Why You Should Care About Google Increasing the Length of META Descriptions

Look, unless you’re an SEO expert, you probably think something like this isn’t a big deal:

Yeah, you get another 2 lines of text or so in Google’s search results.

So what?

Well, even though this doesn’t improve your search rankings even the slightest bit, it’s a huge deal.

In the past, the typical META description length was around 160 characters. For about a year or so, Google has allowed some to climb well beyond that.

Now, Google allows that number to grow to 230 characters.

And you can do two things with this:

  1. Nothing, which means Google will grab content from your page and insert it into the META description itself
  2. Take control and write your META descriptions on your own, or have your SEO company do it for you, so you can win more clicks, visits, and sales

What Most SEO Companies and SMBs Will Do

Most won’t do a thing. Some SEO companies may position this as a “good idea” that you should do to improve your visibility in search.

…But that really misses the mark. And you lose out on a huge opportunity to get more customers and sales from search.

How Do You Win More Customers with Your META Description?

Even though Google has sophisticated AI, it does not know how to write META descriptions that optimize for clicks.

Sure, it’ll tell searchers what your page is about. And that will get more clicks than doing nothing to your META descriptions at all.

But, from a rational perspective only your human mind can consider, think of your META description as another opportunity to sell.

You now have an additional 70 characters to explain why people should click on your listing.

So, you want to give people the benefits (not the features) of what your page offers. This makes most sense for your services pages, or your products pages, depending on what type of business you run.

If you’re a service-based company, this won’t take much time. You know why people come to you.

It could be for:

  • Saving money or time
  • Convenience or ease in solving a problem
  • Getting a long-lasting HVAC repair
  • Learning how to save energy and money
  • Help understanding the best approach to solving a business problem

Describe that, and the experience people will get from your product or service, and you position yourself ahead of nearly every other SMB, and many global corporations, in the mind of your customer.

Technically, you’re marketing and selling on a micro scale.

But, turn a few searchers into customers each month, and consider what that could mean to the bottom line of your business!

To top it off, your competitors won’t have any awareness you’re doing this.

Think of your web page’s title as the headline of a newspaper. You want to get people’s attention and entice them to learn more.

Then, your META description is your golden opportunity to provide even more value to your searchers.

This change in how Google’s search works seems minor.

But to smart businesses who want to survive and thrive, it’s a huge deal.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!

How to Dominate SEO in 2018

Think of your favorite sport.

Who’s your favorite coach in that sport?

…What do they constantly harp on?

“Fundamentals!”

Fundamentals. Fundamentals. Fundamentals.

Every successful coach understands the fundamentals. And they have a way of keeping their athletes focused on them and doing them right so they stay at the top of their game.

SEO is no different.

But, unlike sports, the fundamentals can change over time.

What do they look like for SEO in 2018 and beyond?

Something like this:

  1. Content Stays at the Top, And Especially This Kind of Content

A recent social media Examiner poll found 37% of marketers stated visual content was the most important kind for their business.

When you create visual content and promote it aggressively, you can attract your fair share of links and social media shares.

Infographics still work.

And so do embeddable images. “Embedabble images” have code others can easily grab and insert into their website.

Others will frequently link to it.

What if they don’t?

So what!

Visual marketing isn’t about tightly controlling the copyright to your image. You want your content to get out there and in front of people who will link to it and share it.

Most website owners understand that having outbound links to reputable sites like yours boosts their own SEO too.

  1. Include Video

Strange as it seems, video is still catching on, speaking in terms of its SEO value. You’d think websites would have understood and implemented this on a large scale by now.

But, that’s not the case.

First, understand YouTube is the world’s 2nd largest search engine.

That shocked me. I thought that would be Amazon or Facebook.

But for now, the distinction rests in the hands of Google’s YouTube.

Many marketers simply won’t take the time to produce videos.

So, you have a distinct advantage when you produce videos and optimize them for YouTube.

  1. Unique Data

You’re certainly aware of the overabundance of content on nearly every subject.

It’s still possible to stand out with your own unique version.

But, it’s much harder than it used to be.

One easy way to differentiate and win attention is by publishing your own unique data.

You don’t have to do anything sophisticated.

Simply make it useful.

What if you run a “boring ol’ HVAC company?”

Publish data you 1) either research on your own or 2) find from a highly credible source that cites the number of Americans who feel uncomfortable with their home’s air temperature.

Or, do a quick survey of your own customers and publish the data.

Then, you wind up your discussion of the data with the fact that you offer a free audit that shows homeowners how you can help them stay cool and comfortable.

SEO doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. You just have to stay updated on what works…and what doesn’t.

