@nick eubanks)

You don’t have to be concerned about user experience just because you have a responsive design. You need clear, focused content and easy-to-understand menus and navigation to provide your site visitors the greatest possible experience. You should also make your design touch-friendly and take use of mobile capabilities. Samantha Torres tweeted, “[SEOs should think about] UX for both content and navigation, sites should invest in AMP pages and useful material.” You should also avoid making these five frequent UX blunders on your mobile site.

A1a Mobile optimization entails more than simply adapting to various screen sizes. #semrushchat There are certain particular usability concerns that need to be addressed.

February 15, 2017 — PolePositionMkg (@PolePositionMkg)

The Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) initiative was created to assist publishers in creating mobile-friendly content. AMP pages, in a nutshell, are lightweight sites meant to load rapidly on mobile devices, as well as a highly accessible framework for generating fast-loading mobile webpages. Publishers may use these pages to increase the performance of their mobile websites in a reasonably simple manner. When feasible, SEO professionals should explore generating AMP pages.

A mobile-friendly website is much more than simply a responsive webpage, as Josephine Hardy pointed out. The user’s purpose varies depending on the device. This implies that site owners must be aware of what their mobile users are seeking to achieve on their sites. You must optimize your site for both desktop and mobile searches since they are valued differently.

A1 Mobile is much more than a responsive design. You must comprehend what people are attempting to achieve with their phones. #semrushchat

February 15, 2017 — Josephine Hardy (@JosieMHardy)

Recap of SEO Challenges: What should SEOs keep in mind as they prepare for Google’s mobile-first indexing?

  • Make sure your mobile site is up to date since Google utilizes it to determine both desktop and mobile results.
  • If it’s possible or appropriate, create Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
  • Examine the difference in content and structured markup between desktop and mobile pages. It’s crucial to remember that mobile users have a different objective than desktop users, therefore make it simple for them.

You don’t have to wait for Google to publicly unveil its mobile-first index. Prepare for this update by following the advice of our conversation members. Now is the moment to take action!


SEMrush offers a free site audit.

Examine the state of your website’s health.

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Small webpages that appear before or after an anticipated page of a website or inside a mobile application and block out the rest of the site’s or app’s content are known as interstitial spaces. They normally freeze for a few seconds on the screen until a “X” button appears. Interstitial spaces are used as a marketing strategy, either as an advertising or to get individuals to join a mailing list, participate in a survey, or sign up for anything else.

“Sites that display obtrusive interstitials deliver a worse experience to users than other pages where information is instantly available,” Google said in an August 2016 article on its official blog about enabling its users readily access material on mobile. On mobile devices, where displays are often smaller, this may be a concern.” Google also gave various instances of interstitials that make material less accessible as well as interstitials that are utilized properly in this article.

Nick believes that interstitials on mobile sites will be penalized by Google. There’s already evidence of a link between a drop in organic visits and traffic from mobile interstitials.

A2. on a mobile device Yes, I already have statistics establishing a link between interstitials on mobile and big drops in organic vis+traffic #semrushchat

February 15, 2017 — nick eubanks (@nick eubanks)

Using interstitials on your website, according to Reva Minkoff, is a big risk. She pointed out that Google has previously punished pop-up advertising, which are effectively the same thing as interstitials.

A2. Yes, that is a severe danger. Google used to punish pop-ups, and this is virtually the same thing. #semrushchat

February 15, 2017 — Reva Minkoff (@revaminkoff)

Google will punish large interstitials solely on mobile sites, according to AJ Ghergich.

A2: Large interstitials will be penalized by Google only on mobile, not on desktop. Exit intent is still permitted. #semrushchat Ads gating content are not acceptable.

February 15, 2017 — AJ Ghergich (@SEO)

Interstitials, on the other hand, are merely a mobile-friendliness element, according to Ryan Jones, and they will not result in a penalty. Users, on the other hand, despise such obtrusive popups, according to him.

Interstitials are only a mobile-friendly aspect, not a penalty. However, I’d be OK with it being a penalty. #semrushchat users despise them

February 15, 2017 — Ryan Jones (@RyanJones)

Sites featuring interstitials will be penalized, according to several of our conversation participants, since unpleasant interstitials would dissuade visitors. “You must think about the user’s experience.” Do they become irritated by these interstitials? PolePositionMkg said, “Always think about the user first.”

A2. They’re already being penalized in certain ways. I, like many other users, am turned off by obtrusive pop-ups and advertisements; I spend less time on the site and come less often. #semrushchat

— @DigiDonDraper (@DigiDonDraper) (@DigiDonDraper) (@DigiDonDraper) (@DigiDonDra 15th of February, 2017

Interstitials detract from the user experience on your site. They prevent visitors from doing the intended activity and compel them to watch ads until they find out how to exit. Using too many of these web components, as a consequence, might result in a high bounce rate.

A2: Shouldn’t be a ranking element or penalty since it will simply annoy visitors and cause them to quit your site. #semrushchat should be avoided at all costs.

