Ash and I were back at The Clarendon Centre bright and early for another day of fantastic talks and conversation on WordPress in Brighton. Day 1 was full of great development tips and tricks along with some particularly interesting discussion on colour theory and its role in accessibility. We were looking forward to what Day 2 had in store.
Our time at WordCamp has certainly shown us that we’re not alone in our trust and investment in WordPress as a platform for websites and apps in the healthcare industry. Neil Gilmour (Motional) spoke about the use of WordPress to support the mental health of tens of thousands of children across the UK. He discussed the journey through the project, from ideas to a successful solution and the technological hurdles along the way.
It was an interesting insight into a project closely related to some of our own work in the industry, particularly working alongside Leeds West Primary Care network on the GP Practice websites and Cygnet Health Care on their own website and Bed Availability platform. All these projects have the same goal of helping the patients who are effectively the end users.
Neil’s project proved the flexibility of WordPress and the enormous variety of solutions it can provide, one of the reasons we continue to develop with it and recommend it as a content management system. He also discussed some recent issues that have arisen due to GDPR and the changes that must be made when collecting children’s personal data. The aspect of privacy came hand-in-hand with security and ensuring that the large amount of sensitive data stored was safe.
Yoast Partner, Marieke Van De Rakt, guided us through the important factors of SEO in 2018 and where developers and content creators should be focusing their efforts in the battle to get their content to the top of search results.
Over the last year Google has implemented a number of changes which have shaken up the SEO space and given people new considerations in optimising their content. Marieke spoke about ‘mobile first indexing’, where Google use the mobile version of your website as the starting point of determining rankings. Luckily, for responsively designed websites using the same content as the desktop versions there’s nothing to worry about, it may even mean that these websites start to outrank competition without mobile-friendly user experiences.
It was interesting to hear that ‘context’ is the main focus for SEO in 2018. Google’s mission is to “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Marieke confirmed my own belief that rather than focusing on the tricks and hacks of SEO, the best approach to SEO is to build a website with a good user experience and relevant content.
Google recently patented ‘Related Entities’, a technique to identify and provide relevant content to users once they’ve made a search on Google. An example of this would be a search for ‘Yoast’, Google provides other relevant searches and answers to common questions.
To ensure your content is optimised for Google’s ‘Related Entities’ functionality, Marieke spoke about including ‘related context synonyms’ amongst content; adding similar language to the focus of content. Another technique would be adding context in internal linking; a sentence where you embed a link should be contextual to the content in which you’re linking towards.
With the grow in popularity of Google Assistant, the voice search tool, Google have had to deal with much longer search queries and bigger questions. Users are speaking to Google in a more natural way rather than just focusing on a few keywords and Google are responding by providing large answers at the top of the results. There is now more of a competitive focus on being number one, rather than just on the first page of results.
Marieke discussed some of the upcoming changes to the Yoast WordPress plugin, noting that they were working on new ways of recognising different word order and multiple synonyms which will hopefully be released in the next few months.
For the majority of this year, Yoast have been working on their Gutenberg integration ahead of the next major WordPress feature’s release. Once they’ve completed this large step they’ll be able to spend more time on new plugin features to address users’ needs for SEO in 2018.
After a jam-packed couple of days, Ash and I are walking away with lots of new ideas we can bring to future projects as well as some interesting new areas of WordPress we’d like to explore and experiment with further. The WordCamp conference was a really positive experience and I’d certainly recommend it to anyone working with WordPress from a design, development or content perspective.