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.

 

Why Conversion Attribution Modeling is Important – Who Gets the Credit?

“First click attribution is akin to giving my first girlfriend 100% of the credit for me marrying my wife.” ~A. Kaushik

attribution models

Many analytics reporting platforms use First touch as their default for conversion attribution.  Like the above quote says, this is not the best way to give attribution. Just ask your wife, or husband!

Ok, but first what does that mean? Time to geek out a bit… First touch attribution means that the way a visitor arrives to your site for the very first time is credited with the conversion.

When someone searches for candied yams, you sell candied yams and they click on your listing in the search result which brings them to your site. That is the interaction that gets the credit for the sale. In some ways this might make sense. It means the effort that you put into getting found in search is what paid for the sale. The challenge is though. They may have first come through search, but then a referral, then through search again, then direct, and another referral. Then after all that they finally converted.

conversion attribution path

So was that conversion really created only by the initial touch through organic search? Or was it the last touch that finally made them convert. Or some would argue that it was the whole series of touch points that made the sale.

Follow so far? The next question is, “Why does attribution even matter?”

Well, if you’re running a paid search campaign and look at standard First Touch Attribution, you might see that there are very few conversions for paid search. How do you then explain to your boss/client that paid search is benefiting the company? With only first touch conversion attribution, you’re probably going to lose your budget pretty quickly.

In the two examples below you see paid search is buried in the middle of the conversion path. The Organic Search team is getting all the credit when really these conversions were assisted by other channels.  Without looking deeper you wouldn’t know this.

organic search first touch conversion attribution

Although the major analytics platforms have a default setting they also have ways to build custom attribution models. For example Google Analyics has a few alternatives built in to its free platform.

GA attribution models

Deciding on the best model for your site might depend on the channels you are using as well as your overall marketing strategy. But without at least exploring the options you are hampering your ability to truly understand your visitors.

Have questions? Post in the comments.

 

Why You Always Need Editors #HomeDepot

As SEOs we often look at a lot of website pages. It can sometimes be monotonous to write meta-descriptions, titles, H1 copy and other SEO bits that go into a site. But it’s always a good idea to have an editor (or at least a second set of eyes) no matter how little or if it seems like something trivial that is behind the scenes.

After all, you don’t want people to miss your best iffer!

Sometimes things slip through.. even for big national companies!

home depot - bad meta description

If You Can’t Measure IT, Should You Do IT?

In this world of all things digital if you can’t measure it you probably shouldn’t do it. In the marketing world of yesteryear TV, Radio, billboard advertisers sold ads on hunches, beliefs and maybe correlation at best.

We believe 1,000 people drive by here every day.

According to our survey (based on a small sample of the population) this show has 5 million viewers.

According to a national survey (based on a small sample of the population) our station has 20,000 listeners on Thursday afternoons.

analyitcs graph - if you can't measure it don't do it.

Does that sound like real measurement? No!

Traditional media continues to panic because they can’t really tell you how many people will actually see/hear/read your message.

Don’t waste your time with these outlets unless they can give you a clear measurement of the value.

Digital advertising provides you with a much better way to track your ROI. You can see how many people saw your ads and who took action and converted.

If you are going to use traditional channels then make sure you invest in an analytics platform like Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics. Both platforms continue to improve their offline tracking abilities. The beauty of it is you can then view your on and off-line efforts all in one place. Then slice and dice the data to see how your marketing efforts are working.

Of Course I Can Track That, But So What?

of course I can track that, but so what?

As analytics experts, this is the question we have to ask ourselves every time we work on reporting. With today’s tools we can track just about anything you can think of, but the real question is

SO WHAT?

You have to ask yourself, “Why is this important? How does this help us better understand our customers? Does this data really help us with actionable insights?”

If you can’t answer yes to at least one of these questions, or justify why the data is relevant in some way, then don’t add that table to your report or add another slide to your presentation deck.

Clear actionable data is much more powerful than puking data just because you can.

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.

 

The 52nd US State – Wuh What?

So I was running a report today to see the traffic to our site per US state. Adobe Analytics returned 52 states. Of course I thought that was odd. Digging a little deeper I realized they were counting DC as a state. Ok I get that, but check out what the 52nd state is…

52nd US State. What?!?

I wonder what their state motto is. “You’ve got mail!”?

Digital Marketing Plans – Be Prepared!

One the most important things you need to be able to do if you work in digital marketing is adapt.

It’s paramount to create a strategy and plan for how you will accomplish your goals. Whether you want to increase revenue, reignite your client base or simply drive awareness. You need a plan, but you also need to realize even the best plans have obstacles. The digital marketing landscape changes at a breakneck pace, monthly, weekly, sometimes even daily! To be successful you need to be prepare to navigate through these changes.

your digital marketing plan with obstacles

What Digital Platforms do Teens and Young Millennials Use?

Is you’re target audience teens or young millennials? Do you know where they hangout online? BI Intelligence did a study to find out. You might be surprised with the results. According to the graph below Facebook is on the decline with Twitter and Instagram growing, but biggest jump in growth was with Snapchat.

teen and young millennials digital platform usage