bryan coe digital marketing strategist

Google Updates Meta Descriptions Length – But Don’t Panic!

google updates meta description length

OK Melodrama aside, you may or you may not need to rewrite all your meta descriptions. Here’s why.

If  you have searched for anything recently you may have noticed a lot more text under each result.  Google has changed their rules for meta descriptions that show up in search results.  Although meta descriptions are not part of the ranking algorithm, they do play a role in whether people click or not. The change means that Google may show up to 320 characters instead of the previous 160 characters.

This is what Google is saying about the change.

The fact that our snippets have gotten longer doesn’t change the fundamentals of writing a description tag. They should generally inform and interest users with a short, relevant summary of what a particular page is about

What this means is that we now have the freedom to write longer descriptions, however if you are happy with your current descriptions you don’t need to change them. If you’re not happy with them or you think you could do a better job with more characters, now is your change to write a bit more.

What it doesn’t mean is that we should stuff a bunch of keywords and junk in there in order to try to trick the search engines.

As always, Google may or may not use the meta descriptions you write. Well written enticing descriptions that describe the content of the page will continue to be best practice, and will give a better chance that Google will use them and that people will click. .

If you’re interested in reading more about this, check out this article from Search Engine Land.

Google: Fundamentals of writing meta descriptions don’t change with longer search snippets

Google’s Year in Search 2017

How did you search this year?  View the trending list for 2017.

 

Sometimes Google is Smarter Than You Think

sundar-pichai-google-ceoI learned something new today that made me realize Google is sometimes smarter than you think and yet still pretty dumb.

Since starting at Armstrong Floooring, I’ve been working on the SEO for our new international website. International SEO can be quite complicated especially when you are using the same language in multiple countries. I know I’ve been quiet in terms of blogging for a long time, but I’ll be posting about some of the interesting things I’ve learned and accomplished with the new site.

Anyway, what I learned today has to do with a bug. Something went wrong in AEM (Adobe’s content marketing platform) and some of our non-English sites were showing the URL as their title. So if you went the sites and looked in your browser’s tab you’d see a URL instead of the title of the page. Google crawled the site while the bug was still in place, but was able to determine a title.

Armstrong Commercial Flooring Mexico SERP result

Since this isn’t actually the title I did some digging to see where it could have come from. It turns out it is the Alt-Text from the logo. I didn’t realize Google would look there if there was no proper title on the page. Great!

But then I checked the respective English version of the Mexican site, which does have an actual title on the page, but Google is still using the Alt-Text from the logo. So smart, but at the same time so dumb. Oh well.

 

Micro-Moments That Every Marketer Should Know

This spring Google Announced that mobile-search has surpassed desktop search in the US. Knowing this we as marketers need to evolve to understand how people are going online and what is driving their usage.

What micro-moments are driving engagement for your brand?

Check out the infographic from Google.

4 New Moments Every Marketer Should Know

4-new-moments-every-marketer-should-know

Google’s New Mobile-Friendly Update Does Not Affect AdWords

google adwords logoYou may have heard the news from Google that they have updated their algorithm to include mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. The update, which went into effect on April 21, 2015, will only affect organic search, NOT paid search/AdWords.  In fact mobile-friendliness has been part of the AdWords quality score since 2011.

This was confirmed by Kate O’Donovan from the Google AdWords team in Dublin. She posted the announcement in the Google AdWords Help forum:

Starting Today, April 21 2015, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.

 While this change will not impact your advertising campaigns, mobile friendliness has been an ads quality factor since November 2011

She also ended her post by stating it even more clearly:

Remember this update will not affect your AdWords performance or your individual Quality Scores.

What’s the take away from this? Well, if you haven’t updated your site to be mobile friendly and you’re running paid search ad campaigns with AdWords, you’re probably already taking a hit on your quality score for mobile ads. You can overcome this, but generally if you want to overcome poor quality scores, you will end up paying more for your clicks. But the most recent update to Google’s Algorithm will not change this.

Want to check if your pages are mobile-friendly? Google gives us a great tool for this: Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool. They’ve also created a guide to help you get your site mobile-friendly: Google Mobile Guide

 

Can You Save Your CTR? | Google Drops Bold In AdWords Title

google adwords logo
When was the last time you looked at your AdWords ads in a live Google search?  Been a long time? You might want to check it out.

