Advice about Google from Pubcon 2017

I’ve just returned from Pubcon in Las Vegas where I spoke on content marketing and brand, and I also got to listen to a lot of different presentations from industry experts and Google. It’s Google, so of course this info’s been tweeted and blogged about, but here’s my take on it. 

The first topic that caused a bit of confusion was about disavow files. Everyone wants to know if it’s still necessary to do them. The basic idea during the presentation was that, yeah, if you’re doing something wrong, do the disavow files. If you’ve seen the error of your ways, and worry about getting a manual penalty sometime in the future, now is probably the time to disavow.

The other important thing that got a lot of talk was “mobile-first”. What this means is that Google will prioritise the indexing of your mobile website. If you’ve got content on your desktop site, and it’s not identical to that on your mobile site, that extra content isn’t going to get seen. Simply put, you need to have identical sites. If you don’t have responsive design, you’ve got a ton of work to do. If you’ve got an M-dot site, which is a cut-down version of a desktop site aimed at mobile users, you’re going to need an overhaul. Mostly, this applies to a lot of older, legacy retailers, who are going to be feeling the pain soon.

The final thing they talked about was accelerated mobile pages, basically talking about everybody having to move toward it eventually. But there seemed to be a lot of people holding back on this, with crowds not feeling as excited about this as Google is. People want to see what alternatives will appear before they commit.

This article originally published on

Jim Stewart is a leading expert in search engine optimisation. His business StewArt Media has worked with clients including Mars, M2 and the City of Melbourne.


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