Mobile-First Indexing | WMConf Lightning Talks

Mobile-First Indexing

Martin Splitt, Search Advocate at Google, goes over how mobile-first indexing works, challenges that can occur with mobile-first indexing on one’s website, and best practices to avoid these. Watch this lightning talk to better prepare for when Google switches to mobile-first indexing for all websites later next year!

Mobile-first indexing best practices →

Prepare for mobile-first indexing (with a little extra time) →

Google Rank Brain

Google RankBrain: The Complete Guide (Everything You Need to Know & More)

Today we’re teaching you everything you need to know about Googles RankBrain algorithm.

From how RankBrain works to how it effects SEO. Find out everything you need to know and more here in our complete guide.

What is Google RankBrain?

Google RankBrain is a machine learning algorithm which uses artificial intelligence to help sort search results. After being named Googles third most important signal for search queries, RankBrain has become a core part of Googles algorithm. Its main role is to understand users search queries and deliver relevant results based off the words searched.

Machine Learning vs Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning (ML) is the capability a machine has to analyse data and in turn, teach itself. This can be as simple as learning what a user is really looking for when they spell their search query wrong or as complex as analysing a search query and working out what the user really means.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a development in computer science which creates machines that are capable of intelligent behaviour.
The difference between ML and AI is that artificial intelligence is the broader base of a smart machine, however it is the machine learning capabilities which gives the machine its intelligence.

How does RankBrain work?

RankBrain is designed to understand what a user is searching for, even if they are not using the exact words needed for that search query as well as use other aspects such as user location and context to ultimately provide relevant search results.
In other words, it helps to understand the intent of a users search and provide results based on this. To do this, Google feeds RankBrain endless quantities of data, which include users’ locations, history and device, in order for the system to teach itself what search results to provide.

RankBrain Examples:

If a user types in the search query ‘world cup location’ into Google, the system first tries to identify the true intent of the search. For this search term, it would consider factors such as the user’s location and history as well as considering if they are searching for the location of the most recent World Cup or the upcoming one.

Google RankBrain World Cup Location

As well as taking factors of the individual users into account, RankBrain also considers patterns it has picked up through users searches. Therefore when requesting the ‘world cup location’ RankBrain will look into its database and provide you with the result below.
This result, therefore, caters for all users as it not only provides them with the next world cup location but also previous ones. This result may vary however depending on where the user is searching from, i.e. if they are in the city of the world cup, it may provide them driving directions to the event.

Another example of the Google RankBrain algorithm is when a user searches for ‘Where should I go for dinner?’. Using its intelligence, RankBrain understands that you are looking for a restaurant to eat at and takes factors such as your location into consideration to provide you with relevant results that are local to you.

Google RankBrain Where Should I Go For Dinner

The above shows how RankBrain has used our location and in turn, provided us with results relevant to us.

How does RankBrain decide what to rank?

RankBrain decides how to rank results simply by recording how satisfied they believe Google users are by the pages they land on as well as the importance of backlinks linking to a page, the content freshness and domain authority.

For example, a Google user searches

Google RankBrain Berry Smoothie

Firstly, Google presents you with a result positioned at what is referred to as ‘Position Zero’. RankBrain will have positioned this result here as it has noted user’s behaviour towards this website. Factors the Google algorithm takes into consideration are the website chosen by the user and the time the user spends on the website.

Google RankBrain Berry Smoothie example

The above shows how Google has ranked websites in accordance to the search query ‘berry smoothie’.

It ranks these websites again by looking at user behaviour. If a user chooses a website but bounces straight off it, the algorithm will take a note of this and presume the website wasn’t very useful and in turn rank it lower. When the Google RankBrain algorithm records people bouncing from site to site, they call this ‘pogo-sticking’. However, if a user spends a sufficient amount of time on the website, it will know that the content on this website was useful and therefore rank it higher in the future.

What did Google do before RankBrain?

