Hi folks, it’s Dan O’Leary back with another SEO Brief! This Brief is for Q2 2023. We’ll touch upon some important news and notes in the world of Search since our last Brief and answer some questions sent in by you, the viewers. As always, if you like what you see, be sure to subscribe using the form on the right and follow us on the Overit social accounts!
We’re Less Than One Month Out from GA4
We’ve been closely watching and reporting on the big Google Analytics switchover for a whole year now. And we’re now just weeks away from Google finally sunsetting the long-familiar Universal Analytics product and moving forward with their new GA4 Analytics.
If you still have not yet created a GA4 property, you should log in and check your Universal Analytics property. Google has most likely already created a GA4 property for you based on your existing Universal Analytics setup. You can tie that new GA4 property together with your older Universal Analytics property to complete the transition.
But if you have very specific onsite conversions or goals, you might want to take a little bit more time to make sure those are accurately set up and configured in the new GA4 property. If you have any questions or concerns about the switch to GA4, you can always contact us here and we can point you in the right direction.
Google Launches Search Generative Experience, Integrating AI in Search Results
We’ve been covering the recent developments in AI since last Winter and it seems every week there are even newer developments coming into the public sphere. Just last week, Google launched the Search Generative Experience, or SGE, to a small testing group on their Search Labs waitlist.
SGE allows users to add and integrate AI-generated replies to search prompts, in addition to the usual snippets and features of a Google search result. The AI-generated replies can be added to existing search results for a wide variety of search types, from informational queries to Local results and Map Packs to Shopping and E-Commerce searches.
The initial reviews have been somewhat mixed but largely positive, with many reviewers noting that the AI tends to often show a lot of media publishers and that the AI-generated prompts result in all of the other features and snippets on a Google Search result getting pushed further below the fold.
It’s way too early to tell how SGE will impact the search landscape overall but we can clearly see Google is not hesitating on the AI front. If you want to try out SGE, you’ll need to go and sign up on the waitlist at Google Search Labs. If any of you get to use it, leave us a comment or send us an email with your thoughts on the experience.
WordPress Turn 20 Years Old
Over at SearchEngineJournal.com, the excellent SEO Roger Montti had a wonderful writeup on the 20th anniversary of WordPress, including an interview with WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy.
Today WordPress is the world’s most popular Content Management System and web development platform, effectively powering over 40% of the world’s websites by itself. Every day online, you’re visiting a website built on WordPress, whether you realize it or not.
But 20 years ago if you wanted to build a website, you had to know how to code HTML by hand or use some type of WYSIWYG editor like Dreamweaver. As the writeup on Search Engine Journal details, WordPress changed the world wide web forever by truly democratizing web development and publishing, giving both web developers and non-technical content creators a strong set of tools and technologies to quickly and easily publish web content.
So, happy birthday to WordPress! If you haven’t seen the write-up, check it out here.
And speaking of WordPress and Content Management Systems, we’ll finish with a question From Our Mailbag! Dustin from Saratoga asks,
“What type of Content Management System should I use to create a website? Does Google or other search engines have a preference in terms of SEO and search rankings?”
That’s an excellent question Dustin and one we get a lot. The short answer is that no, search engines including Google do not have genuine preferences on which CMS you use to publish your website. They are entirely agnostic in that regard. You can succeed in organic search using any kind of CMS so long as you follow sound SEO best practices and create the best possible content you can.
Having said that, the type of CMS you choose should be based on your organizational resources, your know-how, and your website goals. If this is the very first website you’ve ever created and your organization doesn’t have a dedicated designer or a web developer, you might want to consider a very basic CMS like Squarespace or Wix.
These are designed for small business owners and hobbyists who want to get a somewhat decent-looking website up and live without committing too many resources or time. These proprietary CMSs have much better SEO features and customization than they had just a few years ago and both Squarespace and Wix have strongly invested in the SEO capabilities of their platforms.
If you have created a website before or you have a designer or web developer, then WordPress might be a great fit for you. WordPress is such an expansive ecosystem of themes and templates, both free and paid, that it can meet the needs of nearly any business or organization.
There are also very popular open-source alternatives to WordPress, including Drupal, Joomla, and Magento, among others. These platforms have a bit more of a learning curve and would require you to have a developer experienced in using them, but for websites that have very specific and niche features and requirements, these other platforms have their advantages and proponents as well.
When it’s all said and done though, think of the CMS as the toolbox, not the carpenter. A good website experience can be built on any CMS in 2023 and your search engine visibility is not really going to be determined by your CMS choices. Find one that makes sense for your organization and its skillset and get really experienced with using it and you should be fine.
We hope that helps!
That’s it for this SEO Brief. Thanks for watching and we will see you in Q3!