February 15, 2017 — Tom Etherington (@tdetherington)

Michael James Field also contributed his thoughts, stating that the importance of interstitial spaces is diminishing nowadays.

A2: They are a ranking element, but they are just one component of a broader algorithm. Interstitials’ function on sites seems to be dwindling. #semrushchat

February 15, 2017 — Michael James Field (@Mikuss)

  • Remove (large) interstitials from mobile – Google will punish you for them, but not on desktop.
  • Interstitials don’t assist with UX, and they’re also a severe concern.
  • There shouldn’t be a penalty if Google can detect that the interstitials provide value to the site. On a site like Pinterest, for example, the pop-up may be used to achieve a commercial goal.
  • Sites with invasive interstitials, according to Google, deliver a lower user experience than pages with direct access to information. Because this is a signal rather than a punishment, it’s preferable not to misuse these aspects and to utilize them in accordance with best practices.

JavaScript is a scripting language that supports object-oriented programming. It’s most typically utilized on websites where the client-side script may be interacted with by the user. Although JavaScript seems to be straightforward at first glance, there are a number of typical JavaScript errors that might prevent your code from functioning.

Here are some of the most typical JavaScript problems that arise as a result of insufficient JavaScript testing.

JavaScript incompatibilities may occur in certain browsers. If a disagreement between JavaScript libraries is causing problems, check the JavaScript console. Its name may differ somewhat depending on your browser: Web Developer Tools, Web Inspector, DevTools Console, and so on. The console is accessed in a different method in each browser. To assist you in detecting an issue, these tools will show a JavaScript conflict. If you identify the mistake, you must determine which component of your website is causing the issue.

A3 Top 3; 1) no handling for JS disabled experiences; 2) no handling for JS disabled experiences; 3) no handling for JS disabled experiences 2) JS conflicts as a result of other browsers’ oversight 3) just JS #semrushchat content loaded

February 15, 2017 — nick eubanks (@nick eubanks)

This is a simple problem to spot. You have a leak if your site is using more memory than it should. The capabilities of various devices and browsers vary. The identical website, for example, may function well on one device but crash on another.

You should test your website on the devices that your users are most likely to use. Your page may surpass the memory capacity of these devices if the user experience is poor. Kayce Basques describes how to address memory issues in his article.

The value of “this” is usually decided by the name of the function. The problem arises, for example, when you attempt to name a function in an object but enter the erroneous name. As a result, you must constantly double-check that the function name is right.

A3: Incorrect references to “this”. Confusion about “equality” Incorrect use of “Loops” & do not fall into add, modify etc.

#semrushchat

February 15, 2017 — Gabriella Sannino (@SEOcopy)

When it comes to assessing your webpage’s load speed, you must evaluate what can be obstructing the Document Object Model (DOM). Before a browser can generate a website, it must first parse the HTML syntax and create the DOM tree. When the parser comes across a script, it must first run it before continuing to parse the HTML.

The parser is also required to wait for the resource to download when using an external script. Blocking JavaScript should be avoided as much as possible. See How to Remove Render-Blocking JavaScript for further information.

A3 Javascript may prevent the crawling of your page’s content by preventing the creation of a DOM. #SEMRushChat

February 15, 2017 — Bill Slawski (@bill slawski)

Google won’t be able to display your website if you block JavaScript files in your robots.txt file. As a consequence, Google will be unable to fully comprehend your site, perhaps resulting in lower ranks.

A3 Using Robots.txt to block Javascript and CSS prevents Google from comprehending content structure, causing Data Highlighter to stop functioning #SEMRushChat

February 15, 2017 — Bill Slawski (@bill slawski)

  • JavaScript incompatibilities may occur in certain browsers.

  • Memory leaks caused by the “If Else” error, Javascript closure, and the difference between Undefined and Null.

  • Incorrect usage of the word “this” and the word “Loops.”

  • Google cannot comprehend content layout if Javascript and CSS are blocked in Robots.txt.

  • Javascript may prevent page content from being crawled by preventing the DOM from being built.

To learn more about the subject, see Ryan J. Peterson’s tutorial “Buggy JavaScript Code: The 10 Most Common Mistakes JavaScript Developers Make,” which includes examples.


Schema markup is a set of tags that you may use in your HTML to assist search engines provide more useful results to users. This microdata aids crawlers in better interpreting the information on your websites.

There is, however, a different approach to include structured data markup on your websites. Webmasters may use Data Highlighter as a browser-based tool to assist them markup their websites. Our conversation participants expressed their thoughts on schema markup and data highlighting.

Some of the people in our conversation agreed that schema markup is more effective.

Nick agreed with Andy Drinkwater on this issue, stating that schema allows you to package data in whatever manner you choose.

The A4 schema is cleaner since you’re physically wrapping the data the way you want it. However, highlighting rapidly becomes messy. #semrushchat

February 15, 2017 — nick eubanks (@nick eubanks)

You should employ schema for local SEO, according to Netvantage Marketing.

