Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google met with Danny Sullivan the founding editor of Search Engine Land for a Q&A. Here are the topics covered so far and Gary’s responses.

The secret to ranking on Google

Create great content, acquire links then market your content and get your friends and network to talk about your great content.

The mobile and desktop-first index

Searching on mobile will give you different results than desktop mainly due to page-speed and UX. Mobile search growth is massive and Google’s goal is to have the mobile-index eventually replace the desktop index.

Algorithm updates (e.g. Fred)

Fred was just an update reinforcing the quality guidelines – follow these to avoid unexpected traffic drops. The core algorithm will see changes everyday, people may be hit one day and recover the next but only shout about drops making it sound worse than it is.

Update Featured Snippets in the SERPs

Nothing in the short term will be changing here.

Mobile interstitial penalty

Yes, this was rolled out and you can be penalised.

Too much SEO

Don’t go overboard on optimising, don’t buy links or stuff keywords.

Should we use AMP, native apps or PWAs

If your mobile site is fast, you don’t need to go to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) can give you more functionality/UX if you need it, people are also unlikely to install an app if they want to use your website without added functionality which makes PWAs more desirable.


Not much change here – Rankbrain allows Google to understand better which user’s query is best based on historical data.

HTTPs ranking boost

When Google sees your URL with HTTPs you get a small boost, the same as it has always been. If you have a large site and want to switch to HTTPs, switch in sections to protect yourself against any unforeseen errors.

Is schema markup important for an E-Commerce site?

Yes, very important.

The most important points for Webmasters/SEOs for 2017

Mobile-first index, improving user-experience and targeting other countries with low amounts of content. Also, PWAs may be getting more attention from Google.

Search Engine Land – SMX Advanced keynote

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