I am really pleased to have Shyam Dattani who is one of speakers at Search London’s 6th Birthday Party at the end of January 2017. Thank you Shaym for coming on the podcast.
Read the full interview below or listen to it on SoundCloud.
You are going to be speaking at Search London, you work at Searchmetrics who is the headline sponsor for the event.What is your role at the company?
I am now actually the director of Strategic Partnerships at Searchmetrics which involves working with all of our high value partners and really kinda just making sure that we align what we are doing perfectly to increase the efficiency of our partners output.
Some of your partners are people that work in the search world and I understand that you used to work in search as well. How did you get into that?
I started working at iProspect and was working on some of their global accounts, American Express and a few more.To be honest getting into search was almost an accident but I never looked back since I got there to be honest.I liked the analytical nature of what SEO actually is. It is more of a puzzle than anything else I think.
Yeah I definitely find that many people that are in SEO or in search didn’t actually plan to be there from the beginning.
That is what digital is, it is constantly changing which is great. You are speaking on January 30th, our 6th birthday party. Can you tell us a more about the presentation you will be speaking about.
You mentioned it was going to be User Centric Page.
Yes User Centric Search is the name of my presentation and to be honest it is basically the goal of SEO and the goal of Google in general. People often forget whilst trying to game Google that really Google just wants to give the best service to its users, namely us, the people that search on Google.
I think if you put the user at the heart of everything you do strategically when you are thinking about SEO, that is when you can come up with the best strategies and have in my opinion the best digital plan. So hopefully I can delve a little deeper how to put the user at the center at your search strategy and some of take aways everyone can do.
This question has been raised often, are keywords still in important in SEO
Yes that question is one for the hall of fame. Keywords are always going to be important. The fact that they are called keywords is due to old school, needing to stuff pages and writing something in Google to get a specific answer or jumbling it around to get a different answer.
They are important because they will form the basis of your content. But they are not so important in the same way they used to be before.
If you type into Google, for example, “The thing you sit on that has 4 legs”, and then head to shopping, Google will show you chairs. However, that does not mean that typing in “chairs” is not quicker.
What people are trying to get at when they ask “Are keywords still important in SEO”, what answer most people are looking for is that yes keywords are important but what is more important is also surrounding the context of what that user is searching for. What that means is meeting that user intention and what that means is that it inherently makes the keywords not as important because you can describe something and write around the topic. Google will still understand what you are talking about.
You are talking about making sure that the content is relevant
Yes making sure that the relevance of the content actually matches the intention of your user, whatever that may be.
Google wants to serve up a result that serves the purpose of for what the user intended. That is why Google tries to understand a lot about your past search history, understand what type of person you are, to make a guess or assumption on what you mean. One example if you are searching for Thai food on your phone, you will get restaurants and local places to eat.
If you are searching on your desktop, you may see that you get recipes. Google might assume you are trying to cook or make something.
Google tries to learn a lot more about you. So it can personalise its efforts so it can understand your user intention.
Based on that, what are the three main changes happening in 2017
There will be so many changes this year as there always are. The main thing is Mobile First side of Google and the fact they want to index Mobile before Desktop. It was a change that was necessary, bearing in mind more people use mobile than desktop.
A real marketing channel will look to see where mobile fits in that funnel and where desktop can still come in.
Mobile First will be really really important, making sure pages are ready for mobile and pages are working in that way. Many webmasters I think are not read for the Mobile First change.
I also think that puts you onto the same spectrum of thinking about AMPS. If you see recently in this last year, it has massively increased, the frequency of showing AMPS and number of AMPs that are available and how often they change and how regularly they update.
Google seems to be putting a lot of emphasis on those especially as they load up so quickly, they are so straight to the point, They do exactly what they are meant to do.
Voice search is obviously making a massive difference in the way people are searching. That also ties in very well to Hummingbird and ranking algorithms what were speaking about before.
If Google is understanding content better and understanding what it means, it will also be using the same mechanisms and algorithms to be more relevant to what you are saying.
One of the more interesting things that I have also seen that will increase and improve in 2017 is the overall lack of click throughs in general. Google is getting so much better at showing the answers to your questions or servicing your need and intention without even having you go to a website.
If they carry on doing it at that rate and carrying getting better at what they are doing and understanding and serving instant answers and instant results and knowledge graphs, there will a natural decrease in the need to visit a website to get the information you want.