Before RankBrain, Google was capable of finding pages beyond the exact terms a user used in a searching query. Previous to the Google RankBrain algorithm, Google developed itself so it could recognise variations of the same search queries in order to provide relevant results to their users. It also understood words had synonyms so if someone searched for ‘workout clothes’ it understood the user was looking for ‘gym wear’.
Now RankBrain is in place, it allows Google to understand more complex search terms and interpret them effectively. In 2013, Google stated that 15% of the search queries they found had never been seen before, which was a reduction from the 20-25% in 2007. RankBrain helps to link search queries together so they can provide users with the results they were looking for.

Google Logo 2019

RankBrain in SEO

Dwell Time and Bounce Rate

Dwell time refers to the amount of time a user spends on a website after clicking on it from the results they were provided.
In simple terms, the longer a user spends on a website the more likely it is to be ranked higher by Google.
There are a number of techniques you can practice to boost your dwell time. These include:
Content Length – In short, longer content leads to a better dwell time. If you can create a piece of content which answers all the questions a user may ask, then it decreases the probability that the user will bounce of your website and find another to answer their questions.

For example:

It’s the start of the new year and your resolution is to get fitter, so you search for ‘how to start the gym’. The first article you may come across is a short 350-word article that starts to answer your questions but doesn’t totally fulfil what you’re looking for. So you bounce of this website and look for one with more content to further answer your questions.
Then, you find the website you’ve been looking for. An online guide with work outs for beginners, dietary advice and even tutorials showing how to perform certain exercises. So you spend a significant amount of time looking through this guide, re-reading some parts and taking in all the information it has to offer.
This increases the dwell time on this site compared to the first one you selected and in turn shows Google that the second website should be ranked higher.

Importance of Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is an important factor when increasing your click through rate (CTR). If people recognise your brand it immediately increases the probability of a user clicking onto your website. Seeing a brand they know will increase the trust in a website and make the user more comfortable when using the website.

What Factors Apply to Your Content?

An important thing to bear in mind is that RankBrain has a collection of factors it takes into account when ranking search results. It is important to identify what which of these factors best apply to your content and optimise your content accordingly. Some of the ranking factors include:

• Content depth
• Freshness of content
• Diversity of backlinks
• User engagement (dwell time and bounce rate)
• User location
• The user’s device

The best way to optimise your content in accordance to these factors is to review the topic your covering and its urgency.

For example:

If your uploading an article in relation to a recent crime in an area, the content freshness is a key factor as well as the sure engagement. However, if your writing content on the history of the Black Country, the depth of this content will be more important to the user and Rank Brain.

Thorough Content is Key

In the past, a common SEO technique was to have individual pages for each keyword. So if you was selling security cameras there would be an individual page created for ‘CCTV cameras’, ‘CCTV camera’, ‘Security cameras’ and all the other commonly searched terms surrounding the service.
SEO has since moved on from this and Google is now favouring pages with longer content containing everything the user is searching for. This means incorporating all key words and phrases in one in depth piece of content that speaks to the user in a natural tone.

English Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout 6 March 2018

English Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout Streamed live on 6th March 2018

English Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout

Otto Rommel
This is to settle an argument with a developer. Is it considered cloaking that would incur a penalty if link HREF values are blocked by disallowing access to a JavaScript file. Example: blocking the HREF value to a link in a calendar that would create and infinite crawl path of years. Example: Blocking the HREF values to Sort By links in a table. Prior to the advent of JavaScript rendering, this was a way to stop bad URLs from being crawled. Thanks.

Marco Logmans
How will GDPR affect the use of Google Analytics? It looks like we can only track visitors if they allow us to add cookies…or not?

Eduard Paziuk
In which cases does Google recognize a french-translated page “” as a duplicate of an English one – “”? Hreflangs are correct but using the query “”, we see an English page not a French one.

Greg B
Is there a way to auto disavow some tld’s? It would help with the .ru domains that are linking to me that are 99% spam. New ones show up every few days.

Dmitry Voytenko
How can I improve the indexing of sites developed on a single CMS and having the same catalog of products with the same description on the product cards? Google indexes the site and excludes pages from the index in a month. Sites belong to different organizations but they were ordered from one developer.