A4: For local optimization, schema should be utilized! It’s a must-have. DON’T FORGET ABOUT IT. #semrushchat

— February 15, 2017 — Netvantage Marketing (@netvantage)

Despite the fact that Danny Ray Lima like Data Highlighter, he points out that schema provides a choice of markup codes to enrich your content. “Use Schema every time,” Mark Preston recommended, “I’ve had so many immediate victories by appropriately implementing Schema.”

A4: Data highlighting is fine for basic information, however schema has a number of markup codes that may be used to improve the content #semrushchat

Danny Ray Lima (Danny Ray Lima) 15 February 2017 (@dannyraylima)

Although the Data Highlighter tool is simple to use, schema offers many more choices. “What I know is that data highlighter is simpler to use, but it doesn’t have nearly as many choices as schema,” said ThinkSEM on Twitter.

Data highlighting, according to Pat Whalen, is beneficial to small and medium firms who lack extensive web development skills and cannot afford to engage a professional developer.

A4: Data highlighting is useful for small businesses who don’t have access to developers or technical skills. Schema for the rest of us. #SEMrushchat

February 15, 2017 — Pat Whalen (@2patwhalen)

If you have access to a code base, you should absolutely utilize schema markup, according to Dawn Anderson.

A4) It depends on the situation. Schema tags are useful if you have access to a code base. Data indicating the second option #semrushchat

February 15, 2017 — Dawn A (0 0) (@dawnieando)

As you can see, there are differing viewpoints. Some of our conversation participants strongly advocated for the use of schema markup, while others feel that your decision should be based on the situation. The majority of them, however, believed that schema provides better snippets and visibility.

  • It depends on the situation.
  • If you have access to code, utilize schema tags; otherwise, data highlighting is a good second option.
  • Data highlighter settings may be affected by template modifications. Use universal schema markup wherever possible.
  • For local optimization, use schema.
  • The schema is clearer, and the data is physically wrapped in the manner you want it. Things may rapidly get messy when using highlighting.

Voice search is becoming more reliable as technology advances. More individuals are utilizing voice to search the Internet for information. The question is how it will affect various parts of SEO.

In light of the advent of voice search, here’s a list of five things SEO professionals should be aware of.

When users do a voice search, they want immediate results. Their voice search queries vary greatly from those typed in text. This implies you’ll need to adjust your material to meet their needs and make it answer their inquiries. “Voice search is becoming more popular. “Content should be written to address why, where, when, what, and how,” Malhar Barai tweeted.

Most voice searches are information collecting / seeking answers, hence A5 develop material that answers questions #semrushchat

February 15, 2017 — nick eubanks (@nick eubanks)

The word “near me” appears often in voice searches, indicating that the searcher is looking for a nearby company. You should optimize your website for local search and mobile to adapt it to voice search.

A5: Local SEO, long-tail optimization, and, most importantly, content that answers queries are more crucial than ever. #semrushchat

February 15, 2017 — Sean Van Guilder (@seanvanguilder)

Voice queries provide site owners a greater chance of predicting searchers’ intent, giving them additional information about where visitors are at each point of their trip. As a consequence, site owners will be able to adjust their content to improve their search rankings.

Our conversation participants anticipate to see more long-tail keywords and natural language questions as voice search expands. Users are more likely to visit your website if you optimize your content for lengthier conversational phrases. “As searches get more colloquial and conversational, you just need to change your content to fit [these questions] using AI and RankBrain,” tweeted ThinkSEM.

A5: optimize for lengthier, conversational sentences; purpose will (or should!) matter more; local #semrushchat will have a stronger influence.

February 15, 2017 — Martin Weinberg (@MartinWeinberg)

Because of the advent of voice search, Nick also said that SEO consultants and site owners need to better understand how their target consumers talk, including what terminology and accents they employ, and so on.

A5 will need to know your target audience’s nomenclature (read=slag), since terms have various meanings in different areas. #semrushchat

February 15, 2017 — nick eubanks (@nick eubanks)

Contextual search becomes more significant with voice inquiries. Natural language inquiries provide a plethora of contextual data and helpful information about users’ intentions. You can offer consumers with the precise information they need by using contextual understanding.

A5.2 @semrush Voice search is also becoming more local and relevant. #semrushchat Keywords and content should be positioned properly.

February 15, 2017 — Malhar Barai (@MalharBarai)

  • The importance of searcher intent and personalisation will be emphasized more in voice search.
  • Because most voice searches are information collecting and seeking responses, optimize for lengthier, conversational sentences.
  • Local SEO is more crucial than ever with voice search.
  • Because voice search will place a greater focus on long-tail keywords, it will be critical to optimize for long-tail optimization.

Thank you very much to Nick Eubanks and the rest of the chat participants for sharing your knowledge and skills!

SEMrush offers a free site audit.

Examine the state of your website’s health.

ADS illustration

This SEMrush discussion took place in February 2017, and all of the information was current at the time.

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