And we’ll always be here to help you understand how to spend your time so you get the most value.

3 Biggest SEO Mistakes You Can Make in 2017 – 2018

With somewhere around 500 algorithm changes per year, and much of Google’s algorithm driven by AI, it’s easy to see why you could make SEO mistakes.

You don’t have to worry about having 1000 lines of code in your website, mistakenly forgetting a semicolon somewhere, and having your rankings trashed as a result. Google’s got some common sense.

At the same time, you can still make mistakes in SEO.

And here’s the biggest ones you can make, which can absolutely ruin your rankings if you don’t change your approach:

  1. Shifting Your Focus from Delivering the Most Value to Technical SEO Only

Technical SEO is necessary to rank well. You can’t succeed without it. However, even more important is your ability to deliver the best value in your niche.

Let’s say you offer HVAC services in DFW. Then, your blog should offer the most in-depth solutions to common consumer HVAC questions. You should be better than any other blog available, or at least aiming to do that.

Why?

More value means you attract more attention. That means you get more links and social shares, without necessarily having to work for each one.

It’s easy to dupe yourself into focusing too much on technical SEO. Just like any other aspect of your business, there’s a psychological mindset to it. And it’s one you have to constantly check yourself on so you stay on-course.

  1. Ignoring User Experience

What do people think and feel as they use your website?

That’s “user experience.” Of course, you want them to be happy and to get what they want quickly.

…But many websites, especially at the SMB level, don’t do this well. Some even have outdated designs that cause consumers to wonder if the company is even in business anymore.

Others focus too much on what the company does (versus why you should choose that company). Slow load times, awkward checkout experiences, and disruptive, irritating pop-ups and advertising drive your visitors nuts!

Google takes into account user experience metrics when ranking your site. Factors like bounce rate, on-page time, page load time, and many, many more assist in determining where you rank.

You can use these 14 tools to help with user experience testing. You can also just ask friends and family members to use your website and give you their honest opinion of what they like most, and least.

  1. Forgetting content Promotion

If you want serious links, you have to write amazing content and promote it. Gone are the days when you could simply create content, let it index in search, and do no more. That worked several years ago before most niches became saturated.

It’s absolutely possible to write the best content in your niche…and not have it do you any good in search because no one knows about it.

2017-2017 SEO is Simple, But It’s Not Easy

SEO isn’t hard to understand or do. But it’s a lot of good ol’ fashioned hard work. It takes a small team to do well locally, and a much larger one to rank nationally.

Keep these 3 top mistakes in mind…and ask how the SEO companies you’re talking to address each as you chat with them.

Top 3 Tips for Companies Brand New to SEO

Just starting your venture into ranking in online search?

Don’t worry! You’re not as far behind as you might fear, even though some companies have been working on their search presence for 10 years.

You can compete with anyone. You just have to know where to spend your time so you get the best results from your efforts.

Here’s what you can do to make yourself competitive in search, even if you’ve only just started, and perhaps don’t even know a ton about SEO yet:

  1. Take Your SEO Efforts Offline

What? Offline? Isn’t SEO online only?

Yes.

But let me explain a little more.

If you have industry connections and can sponsor an event or become a speaker, take full advantage of it. It can boost your SEO too.

If you’re going to speak at a local Chamber of Commerce event, make sure you get a link on their website. That’s a potent link right there. And, other SMBs or reputable websites may link to you as well.

Whenever you participate in an offline event, consider how you can work your real-world relationships to boost your SEO.

  1. Prepare for Constant Change and Challenges

Google cares first and foremost about offering searchers an amazing search experience. They want to deliver the results searchers demand.

If they falter in doing this, they risk their market-leading position (and billions of dollars).

So, Google has a couple choices:

  1. Stay the same, and risk a competitor overtaking them
  2. Constantly change and update their algorithm to improve the results searchers get

Right now, they focus on the latter.

For you, that means you’ll continue to experience frequent changes. You’ll have the challenge of keeping up.

Understand it’s simply the reality. Will Google make dramatic changes? Perhaps. But, most of those may already be done. Regardless, they’ll continue to adapt and improve to some extent.

You’ll have to spend time learning, or working with your SEO in staying on top of what’s happening.

  1. Understand SEO Works Differently in Various Contexts

No two websites are the same. You may read about a SEO technique that sent rankings and traffic sky-high at one website.

Then, you may try exactly the same with yours, only to find you fall flat. It does happen.

SEO has so many factors and variable in play at one time, that you have to know your own website and what you can do to improve.

If you have an old website (10 years+), you may have a much easier time ranking than others. It may take you just a few months what takes most websites a year or more to accomplish.

And the reverse could be true too.