Jack Waldenmaier | Composer / Producer
Hi John,

I have about 60 pages with duplicate TITLES and DESCRIPTIONS because they are part of WordPress CATEGORIES.

(They are all Rel=Prev or Rel=Next and have Canonicals but they still show up in Search Console as duplicates.)

Is there any solution to this problem?

Ben Cohen
We have different branch pages for our depots and we also have different GMB profiles for each branch and they have reviews on them. Can we put the text from some of these reviews on to the relevant branch pages and mark it up. We already have a link from the branch page going to the google plus page but we could also do a link going to the reviews section if need be?. What do you think?

Russell Meara

Is there any benefit/harm putting some of our USP in the Title tag if we already have the keyword phrase first.

Bill Allen | Dad, Husband and SEO Guy

Does Google have any issues or preference for indexing and ranking urls that have special characters (comma, ampersand, parenthesis, etc.) or issues/preference for indexing/ranking special characters used in French, Spanish, German, etc.?

Rob Cuppett
None adult site showing hard core adult ads in Google search results when searching for Every site on the VPS host is showing these ads. Is the IP address marked by google as adult? What would cause this? Here is a link to a webmaster help forum discussion with all the details and screenshots.

Antonio Dimitrovski
Earlier on Twitter we have conversation about translating content and still isn’t clear enough. If I translate article from another website to another language hreflang is a must to show proper language but how can i give him a credit if canonical is not good here? Should I just rank in other languages with my website? Link isn’t good, can’t canonical not the same content, what we need to do?

François Briod | Tech enthusiast & entrepreneur
Hey! It’s going to be my first Office Hours, I’m thrilled.

My question: how does google indexes texts generated by computers based on unique/proprietary meta-data such as a hotel description on (For example:

Let’s say that the meta-data are updated every day (reviews), would it make sense for Google to crawl this text every day?

Colin Manko
1) Does Google use other Google App data for search results? (ie; does Google use Gmail email opens or Google Chrome behavior to inform results past an individual basis?)
2) Can you explain the types/range of severity of algorithmic penalties? (ie; how do you receive an algorithmic penalty, how long does it last, does it affect a site on a page by page basis – or at the domain level?)
3) — Search Console Performance feedback (been a week since I’ve been in there):
——– want to be able to filter off multiple operations in filters (ie; contains “some word” AND does not contain “some other word”)
——– want filters to update the line graph – currently, it is just an overall view of the date range and search type you selected, even when filters are enabled (Is that right?)
——– property sets would be nice (ie; aggregate both http and https for YOY analysis)
——– option to download some time period of data and break it down by day for daily analysis away from Search Console interface (you can do this with the API, but that is over my head/don’t have time for it at the moment)

Thanks for everything you all do!

Glenn Gabe | Digital Marketing Consultant
Hi John. When a company fact checks an article using ClaimReview markup, is there a way to challenge that fact check?? If not, the fact check will show up in the SERPs even if it’s not entirely correct. It seems like there should be a way to challenge a fact check (like you can counter a DMCA takedown).

Also, would continual fact checks against an organization impact that site algorithmically at some point? Again, like DMCA takedowns funnel into the Pirate Algorithm?

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West Midlands Police Website SEO Inspection

With our SEO research to understand more about what Google is doing with algorithm changes we follow specific websites and monitor the changes of websites to understand the effects things are having.

Understanding what Google is doing and what Google needs is vital to Search Engine Optimisation and as one of leading providers of SEO in the UK we monitor and track many high profile websites in varied sectors.

West Midlands Police Website

West Midlands Police Website SEO Inspection

The website URL for the West Midlands Police is and this has a backlinking profile that attracts links on a regular basis hitting peaks of 3000 per day at times and this profile has been growing since March 2011.

West Midlands Police SEO Backlinks

The overall result of the backlink profile is giving a trust flow of 50 and a citation flow of 42. The trust flow is a score based on quality, on a scale between 0 and 100. Sites closely linked to a trusted seed website achieve higher scores and websites that may have some questionable links have a lower score.

