SEO News & Updates 15th December 2017

What are the latest SEO News & Updates for 15th December 2017?

It’s the last Week In Search before Christmas, and even though it’s mid-December with the snow  / suntan laying deep and crisp and even, there are a few crackerjack stories you should read, if you know what’s good for you.

Read them now, they’ll make your hair shiny, soft and manageable.

#SEO #SEONews #MetaTags #MobileFirst #GoogleSearchConsole #SEOGuides


Google Backtracks: Time to Update Your Meta Descriptions

Google Backtracks - Update Your Meta Descriptions

Key Issues Summary:

  • As I talked about recently, Google has lengthened the meta descriptions which appear in search to up to 300 characters, or so.
  • Google initially said “no need to elongate your metas chaps!” (Or words to that effect).
  • But, John Mueller in a recent Google Webmaster Hangout, while not explicitly saying you should update your meta descriptions intimated that you could, or should, maybe.
  • SEOs the world over started rubbing their hands in anticipation at rewriting thousands of meta descriptions…

Key Actions To Take:

  1. Get your writing gear on, it’s time to elongate your meta descriptions.
  2. (If you were sensible, you were writing decent length ones anyway).
  3. Remember to structure them, as per the Basic Meta Tags from my SEO Guides.
  4. Finally, remember that you don’t have to update your meta descriptions, but it’s probably a good idea to do so.
  5. Click here to contact me to discuss this further.

Insights & Discussion:

Meta descriptions are handy little blighters. Useful for describing the page, enticing the click-through and giving users a good start to their journey on your site.

It never made a lot of sense to slavishly follow the 160 character rule, and now that Google is showing up to 300 or so characters, it makes even less sense.

Generally, sensible rules still apply: describe the page accurately, get a call to action in, use keywords judiciously.

Now “click here to read…”.

More Information:

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Google’s Mobile First Index Will Show In Your Log Files

Google Mobile First Index From Log Files

Key Issues Summary:

  • John Mueller seems to have been in an effusive mood as he muttered about the looming mobile first index from Google.
  • Basically, if you check your log files (you do know what they are, don’t you?), you will see a significant transformation in requests from Googlebot Desktop to Googlebot Mobile.
  • The crawling shift will be big and obvious, apparently.

Key Actions To Take:

  1. Check your log files for requests from Googlebot.
  2. Calculate the split between Desktop and Mobile and….. bingo, bango, bongo… there you have it.
  3. If you don’t know how to access your log file, chat to your host.
  4. If you don’t know how to interpret them, again talk to your host.
  5. Wait for my blog post on how to dissect your log files, there’s gold dust in there.
  6. Click here to contact me for help on dissecting log files.

Insights & Discussion:

Log files are the prune juice of the internet. We know we need to use them, but we rarely do.

We also know that if we use them wisely, we’ll get a lot out of the system.

I really recommend getting into the habit of downloading and reading your log files regularly. I used to have a script which analysed my log files daily and told me where my traffic was coming from, to which pages and other data. I didn’t need Google Analytics then.

Anyway, I can’t stress this highly enough, you should be analysing your log files to identify crawling issues, traffic issues and all sorts of things. However, you can get lost in there, so keep your analysis as detailed as you need it without going overboard.

More Information:

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New Google Search Console with 12+ Months of Data

Google Search Console 12 Months of Data

Key Issues Summary:

  • Those lucky blighters who have access to the new Beta of Google Search Console (Google Search Console Expands Beta Testers) are reporting that it is giving access to over 12 months of data.
  • Webmasters the world over began to salivate at this joyous news and clamour even more eagerly for the release of the new version.
  • There’s still no final release date. Google is being a bit of a tease. It is supposed to be “early next year”.

Key Actions To Take:

  1. Wait, wait, and wait some more.
  2. Unless you are one of the lucky webmasters with access to the Beta.
  3. Then you can play with the rich and almost useful source of data Google Search Console occasionally is.
  4. Read my Basic Google Search Console guide.
  5. Click here to contact me to discuss setting up Google Search Console.

