ICYMI – All the blog posts from January 2018

New longer descriptions in Google: should we do anything?
Long descriptions in the Google results actually started appearing back in 2016, but suddenly in 2018 we’re seeing them everywhere. The big question is: do they make a difference to ranking or click-through rate, and should we rewrite all of our descriptions to take advantage of what’s happened?

Crying foul on Google’s new extended descriptions
If you’ve only provided a short description meta tag and Google thinks it’s fine, that’s all you get …and as shown above, I think that puts us at a disadvantage. I think this is really unfair, but we don’t get to make the rules.

New longer descriptions in Google: what should we do?
In an ideal world, we’d just update all our description meta tags to take advantage of the new upper limit of around 300 characters. But that’s not practical for most of us. Choosing the pages to tackle first is where Google Search Console comes to our rescue. Here’s what to do.

Why we should view Google search as just another website
Whether it’s selecting targets for SEO or search advertising, they key is to treat search term results pages as individual products.

What do you want to know about your visitors?
Forms completed, email addresses clicked, PDF files downloaded, external links followed… you name it, I reckon it can be tracked.

Why Google My Business is really important
Quite simply, if anyone searches for your company on Google, a huge colourful panel will appear to the right of the search results, and if you want any control about what’s there, you need to be up to date on Google My Business.

Why you need HTML versions of PDF documents
If website visitors arrive at a PDF document, and then leave, they will simply be ghosts who are never recorded in the analytics application. To minimise this, all important PDF documents on your site really should have corresponding web pages with the same content.

Sorry AdWords, you do things the wrong way around
With Google AdWords, it begins by telling you to define the searches where you want to appear, then asks what you want to say, and finally asks what you want to do with the clicks. I’ve always believed this is entirely the wrong way around.

Don’t give Google search credit where it’s not due
When you look at your website analytics, and it seems that nothing matters other than Google search, be careful.

It’s all about content
If they want to get more traffic from search engines, even small companies should be adding several pages every month to their websites. It’s all about content.

Don’t overpay for your website hosting
Businesses often pay dedicated server rates to an agency for a shared server, without receiving anything for the extra cost.

Tracking how individual visitors use your website
New Google Analytics functions include making it possible to view how users interacted with the site, even across multiple sessions.

Careful with that text, Eugene
A few paragraphs of genuinely helpful background information to make a category page more substantial can go a long way. But just a few.

What would you do if your site was hacked?
Many people panic and have no idea. If you would need someone technical to help out, why not identify them now?

Underestimating the impact of a single video view
The viewing rate of under 1% was a genuine disappointment. All that effort and only half a dozen prospects watched the video?

Making the ‘About Us’ page more dynamic
This is one of the least appreciated pages on every site. It gets a lot more views than most of us think, and they’re important visitors too (think about it). So why not use the actual text on the page to tell them about the latest thing you’re up to?

Monitoring PPC advertising beyond the keyword
One of the quickest wins in PPC advertising can be to investigate the relative performance of desktop and mobile adverts.

Why aren’t you photographing everything?
Visual cues are everything nowadays. I’m astonished at how many industrial websites I see where the only product image is a horrid cutout.

AdWords ads get decluttered …a little
A recent casualty in the absurd number of ‘extensions’ available to Google AdWords advertisers is the ‘Review Extension’. I rarely saw it used in advertising engineering or scientific B2B suppliers, and will admit to not having taken advantage of it for any of our clients.

Rules for a great web page title
This incredibly thorough article about web page titles is well worth a read if you’re interested in SEO. The author points out that “a perfect title tag in Google is going to be dependent on a number of competing factors” and then gives no fewer than 25 of them.

How to generate a quick logo
Your finished handiwork is provided in transparent format as well as on a solid colour background. Great fun.