The Citation Flow is a also a score between 0 and 100 and this is a measure of link equity or “power” the website or link carries. Citation flow is used in conjunction with “Trust Flow” to understand the cleanliness, quality and power of a websites profile.

This score for the West Midlands Police Website is generated from 54,359 backlinks in the last 90 days and in the last 5 years the website has attracted 202,270 backlinks.

West Midlands Police SEO

It is important to look at what domains are linking to the website and these are referenced as referring domains, which in Google’s view are passing votes to the content on the website. The higher the profile of websites linking to content the better the content must be and also it must be important so Google take this content vary seriously. A website with no backlink’s has no authority on the subject matter.

West Midlands Police SEO Top 10 Referring Domains

The Police are always attracting links from websites and as an example the company Handlestore Ltd with the domain URL links to the police on their Google Plus page when they discuss security improvements. This is used in an attempt to show they are helping visitors by linking to authority websites. This is not so important to Google due to the fact it will actually tell Google to check out other websites for better content.

Handle Store SEO

This Google plus profile is the same as blog post and the company is promoting their website products and then linking to their own website and also trusted URL’s such as the West Midlands Police in order to grow the SEO backlink profile. Google will not really care much about this however and unless this is adding value to visitors the Google plus page itself adds no real value at all to the ranking of the main website URL.

To take a look at the Handle Store website it is clear that this company spends money / time creating backlinks that are not adding value:-


handle store SEO power

To show an example of a backlink that adds no value, if anything a negative impact on the SEO profile:-

handle store SEO backlink

handle store seo

Google’s guidelines explain that they do not want to find paid for links and link farms. The reason for this is that it adds zero value to Internet users and makes Google’s job much larger. Websites that provide links in this manner are adding pollution to the Internet and add no value to a business owner or visitor.

This website has a TRUST problem and anyone with links on this website is more likely to have a decreased overall ranking position due to this for any keywords used.

The problem for this website is that the website itself has lots of poor quality linking to it.

This information here which has led us from the West Midlands Police Website to a furniture linking website shows how random the Internet is and what Google finds is often completely odd and random. It is for this reason that we have added this information in this article.

Looking back at the West Midlands Police backlinking profile there are 202 BBC backlinks:-

bbc SEO links

bbc seo links

bbc seo linking

The West Midlands Police website also has links from Government websites and as an example:-

Government seo links

All these links are picked up by Google and used to create a power profile which in return will provide an idea of trust. Due to the BBC and Government websites not selling links and being quality content with high profile websites linking to them also, these are some of the best links available on the Internet and this adds huge value to the West Midlands Police Website.

All these links are collated in Google’s database and the text used to link known as anchor text is then compiled to create a keyword profile:-

West Midlands Police Website Anchor Text

West Midlands Police Website Anchor Text

Looking at the profile there is a strange number link – 430539. so this stands out to be odd and on investigation we found:-



This is an un-trusted site and this is an example of a negative link pointing at the West Midlands Police website.

It is also important for Google to look at where the links are coming from in relation to location. The country the links are generated from pay an important part of SEO.


The website content is inspected by the Google robots and all the data from the website is retrieved and then added to the Google database for the domain URL

title tag

meta description

  • There are 618 words on this page
  • Of those 618 words 511 words are linked ones
  • Of 618 words 110 are not linked
  • Of 110 non linked words 43 words are either stop words or have less than 3 characters
2 Word phrasesCount
december 201610
back home6
west midlands5
midlands police5
full story5
read full5
police appeal4
latest news4
here for3
click here3
3 Word phrasesCount
read full story5
west midlands police5