Look, SEO isn’t easy. It requires patience, diligence, and hard work over a long time (usually at least a year). So hopefully these tips help you understand how it works and how you can improve the results you get from it.

Top 3 Tips for Companies Brand New to SEO

Just starting your venture into ranking in online search?

Don’t worry! You’re not as far behind as you might fear, even though some companies have been working on their search presence for 10 years.

You can compete with anyone. You just have to know where to spend your time so you get the best results from your efforts.

Here’s what you can do to make yourself competitive in search, even if you’ve only just started, and perhaps don’t even know a ton about SEO yet:

  1. Take Your SEO Efforts Offline

What? Offline? Isn’t SEO online only?

Yes.

But let me explain a little more.

If you have industry connections and can sponsor an event or become a speaker, take full advantage of it. It can boost your SEO too.

If you’re going to speak at a local Chamber of Commerce event, make sure you get a link on their website. That’s a potent link right there. And, other SMBs or reputable websites may link to you as well.

Whenever you participate in an offline event, consider how you can work your real-world relationships to boost your SEO.

  1. Prepare for Constant Change and Challenges

Google cares first and foremost about offering searchers an amazing search experience. They want to deliver the results searchers demand.

If they falter in doing this, they risk their market-leading position (and billions of dollars).

So, Google has a couple choices:

  1. Stay the same, and risk a competitor overtaking them
  2. Constantly change and update their algorithm to improve the results searchers get

Right now, they focus on the latter.

For you, that means you’ll continue to experience frequent changes. You’ll have the challenge of keeping up.

Understand it’s simply the reality. Will Google make dramatic changes? Perhaps. But, most of those may already be done. Regardless, they’ll continue to adapt and improve to some extent.

You’ll have to spend time learning, or working with your SEO in staying on top of what’s happening.

  1. Understand SEO Works Differently in Various Contexts

No two websites are the same. You may read about a SEO technique that sent rankings and traffic sky-high at one website.

Then, you may try exactly the same with yours, only to find you fall flat. It does happen.

SEO has so many factors and variable in play at one time, that you have to know your own website and what you can do to improve.

If you have an old website (10 years+), you may have a much easier time ranking than others. It may take you just a few months what takes most websites a year or more to accomplish.

And the reverse could be true too.

Look, SEO isn’t easy. It requires patience, diligence, and hard work over a long time (usually at least a year). So hopefully these tips help you understand how it works and how you can improve the results you get from it.

2 Principles to Follow for Long-Term Local SEO Success

Look, I’ll just be honest and tell you: servicing an area and trying to rank well in many areas outside the city you’re physically located in is hard.

Google’s stacked the odds against you from the outset. You must have one heck of a search presence to have a chance at outranking another business with a physical location in the area.

But take heart – all hope is not lost.

You can compete. Just be aware that it’s not easy. Here’s the general principles you would follow if you wanted to outrank your competitors in their home city:

  1. Spend Much of Your SEO Efforts on Local Pack Rankings, and Realize Google’s Going to Hammer You From Time-to-Time, Even If You Do Everything Right

You must attract links to your location-based pages. You want reviews from customers in these locations. And you want those customers to mention the city name in those pages.

Sounds simple to do, doesn’t it? It’s easy to understand, but difficult to execute in a completely legit, non-spammy way. Some companies do try to manipulate this by hiring people from India to post fake reviews (BIG mistake!).

You may achieve decent rankings for a while. But eventually Google will pummel you down.

Smart SEO companies have strategies to do this in a 100% ethical, long-term way that doesn’t cause rollercoaster-like changes in your rankings.

  1. Do All the SEO Fundamentals Right

What are the fundamentals for ranking in local search? Generally, they’re this:

  • Optimizing landing pages for each city you serve. Load the pages with unique and relevant content.
  • Strategize ways you can get reviews from specific pages onto these pages. You could even do this by writing the review for your customer and asking them to post.
  • Use schema (a totally legit and highly underutilized SEO technique) to mark up the reviews and your name, address, and phone number. Use schema markup in every other way possible to make it abundantly obvious to Google you serve this city.
  • Earn a handful of links that use the city and state you serve in the anchor text.
  • Include links to each location from the rest of the site.
  • And if you’re really serious, open up an office in each physical location you service. Google also requires you to have staff and onsite signs to comply with their guidelines. So, make sure this is a totally legitimate effort to expand your company, and not just one you use to manipulate your search rankings.

This all sounds like a ton of effort. And it is. Google wants only the best businesses ranking in each location. It doesn’t want companies just trying to climb the rankings.

So long-term, focus on building the best company you can. Then, use SEO to increase your reach.

It’s the ensures strategy for success.