Google Increases Meta Descriptions to 320 Characters – Why Care?

Yep. Another Google change.

This time they increased the length of your pages’ meta description. Strangely enough, this only has a small indirect effect on your rankings.

For clarification, meta descriptions now look like this:

And for once, this change doesn’t have much of an effect on your search rankings.

But smart SEOs and SMBs can still capitalize in significant ways.

Why Should You Care about the Length of Your Meta Description?

So if your meta description’s length doesn’t affect your search rankings, why should you care about it at all?

…Because it’s another opportunity to win more clicks (and sales too). A higher click-through rate for your page does improve your search rankings.

It’s not a huge factor. But it is one nonetheless.

The bigger (and even hidden) opportunity lies in your meta description’s ability to drive more qualified customers to your website.

You can’t jam much value into 160 characters.

But 320 is more than enough.

So, you have more room to include benefits, product and service differentiation, and attractive features about your company (like no contracts, same-day service, limited time offers, or whatever you have).

You can also add another relevant search phrase or two that your customers might use. The keyword they enter, along with closely related terms, appear in bold.

Searchers click listings with their bolded terms more frequently also.

Should You Change All Your Meta Descriptions?

…You don’t need to.

At a minimum, you should at least revisit the meta descriptions for your highest-trafficked web pages.

Make sure they include the primary keyword you target, and possibly a closely related term or two.

Include all the most powerful benefits, differentiation, and product and service features that light customers’ eyes up when considering whether to purchase.

If that doesn’t fill all 320 characters up, no big deal! A long meta description does you no good. But a value-packed one does.

Then, as you have time, work your way down to the pages on your website with the lowest traffic.

You may even ignore your lower traffic pages if you don’t have the time or the money to spend.

Not a Huge Change, But One Smart SEOs and Companies Pay Attention To

In the grand scheme of search, this isn’t a monstrous change.

But, most companies likely won’t prioritize updating their meta descriptions because they exclusively focus on search rankings and know this won’t help them much in that regard.

That means this can be your opportunity to be more persuasive and snatch more customers.

Just like in any other profession, the most successful do all the little things right.

Google’s John Mueller Reveals New Info about the Mobile-First Index

Google’s mobile-first index doesn’t quite work like you think.

At first, you’d think maybe it shows search results different for mobile users. After all, they search differently and want different things than desktop searchers.

But that’s not how the mobile-first index works.

Rather, it means that the mobile version of your website becomes the starting point for how Google determines your rankings. If you don’t have a mobile site, you can still actually rank in the mobile-first index. But, if you provide a better mobile experience than other websites, you get a rankings boost (even for desktop searchers).

So simply think of the mobile version of your website as the primary version. And if it’s the only version you have, that’s fine.

Until now, Google looked at the desktop version of your website as the primary one. So going forward, that means it makes sense to cater to mobile users as much as possible.

Google does this because they’re a smart, publicly-traded company who understands how to cater to the market. At least 60% of all searches now happen on mobile devices.

So if you want to stay the #1 search engine, it simply makes good business sense to show websites that serve mobile searchers best.

What Google’s John Mueller Shared about the Mobile-First Index

Anyway, with all that background info in mind, here’s what Google spokesperson John Mueller had to say about the mobile-first index:

  1. Google Will Notify You in Its Search Console When You Get Moved to This Index

No surprises. No guesses. Google will let you know when you’re in.

  1. Ready Sites Get Moved First

If your site is optimized for mobile users, it goes to this index first. That’s potentially a nice rankings advantage.

  1. Code Remains Important

Google will no longer look at the desktop index. Sometimes, code differs between a mobile and desktop index. And, that code can be important to your rankings.

So it’s essential your SEO and developer understands to include those code snippets that help your site rank.

  1. Better to Have a Good Desktop Site Than a Bad Mobile One

Should you panic at the sound of this news and slam out a mobile-ready site, complete with mistakes and cut corners?

Nope!

John Mueller says to cater to the overall user experience first.

Just like all Google updates, this one is a big deal…but it isn’t.

It will cause change.

But if you pay any attention to the market, and what Google’s doing, it comes as no surprise.

And it shouldn’t catch you off guard.

At the same time, you’re wise to be aware and fine-tune your website for the best searcher experience so you stay as high as possible in the rankings.

