Weekly Finds – Week 45, 20203 min well spent
Aja Frost, a loyal Tech Bound reader, put together a great list of resources to learn SEO, including yours truly.
Andy Davies wrote about a big problem in SEO: the heavy load of third-party tags on site speed. Tracking pixels, a/b testing tool tags, or other types of scripts have crucial functionality but come at a price.
The common advice is to defer or load scripts asynchronously, but the first step should be an audit (with your page speed tool of choice; Andy recommends webpagetest.org). Then, look for tags that aren’t used anymore. Finally, host libraries and other stylistic tags on your own servers or CDNs.
The article has tons of great tips. You don’t need every tag on every page. For example, a/b testing scripts only need to exist on pages you actually want to run tests with. When subscriptions for tools run out that need a tag, the good ones return a 403 status code when they expire. Divide tags into two groups: those that load before the main content and those after.
Another avenue I might have underestimated is XML sitemaps. Maxing the 50K URLs for sitemaps out might not be a good idea after all. XML sitemaps of 10K might seem to work better. Google’s recommendation to use more and smaller xml sitemaps in Google News could also transfer to regular organic search. The article also outlines the idea of dynamic xml sitemaps that add and remove URLs automatically based on what you want Google to crawl.
Speaking of trying something out: DuckDuckGo tested how 12,000 people across 3 countries would choose a search engine if they were presented with a choice. The result: 20% of people would not choose Google on average.
This analysis, of course, was published amid the discussion around Google’s exclusive deal with Apple to be the default search engine and how anticompetitive that is.
I would love to see the a/b test of Google’s partnership with Apple. If competition is just a click away, Google should test and see what happens when they’re not the preferred search engine on Apple’s devices. As I wrote in When Platform Confluence becomes anti-competitive, if competition is just a click away, why does Google pay Apple $2B a year?
Apple is proof that in business, it doesn’t matter whether you’re first or how innovative you think a product is. All that matters is whether you make the life of your customers better or not.
Innovation is often a matter of perception rather than hard technicalities. Ask yourself: what can you do that others cannot? Being the best is not as good as being the only one.
“I doubt Apple looks at itself as being in the business of building consumer products, if so then it competes with just about everyone. I think that Apple is in the business of experience design, and just so happens to make consumer products.“