Welcome to the first in a regular series of updates from Michael Bell One about all things ‘Digital Marketing’. This month we’ll be reviewing some of the rumoured and confirmed Google updates that could impact your site’s traffic, as well as the recent changes made to meta description length and how it can help get more people to click on your company.
Express Yourself – Longer Meta Descriptions
As we always say, meta descriptions have no direct impact on your SEO score or site visibility. However, a decent description can be the difference between a user visiting your site, or clicking on the competition.
As of the end of last year, Google have increased their meta description allowance from 160 characters to 275/300 (it varies, unfortunately). This means there’s now a lot more room to get the best possible copy onto SERPs.
This is still under review our end until April to see how it changes user behaviour and how we can make appropriate, effective adjustments. However, as of now you’re free to write longer copy to raise the click-through rate of your organic search results, but make sure that if you do you try to stick to the following rules:
- Use targeted keywords that appear on your page
- Try not to use the same meta descriptions across your site, so that they’re relevant to each page
- Use emotive language where possible, or make it personable
- Include a number – whether that be a telephone CTA or a statistic, studies have found that users are more likely to visit a site if they have digits in their description
For now, aim for no more than 300 characters and we’ll relate our own findings in later reports.
The Maccabees Update (AKA ‘Fred’) – December 2017
Towards the end of 2017 there appeared to be a few slight, but sequential, updates that had a seasonal impact on sites across the board. Originally these updates were thought to be part of a larger change that was going to be nicknamed ‘Fred’, but it has been confirmed that it is in fact a series of smaller updates that have un-officially been named ‘Maccabees’.
From our perspective, this algorithm change seemed to mainly hit affiliate based sites, as well as relevancy of content that is on site that took a bit of a nosedive. On the whole, we have been running site crawls and haven’t noticed anything major on any of our sites (apart from some fairly usual January slumps), but we will continue to monitor the situation and report back any changes.
One of the most interesting things about this update is that it seems to have dramatically impacted SERPs results for celebrity names…
More Changes On The Way? – January 2018
Following the slightly fickle Maccabees update, there has been a flurry of chatter about further changes to Google’s algorithm. Initially, these changes were limited to Google speed updates, which were designed to rank down slow mobile pages. If you think your mobile site is running slowly, or images are taking too long to load, please contact us immediately to work out how to resolve it, or your page rank may be damaged.
Following on from this, there has been increasing variance in site performance worldwide. We haven’t noticed too much of an impact on our sites, but as always we’ll keep an eye on the situation and advise should anything change.