Category Archives: SEO

The Ideal Meta Description Length

After months or even years of writing meta descriptions, you had probably gotten used to the 155-character limit. The compact space may have helped you write more economically, forcing you to delete all those extraneous words. However, this all changed at the end of last year when Google extended the meta description length. A Google spokesperson clarified this update to Search Engine Land: “We recently made a change to provide more descriptive and useful snippets, to help people better understand how pages are relevant to their searches. This resulted in snippets becoming slightly longer, on average.”

Although it’s now possible for meta descriptions to reach 320 characters, does that mean you should aim for 320 characters every time you write a meta description? What is the ideal meta description length?

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The New Google Search Console

Take a look around. Have you noticed something different about Google Search Console? Believe it or not, it’s been “rebuilt from the ground up” (source). Although a limited number of beta testers have been enjoying the revamped service for months, Google finally released it to the general public earlier this year, announcing the change on January 8, 2018. It’s been unveiled gradually to select groups of users, but in the past few weeks, all users have been able to gain access to it. To better understand this update, its implications, its current offerings, and what’s to come, keep reading. Continue Reading

Proximity and How it Relates to Search Results

Where are you? No seriously, where is your business located? Your physical place in the world and its proximity to people searching on Google is currently the most important ranking factor when it comes to local search pack results.

In some ways, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. It is called local search, after all. But it can feel shocking when you realize how little influence other important factors, like relevance and prominence, have when the searcher is far away from you. You could own the most beloved burger joint in town – five stars on Yelp, unparalleled hamburgers, award-winning fries, awesome website, adored by all – and still not show up in a 3-pack because you aren’t within the searcher’s radius and you’re competing with a dozen other burger joints that are closer to the searcher.

If you don’t think this makes much sense, you’re not alone. Google’s current emphasis on proximity for local search pack results is unsettling, whether you’re an Average Joe looking for the best burgers in town or a business that previously ranked in the 3-pack citywide. So today, to get a better grasp on this phenomenon, we’re exploring how proximity to a searcher can affect a business’s local search results.

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How Long Does It Take to Rank in Google?

Just as new musicians relish hearing their songs on the radio and authors adore seeing their novels in bookstores, webmasters delight in reaching the top of Google’s rankings. A top ranking isn’t a trivial or superficial feat. It can increase your click-through rates and traffic, save you money on PPC marketing, and boost your website’s image and authenticity. No one wants to scroll through pages of search results, so if your page is numero uno, you’re guaranteed more attention. For all of these reasons, when webmasters first begin exploring SEO, they often ask, “How long does it take to rank in Google?” The answer is 100 days.

I’m kidding! Unfortunately, the answer to this question depends on a variety of factors, and no one can say for sure how long it might take a specific webpage to climb the ranks.
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Google Posts Now Live for All Small Businesses

Before you read any further, search for your business on Google. Do you see a box of information on the right side of the search results? That box is known as the Knowledge Panel, and it contains valuable information about your business, such as a map with your location, photos, reviews, hours, and contact information. Last month, Google decided to extend another Knowledge Panel opportunity to businesses worldwide: Google Posts.

Although Google Posts has been around for a while, it only moved to Google My Business in June, and it is expanding to include more and more businesses. With this service, businesses can post micro-blogs directly on their Knowledge Panels. The brief, temporary content might announce an event, include a call-to-action link, or advertise a specific product with a photo. To learn more about this feature and its recent changes, please scroll down.
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Google for Jobs: What You Need to Know

Who truly enjoys searching for a new job? Not only is it difficult to quickly convey your worth to employers, not only is it frustrating to scan through vague and inapplicable job openings, not only is it tedious to fill out numerous applications, and not only is it nerve-racking to meet potential employers for interviews, but also this entire process comes with very high stakes. If you can’t succeed, you risk your livelihood: your very means of securing the necessities you need to live your life! In its own small way, Google wants to make this process easier. Last month the search engine announced at the I/O 2017 Keynote that it would be implementing a new initiative to assist both job seekers and employee seekers (also known as employers). A significant part of that initiative, Google for Jobs, works with the job-matching industry to provide a better experience on Google Search. And since it’s officially open for business as of June 20, 2017, we’d like to offer a quick introduction.  Continue Reading

Meet Fred: The New Google Update

Those in the know at Google insist that the company updates its algorithms three times a day on average. Yet despite the frequent alterations – and shrugs from the search engine – SEOs pine for news about major updates. They would undoubtedly adore it if algorithm updates were announced like babies with cards that provided a name, date, size, and weight. The new Google update, spotted earlier this month, wasn’t officially announced but does boast a surprisingly human name: Fred. Are you ready to meet it? Or should I say him? 
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Google to Punish Sites with Interstitial Ads

NOTE: This post was originally published on August 30, 2016. We updated it on March 8, 2017, to include a new section that reviews the impact of Google’s interstitials update. 

You know those obnoxious ads that block the main content of a website? They pop up immediately after you navigate to a page and unless you dismiss them, you can’t even access the site’s other content. Intrusive and irritating, these interstitial ads disrupt the user’s online experience and prevent them from promptly reaching the site. In blocking users’ exploration of the World Wide Web, interstitials are highly likely to elicit groans, sighs, and curses of frustration from users. Luckily, Google is groaning right along with us.

Just last week, on August 23, 2016, the company announced on the Webmaster Central Blog that they will soon begin punishing sites with interstitial ads. By targeting the obstructive and inappropriate use of interstitials, Google hopes to help users reach their online destinations with ease. Take that, annoying interstitial that I can’t figure out how to dismiss!
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417 Marketing President Nick Altrup Featured in Springfield Business Journal

If Google doesn’t know you exist, how can you hope to compete with more tech-savvy companies? How can you expect potential customers to find your business at all? Do you expect them to wade through pages of search results before stumbling upon your listing? The key to catching Google’s attention is search engine optimization (SEO). If you’re new to the world of SEO, you’re not alone. But to ensure that you’re not left behind, you need to act now. On Monday, February 6, 2017, the Springfield Business Journal (SPJ) explored this issue in an article entitled “How Can My Business Increase Its SEO?” Nick Altrup, the President of 417 Marketing, was featured as a local SEO expert in the piece.

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Optimizing for “Near Me” Searches

Everywhere you go, there are people staring at screens. Some do it with ease and dexterity – navigating crowds, walking a dog, or shopping for groceries all the while. Others are a little less successful – dropping their devices, bumping into trash cans, stumbling over curbs. As more and more people choose to use their mobile devices on the go, we’re seeing a rise in “near me” searches, i.e., search queries that contain a location qualifier. For example, have you ever searched for “restaurants near me” or “coffee nearby”? If so, you’ve conducted a “near me” search.
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