That was the fourth topic on the most recent TWIO episode, and here’s what our guests had to say about it…
I’ve started to notice quite interestingly things like they’ve started to put, if you ask a question to Google, they have a dropdown. Has anyone had this? A dropdown of questions underneath. I’ve only noticed it for the first time this week, and had a sort of selection of choices. I’ll tweet it up. I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone else share that before. It looked quite interesting.
DAVID BAIN: Yeah, it sounds interesting. I haven’t seen that.
KEVIN GIBBONS: But no, it’s just interesting because they’re trying to with the whole user experience approach, obviously make it about how people engage with that page. And if you bounce back out of the website after seeing a page which looks like it’s well optimised, that’s not a good user experience. So the more they can read into the design and the reaction that people are likely to have, alongside that they have obviously from Chrome, from their point of view, you can bounce back out of a query very quickly, so that’s not a good user experience. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s the more data the better the decisions they can make, so I can see why they’re trying to do that.
It’s a bit like the mobile update where perhaps it hasn’t been rolled-out and used as heavily as it will be in the future, but if they can start collecting data and forcing people into behaviour that they think good website should look like, then that’s giving people a push in the right direction I guess right now.
KEVIN GIBBONS: We’ve had a client that used tabs within their page, so it’s a good way for them to have all of their company on one single url and from that perspective it’s a good user experience, ‘cause rather than dumping all of the content onto one page it’s easy for them to click through without having to reload page. And Google last year was probably ranking that content very favourably. This year it’s not doing as well and we’re internally advising again to make sure that you definitely want to have the right user experience. You need to pay attention to what Google views as the right experience as well, that it’s having that balance, basically.
DAVID BAIN: Alex, I saw you nodding away to part of that. Which part of that did you agree with?
DAVID BAIN: Yeah, that’s right. It’s likely to be spammers, people that are trying to deliver a different version of a webpage to users and search engines that should be most concerned about this kind of thing. Emily, what are your thoughts on this? Do you focus on producing written content for a webpage without being involved within the styling and code behind that or do you have influence regarding the code as well?
EMILY HILL: I’m certainly no coder but I do try to talk to people who do know about code and do know about design because you have to try to marry up the copy with the visual look – it wouldn’t make any sense to separate the two completely, so you have to understand its context. I’m not sure that I can really add to what Alex and Kevin have said about it actually. I think they’ve covered it extremely well. I mean, ever since the Hummingbird update a couple of years ago, Google’s been crystal clear that its key interest is in understanding how users experience websites and their content and their design and how engaged they are with what we’re providing to them, so it seems like a perfectly logical step in that progression.
DAVID BAIN: Absolutely. And Pete, I presume that this is something you would agree with as well, that Google was probably trying to do the right things, see things more from a user perspective and that the only people that should be concerned about this are people that are trying to manipulate Google’s results?
PETE CAMPBELL: I think there’ll always be better as external resources. Since you have a library and you download it once, that’s cached in your browser and then the browser interface can refer to that again and again. And particularly with the introduction of things like HTTP/2, where the way in internet over the next few years will work is that the browser will grab everything at once, whereas at the moment if you want to go on a webpage it works a bit like, you know, slowly ordering a pizza. You have to say, ‘I would like pepperoni, I would like pineapple.’ Whereas the way the internet is going is it’s going to grab everything at once. So I think external files are going to be even more important.
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