Mozcon 2017: Dr. Pete Meyers

Dr. Pete Meyers at Mozcon 2017

DISCLAIMER: This post is written as a live blog from Mozcon. There may be typos and grammar to make my high school English teachers weep. Please excuse those … it’s a fast-paced conference with back-to-back sessions and no time for proofing or even proper writing.

Dr. Pete Meyers closes out the day talking about what’s coming next at Google. He’s going to cover 5 things we need to look at and do.


55% of page one results on page one are secured.  If you’re not secured and look at the trend Pete predicts we’ll be at 2/3 by the end of the year. The majority of big players are paying attention and it needs to be done but it’s not without its perils.

Worth remembering also that apart from SEO is that Chrome will start warning people when they’re not on HTTPS and you’re filling out a form so you will lose conversions.  And that’s an SEO signal and a kick in the pants.

So what do you do?

There is risk and it’ll take time but you just need to do it. As I say … sometimes you just have to pull off the band-aid as the warning may pop up and then you’ll have to do it overnight.

2 – Featured Snippets

87% of queries don’t include a featured snippet. If you’re targeting a phrase and it’s dominated by a type of snippet like videos you’re not going to rank with non-video content.

You can use the Moz tools to see which type of content are dominating the snippets.  Focus on that. You also need to look at the type.  Don’t compete where the answer is complete as you won’t get a click and if you’re up against the brand wither go for longtail or paid.

3 – Rankbrain

Pete advises to worry a little less about Rankbrain. He reminds us that it impacts longer tail and natural language more than general terms and that just because it sits on top of all queries doesn’t mean it impacts them.

Basically, this is the system that helps create an understanding of the content context to now we can just write to the intent and stop jamming in keywords.  Hidden in the data for them is that they’re inputting the signals and outputting what people prefer and letting the machine figure out the factors. Basically, they’re able to extract meaning and rank it rather than keyword densities.

He references Keyword Explorer and talks about the difficulty of thinking of individual keywords.  He mentioned using the lexicological groupings which group the terms loosely and ties them by common meanings which is what Google’s getting closer to doing – rank intent not keywords.

He points out that how Google thinks more like us we can start marketing to people.

4 – More Featured Snippets

He reminds us to look at the formatting of featured snippets that are ranking and be inspired by that.

He also suggests experimenting with inverted pyramids.  That is, give the answer first and then the steps and info. This is good for Google and the user will see they’re getting the information they want and then drill down and if they don’t drill they weren’t good prospects anyway.

5 – Voice Search

Pete talks about the pulling of voice search responses coming primarily from featured snippets (they are driven by the same engine). This means we only need to focus on featured snippets for now BUT voice is learning new capabilities taking the device into account so this may change.

Most text featured snippets were selected for voice so if you want to win on voice search you should focus on the terms with text results.

Download his slide deck here.