css and javascript


KeywordBody TextDensityTitleMeta keywordsMeta descriptionImage altLinks

Google’s Robots grabs:-

West Midlands Police Top of Page Skip to main content Police appeal following fatal collision Read full story Appeal launched after discovering a shotgun was fired into a bus Read full story Police appeal after fatal road collision Read full story CCTV released of men suspected of being involved in football disorder Read full story Trio convicted of terrorism offences Read full story Accessibility options West Midlands Police Preventing crime protecting the public and helping those in need Menu Contact us Menu Home Your local police Back Home Birmingham East Birmingham West Coventry Dudley Sandwell Solihull Walsall Wolverhampton Latest news Back Home View news Our videos Birmingham No Deal Wanted Caught on Camera Media queries Keeping you safe Back About us Back Home Executive team Our structure Diamond awards Getting involved History of the force Police and Crime Commissioner Police auctions Funeral items Behind the badge Back Behind The Crime blog Buses Cannabis disposal team Dogs Firearms licensing Football policing Forensic Investigators Guns Helicopter Motorways Offender management Operational Support Unit Organised Crime Preparing for emergencies Property seizures Summer album Tackling terrorism Traffic blog Vehicles WMPeople Misconduct outcomes Misconduct hearings WMP2020 Advice centre Back Accessing information Back Home Accessing Your Personal Information Civil Disclosure Unit Data Protection Freedom of information Chief Officer entitlements Campaigns Back Home Pickpockets Sentinel Forced marriage Domestic abuse Crime reduction Back Alcohol and violence Business crime Gun crime Home security Knife crime Pickpockets Robbery Scams Shop Theft Students Vehicle security Help and advice Back Academic research Advice for victims Anti social behaviour ANPR Bikesafe course Child sexual abuse Children and young people Domestic abuse Fines and fixed penalty notices Hate crime Honour abuse Mental Health Modern slavery Organising an Event Overseas visitor registration Radicalisation Rape and sexual violence Reporting road traffic collisions Stalking and harassment Stop and search Vehicle recovery scheme Advice leaflets Website Information Join the force Back Home Current vacancies PC recruitment Transferees WMP Associates Contact us Search Latest news Police appeal following fatal collision Monday 26 December 2016 Appeal launched after discovering a shotgun was fired into a bus Saturday 24 December 2016 Police appeal after fatal road collision Saturday 24 December 2016 CCTV released of men suspected of being involved in football disorder Saturday 24 December 2016 Trio convicted of terrorism offences Friday 23 December 2016 Elderly woman robbed in her home after hour long ordeal Saturday 24 December 2016 Life savings stolen in distraction burglary Friday 23 December 2016 No festive joy for football louts after WMP secures banning orders Friday 23 December 2016 Family of murdered man Surjit Takhar re appeal for information eight years after his death Friday 23 December 2016 Family pay tribute to man killed in Coventry collision Thursday 22 December 2016 View all our latest news stories Don t mask the abuse control isn t love Click for more on our Christmas domestic abuse campaign Ask Arita Click here for our latest campaign Darker Nights Click here for our latest campaign Community Project Funding now available Click here for more information Got a ticket Get advice on fines payment and speed awareness courses here Been involved in a crash Get help and advice here Ask The Police Answers to questions we are often asked If it s not an emergency call us 101 If life is in danger or a crime is in progress 999 More ways to contact us Contact your local team by entering your postcode Caught on Camera Recognise anyone in these CCTV images Most Wanted Spot anyone you know View the latest tweets across all our twitter accounts Tweets from WMPolice west midlands police all accounts Follow WMPolice westmidlandspolice Go to our YouTube channel to see our videos West Midlands Police Home Your local police Keeping you safe Advice Centre Latest news Contact us RSS feeds Information FAQs Search Copyright West Midlands Police 2016

The Overall SEO Result

The result of the content and the backlinking profile Google finds will then allow content to be shown in the search results.

west midlands police website traffic

west midlands police website traffic keywords keyword ranking data spreadsheet.

The West Midlands Police Website ranks for keywords that Google decide are relevant and this is as an example:-

google search police jobs

In this example Google ranks the West Midlands Police Website number one in the search results. The content on the website is the most relevant to this search terms but due to the content structure the WM Jobs website is actually providing Google extra information in snippets and this is shown in today’s algorithm above the number one search result which is known as Google’s Quick Answer box.

wm jobs

This example shows how important SEO services are to a website. Even thou the West Midlands Police website is most relevant due to the content not being fully optimised and setup for the latest Google algorithm they actually loose traffic to the WM Jobs site.