Insights & Discussion:

There are times when waiting really isn’t half the pleasure. This is one of those times.

I think most webmasters who care about Google Search Console really, really want to get their hands on this data. I think it has the capacity to be tremendously useful and….. also not at the same time.

Let’s see, eh?

More Information:

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Google Releases Revamped SEO Starter Guide

Google Revamps SEO Starter Guide

Key Issues Summary:

  • Google announced in a blogpost that it had updated its SEO Starter Guide.
  • Yippety-skippety.
  • It’s good, but it is very basic, and skewed towards what Google wants, naturally.
  • At least Google recommends engaging with an SEO expert, which is a start.

Key Actions To Take:

  1. Have a read of their SEO Guide, as a very basic primer, it’s okay.
  2. Remember that Google’s suggestions are skewed towards improving search results which fuel their business. Those goals may not align with yours.
  3. It’s also really important that you remember that funnily enough, Google is often really bad at SEO.
  4. Click here to contact me to discuss this further.

Insights & Discussion:

I love Google at times, but its SEO is often terrible. This guide is a good basic primer, where you should take note of the key facets of search success they talk about, but remember they are doing it for their own benefit not yours.

One really interesting thing is they don’t talk about strategy, target markets and how to really build an integrated SEO campaign which aligns with social media and other digital marketing activities.

More Information:

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European Press Agencies Want Google, Facebook to License Content

Key Issues Summary:

  • This is part of a ying-yang battle we will see play out over the next couple of years.
  • European Press Agencies are rumbling about charging Google and Facebook for using their content.
  • Naturally, Google and Facebook are resisting saying they are sending traffic.
  • This has been a perennial argument of the web for as long as I’ve been a webmaster.

Key Actions To Take:

  1. Watch this space. It will be like watching grass grow, but this battle will be one of the themes for 2018.
  2. If you are a News Publisher, you really should have thought harder about your business model before you allowed Google and Facebook to own you.
  3. If you are Google and Facebook, well I don’t think you’ll have much to worry about for the short term.
  4. Click here to contact me to discuss this further.

Insights & Discussion:

Content vs Traffic has been the web’s longest-running battle. It went on before Google and Facebook existed and it will go on after they faded into their AI ether.

There is no reasonable way to sort this, but it does kind of sort the Content is King argument. It’s not, traffic is King. If you have traffic, you have more options than if you have content. As I often say when I write these lovely words, what’s the point of beautiful content if very few people see it.

More Information:

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SEO Bits & Pieces 15th December 2017

SEO Bits & Pieces 15th December 2017

  • Amusingly, Google has had celebs post videos of themselves answering FAQs for very popular queries. Laugh, I nearly did. Bah humbug.
  • In another amusement from Google, they’ve released their 2017 Year In Search report highlighting popular search terms without really saying anything (more humbug). The one that amused me was that iPhone 8 and iPhoneX were the two most popular tech search terms, knocking Samsung someway down the list.
  • Booo! Facebook has dumped the Friends News Ticker. How else are we supposed to know that Dave commented on some alt-right / alt-left / cat video? Of more amusement is Facebook calling its laughable support the “Help Community”. No. No, it’s not.
  • Not content with allowing us all to craft War & Peace tweets @ 280 characters, Twitter has added a tweetstorm (or threading) feature. Perfect for those blowhards with a lot to say about their self-importance and under-recognition.
  • Click here to contact me to discuss this further.

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TL;DR

  • I was right last week, start writing longer meta descriptions.
  • Log files are your Mobile First Index friend.
  • Google Search Console is coming soon (not like Windows) with 12 months of data.
  • There’s a new Google SEO Starter Guide.
  • European press agencies are kicking off again about Google & FB paying for their “content”.
  • Happy Christmas 🙂

Thanks for reading. If you would like to discuss what these changes mean for your web property, or would like to know how to implement them, please feel free to contact me.

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