How to Turn Your Visitors into Repeat Visitors – And Customers

How does business on the web work?

Why do random web visitors turn into customers?

…And why don’t they?

Business, sometimes, can be a mysterious thing. You don’t always know why consumers choose to do what they do.

But we can assure you that you’ll turn more into repeat visitors and customers when you focus on the following:

  1. Be the Most Valuable Resource in Your Niche

Consumers bookmark, share, subscribe to newsletters, and come back to websites that solve their problems. If they’re not ready to buy now, they’ll at least remember you for quite some time.

…And then if they have a problem you solve, they’ll contact you because they know, like, and trust you.

This cycle may take 3, 6, or 9 months – or maybe even a full year or two.

And to keep their attention, you gotta build your relationship with them. You do that by offering incredible value they can’t get anywhere else.

Most blogs give just the basics.

But if you’re an experienced professional, you know some things many others don’t. Share those insights on your blog so readers have a reason to stick with you instead of the other guys.

Don’t hide your best stuff!

Put it out there. Because when people learn something new, they get interested.

Yes, your competitors might read your blog. But still, they can’t just grab your experience and become you overnight. You can’t fake that.

Trust us – you’ll be okay sharing even your trade secrets on your blog.

  1. Differentiate, Differentiate, Differentiate

On your home page, about page, and services pages (aka all your “sales pages”), focus almost all your time differentiating your company from the hundreds of others who do exactly the same thing.

What if you look at your company and find yourself basically the same as dozens of others?

Spend time and money on creating differentiation.

New and different businesses always attract a boat-load of attention.

And then focus your time on explaining why your difference matters.

This gives your market a good reason to go with you – rather than another company who simply offers a limited time discount.

You’ll also be able to charge higher prices and keep customers longer.

Now Go Out There and Win the Attention You Deserve!

No matter how successful your business is, sticking to these two principles puts you in a winning position – or solidifies it that much more.

So ponder them, research examples, and figure out how you can apply both to your business.

 

When Optimizing Google Ads for Quality Score Doesn’t Make Sense

Quality Score.

It’s Google’s way of determining the ranking position and cost per click of your PPC ads.

Quality score can be a step in helping you achieve your business goals. But sometimes, it doesn’t always work in your best interests.

Remember, Google makes most of its money from its ads. Last year, they raked in $95.38 billion of their $110.9 billion in total revenue (86%) from their ads.

While Google has done a superb job of perfecting how Quality Score works so it gives searchers the best experience, this hasn’t necessarily led to making it easier for you to drive real business results. For example, you might look at ROI, leads generated, revenue generated, and so on.

So if you set your sights on perfecting your Quality Score, you can actually sometimes also be shooting your business results in the foot. For example, it does happen in campaigns where you increase CTR (click through rate), which also increases your quality score. However, conversions may not increase.

So, you’ve just increased your costs – with no associated increase in your sales.

The Best Uses of Quality Score

One helpful way to look at your Quality Score lies in its relationship to your keywords. Let’s say one of your keywords generates a high number of total conversions. However, it has a lower rate and lower Quality Score. In this case, you’ll more than likely improve your conversion rate by also improving your Quality score.

You might also find your Quality Score so low that you don’t get any real business results from certain keywords. In this case also, it makes sense to focus your time and effort on improving your Quality Score.

Clearly, experience and professional judgment play a role here. If you don’t have much of either, how can you know the relationship between Quality Score and the business metric you’re looking at, and whether you should focus on Quality Score or not?

 

You Don’t Need to Fear Quality Score

Despite Quality Score’s imperfections, it’s not something to be ignored. It simply shouldn’t be the measure of success. It shouldn’t be your goal.

Your business goals should be written down. And Quality Score should be seen as a step on your journey to online advertising success.

As long as you keep that perspective, you’ll do just fine in your PPC campaigns.

3 Disastrous SEO Mistakes to Avoid in 2018 That Could Tank Your Rankings

Yeah. SEO’s gotten a lot tougher.

But for the market, that’s been a good thing. Because, even though Google’s imperfect, it’s still awfully darn good at getting the most useful websites at the top of its search rankings.

Just think of your own search experience. Yeah, you find a garbage website from time-to-time. But just a search later, you’ve got reliable information that gives you a precision answer to your question.