To understand more about these pages we need to look at the data Google needs to find such as the title and meta description so that Google understands what the pages are about.

It is important to look at how How does Google Search works to understand more about what we need to provide Google in-order to rank well.

How does Google Search work?

SEO Titles, Meta Description and Meta Keywords

How much time should I spend on meta tags, and which ones matter?

West Midlands Police title = <title>Join the force &#8211; Latest jobs</title>
WM Jobs title = <title>Jobs with West Midlands Police</title>

Google uses however:-
West Midlands Police = Join the force – Latest jobs – West Midlands Police
WM Jobs = Jobs with West Midlands Police – WMJobs

You can see that Google is adding the site name to the title automatically.

How does Google choose titles for search results?

Also in the top 3 of the Google search results is Indeed.

Coded = <title>Police Jobs, vacancies in West Midlands</title>
Google uses = Police Jobs, vacancies in West Midlands |

It is clear that Google uses data and is manipulating the data it finds.

Looking at the Descriptions & Keywords:-

West Midlands Police does not have any description or keywords. Instead the website includes data known as Open Graph Tags which are used by Facebook. OG data promotes integration between Facebook and websites by creating objects with the same functionality as other Facebook objects.

<!– Jetpack Open Graph Tags –>
<meta property=”og:type” content=”website” />
<meta property=”og:title” content=”Join the force” />
<meta property=”og:description” content=”Latest jobs” />
<meta property=”og:url” content=”” />
<meta property=”og:site_name” content=”Join the force” />
<meta property=”og:image” content=”” />
<meta property=”og:locale” content=”en_US” />
<meta name=”twitter:card” content=”summary” />

WM Jobs:-

<meta name=”description” content=”8 jobs with West Midlands Police to view and apply for now with WM Jobs”>

WM Jobs does not use meta keywords.


<meta name=”description” content=”396 Police Job vacancies available in West Midlands on one search. all jobs.”>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”Police Jobs, vacancies in West Midlands, West Midlands careers, West Midlands employment, West Midlands job listings, West Midlands job search, West Midlands search engine, work in West Midlands”>

It is important to note that Google doesn’t use Meta Keywords since around 2009 but these are still used by other search engines such as Bing.

Google does not use the keywords meta tag in web ranking

USe of H1, H2 and H3 Headings

West Midlands Police:-

No H1 Headings

<h2>Current vacancies</h2>

<h3>Leave a Reply </h3>

<h3>Rewards &#038; Benefits</h3>

<h3>Latest Tweets</h3>

WM Jobs:-

<h1>West Midlands Police</h1>

<h2>About West Midlands Police</h2>

<h2>8 jobs with West Midlands Police</h2>

<h3>Business Analyst</h3>


<h1>Police jobs in West Midlands</h1>

<h2></h2> – Various used for Job titles

No H3 Headings

Using H1, H2 and H3 headings are so important for on page SEO as this tells Google what the content is about on the pages. The ordering of H1 should follow a natural path. The H1 heading is at the top of the page and then H2 to break up content and then H3 inside the H2 content where needed.

Google uses this data and the algorithm is clever enough to work out the content on the page with the use of H1, H2, H3, etc heading tags. The algorithm has also worked out that some websites mess up the ordering or try to manipulate the content and this should be avoided.

More than one H1 on a page: good or bad?

On page content

The content on the page is then grabbed and this should be reflected in the above Titles, Meta data and headings. If Google finds unique content it doesn’t really care how pretty the page looks it will now want to use this content within search results and the ranking positions within search results is now down to the quality of the content and the information that has been provided + whether or not Google trusts the content.

A highly skilled SEO consultant can look at differences between websites and understand what is required to be competitive on page one of Google search results looking at the current websites already there.

SEO Is Vital To Online Success?

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