In the last few weeks Google has made a very subtle change to the way the display their AdWords ads. Can you spot the difference?

google removes bolding in titles in adwords ads

 

Not seeing it?  Let me help.

Keywords are no longer bolded in titles. 

Now you might be wondering why this is important. Well, it has been a common practice to use your keywords or keyword insertion in the titles of ads. This was a great way to get searchers attention. They just searched for “cheap flights” and voila! There it is in your ad. So the searcher sees that your ad is exactly what they are looking for and they click on it.

If you’re like me you probably already forgot it used to look like so here’s an example.

Google Adwords keyword bolding in header

Now that Google has taken that away by removing the bolding in titles, advertisers should shift their focus to the description and display URL. And we’re in luck because keyword bolding is still works there.

Why, why, WHY!

Why would Google do this. Well, look at it this way. If every advertiser is using keyword insertion for their titles, guess what… Every ad is going to look the same. Every time someone searches for “dog sitters” all the ads have the same title. Yep you guessed it “Pet Sitters” BORING! Even more so now that there is no bolding.

Google may have realized that this made their less attractive to visitors and they weren’t clicking on the ads enough and instead were opting to click on the natural search results. This hurts their revenue and can hurt your CTR (clickthrough rate), which in turn can hurt your quality score. Yikes!

What does this mean for my AdWords Ads?

It means that you can now get more creative with your headlines, which might give you more space to work with. This gives you a chance to differentiate your ads. By differentiating your ads you can work to improve your CTR and in turn your Quality Score. It’s important to remember how your ad copy impacts the performance of your paid search. Using keyword insertion in the other parts of your ad you can still take advantage of bolding while it still lasts there.

It’s Official: Google Adwords Qualified – Individual Certification

It’s finally official. All this time I have been using Google AdWords and training others to use it, I never actually took the tests for certification. This weekend I finally did, and guess what. It was a piece of cake! In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t change my ability, but its one tick off the professional bucket list. And plus, now Google officially agrees that I’m a qualified Paid Search professional. Haha!

Bryan Coe Google AdWords Qualified Individual Certification

Google Fiber – Please Come to Lancaster PA!!

I would love to see Google Fiber in my area. Comcast/Verizon and company need competition!

Check out the video ad for Google Fiber. It’s a brilliant commercial.

Google in 2012 What’s New

I recently started a series of post over on my company blog about the changes that Larry Page and Google have recently made. They are doing some very interesting and in some cases scary things. Check out the excerpts from the first two posts in the series.

New Google Search Ad Placement

The first update you may have noticed as you were using Google Search is a redesign of ad placement. Ads that previously appeared on the right side of search results will in some cases be moved to below search results.

If you want to know if your ads are performing better in the top positions as apposed to all other positions, you’re in luck. Google will soon be launching a custom “Top vs. Other” segment. All placements on the side, at the bottom are labeled and other experimental placements will be labeled as “other”.

Read the full post: The New Google. Does “Don’t be Evil” Still Apply? – Part 1

YouTube Homepage Makeover

The new redesign, which YouTube describes as the biggest redesign in history, is a move to personalize the user experience on the site as well as better integration with social media services. Plus if that wasn’t enough, Google has changed the focus of the site to a channel centric experience, which puts them in competition with broadcast and cable tv.

When you first log in you’ll notice that the homepage is focused around channels and the “homepage feed.” The feed contains the channels that a user is subscribed to, which can contain channels such official music from the Warner Music Group, video hobbyists or branded channels. Users can control what is in their feed with the navigation bar on the left and recommended videos and ads populate the right column. It looks very similar to social media sites such as Facebook.

Read the full post: YouTube Update: The New Google. Does “Don’t be Evil” Still Apply? – Part 2

Happy Anniversary Germany – Germany Celebrates 21 Years Since Reunification

Today is a national holiday in Germany: Tag der Deutschen Einheit or German Unity Day. It is the celebration of the reunification of Germany after it was divided at the end of World War II. The division and the Berlin wall were both symbols of the cold war. As the Soviet Union and the Eastern Block crumbled so did the government in East Germany. The opening of boarders in Eastern Europe led to the Berlin wall coming down and the Reunification in 1990.

Today is the 21st anniversary of the reunification and Germany is celebrating:

Deutschland feiert 21 Jahre Wiedervereinigung Deutschland

Germany Celebrates 21st Reunification Anniversary

Even Google’s getting in on it.

google german reunification