Unfortunately for small and local businesses, SEO gets tougher. So, make sure you avoid either doing your own SEO, or hiring a cheap SEO company foolish enough to make these mistakes:

  1. Not Setting Goals…or Metrics to Measure Them

Have your SEO efforts succeeded? When done right, SEO is the most cost-effective marketing method for small businesses.

If your SEO strategy and tactics have succeeded, how do you know?

You can choose from many metrics to measure success. Ultimately, you’ll want sales. And to that, you could add rankings, traffic, and links.

You might set some of these as leading indicators of success. And then a couple could serve as your actual goals.

The point is you have a system of measurement to understand how your SEO strategy is doing.

  1. Accidentally Creating Duplicate Content

Duplicate content happens. It doesn’t mean that your SEO plagiarized someone else’s work (although it can happen that way).

If you have a WordPress-based website that you’ve run for some years, it’s entirely possible to create duplicate content without even knowing it.

Your SEO should never do this by accident. It’s a simple mistake every pro knows to avoid.

But if you yourself have made it, don’t worry. It’s an easy fix.

  1. Not Thinking Like a Human/Minimizing User Experience

In the end, Google really ranks your website based on how much value you offer relative to other websites that provide the same service or cover the same topic.

Yes, Google naturally supports democracy in its search rankings. What searchers like the best climbs to the top.

As you create your website, add content, and do various technical changes, it’s easy to shift your focus too much on pleasing Google.

While Google is the god of the internet, ultimately you want to please your visitors first. They’ll stay on your site longer and share your website with their friends and family. And those actions get measured in your metrics, which Google also measures and uses to rank your website.

Your website should be easy to use on a laptop, desktop, table PC, and smartphone. Your content should be clear and feel natural to read. It shouldn’t even be noticeable to the average person that you optimized a certain page for various keywords.

You can get into all sorts of minutia with this. But you get the point.

It’s easy to slip into some of these because they’re concepts. Some of this is subjective. Google doesn’t have clear, hard, and fast rules.

So that’s why it makes sense to ensure you have a proven and experience SEO company watching your six.

5 Tips for Creating High-Converting PPC Ads

“Extra! Extra! Read all about it!”

…You remember how the cliché newspaper boy from the 1920s would shout that to get attention.

And then he’d hand out a newspaper with an exciting title in big, bold, black letters you couldn’t possibly miss.

You shouldn’t necessarily capitalize like that with your PPC ads. But the general point remains the same: the titles on your PPC ads need to capture attention. They need to be so fascinating they can’t possibly be ignored.

How do you do that?

Here’s some ideas:

  1. Differentiate

You know your niche. You can also easily research their PPC ad headlines.

Simply differentiate to stand out.

Remember, searchers see the same headlines over and over. So, they get used to them and stop noticing what they say.

Find a way to be different…and you’ll end up with more clicks and sales.

  1. Tell Searches What They Get When They Click

Do you offer a free consultation? Even better, can you change the wording of that to more accurately reflect what your customers get from your consultation?

For example, if you’re an HVAC company, you could say,”Get your free home comfort analysis today!”

Comfort? That’s what people ultimately want from their HVAC systems isn’t it?

Consider how you can use the same thinking to create an attractive offer in your own niche.

  1. Use Numbers And Symbols

When people see search listings, they typically see lots of letters. Numbers and symbols, because they look different, naturally get noticed more.

So instead of “Save Big!” say “Save Up to 50% Now!” or “Save $$$” or “Save $25 Now!”

You can expect more sales as a result.

  1. Compare Your Offer to Competing Ones

You don’t have to call your competitors out by name. But you can certainly observe their PPC ads, and the offers they propose.

Then, if it makes sense for your business, simply top their offer. You don’t have to do it by a lot.

And if you don’t like offering discounts, toss something else in for free when customers order.

  1. Pre-Qualify Customers

Do you have a pricier service you offer to an exclusive market segment?

Then make your ad qualify searchers in an obvious way.

With your pricier service, you may want to mention the price: “Starting at $950.”

That way, you don’t have people clicking on your ads who will never purchase. In addition, your niche understands you created your offer just for them. That’s a powerful trigger for driving buying behavior.

Armed with these techniques, creating cost-efficient PPC ads that drive high-revenue, loyal customers will be no problem for you!