A Few Things We Think Mattered in 2018

2018 light painting.

As a team, we’re always sharing cool things we find with the group. You’d be correct in guessing that not all of it’s work-related—we’re human too, and we enjoy music, movies, TV, books, video games, and memes like the rest of you. 

For this list though, we wanted to bring you industry-related articles and internet things that we found most interesting in 2018. Check out our favorite topics from the worlds of SEO, PPC, Web Dev, Design, CRO, and Analytics.


JavaScript’s importance to SEO

Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller popped up in the SEO subreddit in August answering a question regarding the relationship between JavaScript and SEO, in which he stressed its importance. We’re an agency whose strength comes from our technical SEO, so it’s great to hear a Google bigwig talking about the importance now and in the future.

Given the number of SEOs who have a good grasp on technical SEO for static HTML, if you want to differentiate yourself, understanding how JS works, where it works with SEO, where it blocks SEO, what the effects are on other search engines & clients — obviously on top of understanding technical SEO — will make your services much more valuable.

Read his full comment here

Valuing category page content over links

We’ve seen that a page with great content and a solid technical base will always have a chance to rank, regardless of how many links the competition has. We’ve shied away from link building as a central SEO strategy for several years, so it’s validating to see articles like this one finally floating around this year.

There are swathes of commercially orientated queries in Google’s search results where the top 6 pages have no, or very very little copy on them. And you can compete with that easily if you’re willing to find a design solution to adding more content to your pages…… What I’ve learned is that even when you’re small, there’s a method to level the playing field. And, it’s outrageously simple.

Read the full article here

The coolest robots.txt file we saw this year

Don’t ask us why we were poking around Nike’s robots.txt, just listen when we tell you that it’s cool! If you’ve got some nerdy inclinations, go ahead and check it out for yourself (scroll to the bottom).


Where marketers plan to spend in 2019

Though we’ve got our own tricks of the trade, it’s not good to live inside a PPC bubble. Hanapin Marketing’s annual “State of PPC Survey” gives insight into where marketers plan on focusing their ad spend in the coming year, and comparing it to previous years’ responses reveals what’s trending.

Read the survey highlights here

Web Dev

Prioritizing web accessibility

What ‘mobile friendly’ has been to the internet the past 5 years, accessibility will be for 2019—and Google will probably start factoring it into their algorithm. We believe building accessible websites is good for business, because good accessibility is good UX.

Accessible websites are inherently more usable, and consequently they get more traffic. Additionally, better user experiences result in lower bounce rates, higher conversions, and less negative feedback, which in turn typically make accessible websites rank higher in search engines.

Read the article here

Google’s stranglehold on the browser landscape

If you needed any more proof that Google doesn’t operate according to their old “Don’t Be Evil” motto….

Google is already a company that exercises considerable influence over the direction of the Web’s development. By owning both the most popular browser, Chrome, and some of the most-visited sites on the Web (in particular the namesake search engine, YouTube, and Gmail), Google has on a number of occasions used its might to deploy proprietary tech and put the rest of the industry in the position of having to catch up.

Read the full article here (updated with a response from Google!)

The case for Progressive Web Apps

An excerpt from Jason Grigsby’s book, “Progressive Web Apps” was published online in December, 2018. 

Progressive web apps represent the next big digital opportunity: they look and feel like native apps, they work offline, and they’re available to anyone—no app store required.

Read the Chapter 2 excerpt here


Inclusive Design Principles

We believe in free and equal access to the internet (looking at you, Ajit Pai). On the other hand, that’s a hollow belief for web designers to have if we aren’t creating inclusive and accessible websites. The Inclusive Design Principles really made us do some self-reflecting and realize that inclusive design is a never-ending practice.

These Inclusive Design Principles are about putting people first. It’s about designing for the needs of people with permanent, temporary, situational, or changing disabilities — all of us really.

Read the Principles here

The myth of “above the fold”

Gone are the days of designing webpages that convert without scrolling. It’s 2018! We scroll!

It’s not 1997 anymore.


The best book we read this year: “Making Websites Win”

What makes this book stand apart is how well they frame the topic (e.g. Power law of CRO can be used to help sales team), how easy it is to read, and how comprehensive it is. If you work with websites at all—design, developer, marketer—you need to read this book.

Add it to your Amazon wish list!


Google shows us just how fun Data Studio can be

This year, we moved much of our client reporting into Google Data Studio. We tell our clients that almost anything is possible on the platform, but Google went ahead and showed just how useful it can be for almost any data set:

  • Facebook ad performance? Check.
  • eCommerce site speed? Check.
  • World Cup Leaderboard? Check!
  • Star Wars data? Check!
  • ISS Tracker!?!? CHECK!

Check out the Google Data Studio Report Gallery here

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