How Long Should Your Meta Description Be? (2018 Edition)

Posted by Dr-Pete

Summary: The end of November saw a spike in the average length of SERP snippets. Across 10K keywords (90K results), we found a definite increase but many oddities, such as video snippets. Our data suggests that many snippets are exceeding 300 characters, and going into 2018 we recommend a new meta description limit of 300 characters.

Back in spring of 2015, we reported that Google search snippets seemed to be breaking the 155-character limit, but our data suggested that these cases were fairly rare. At the end of November, RankRanger’s tools reported a sizable jump in the average search snippet length (to around 230 characters). Anecdotally, we’re seeing many long snippets in the wild, such as this 386-character one on a search for “non compete agreement”:

Search Engine Land was able to get confirmation from Google of a change in how they handle snippets, but we don’t have a lot of details. Is it time to revisit our guidelines on meta descriptions limits heading into 2018? We dug into our daily 10,000-keyword tracking data to find out…

The trouble with averages

In our 10K tracking data for December 15th, which consisted of 89,909 page-one organic … Read the rest

December 19, 2017  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

HTTPS Tops 30%: How Google Is Winning the Long War

Posted by Dr-Pete

[Estimated read time: 6 minutes]

It’s been almost two years (August 2014) since Google announced that HTTPS was a ranking signal. Speculation ran rampant, as usual, with some suggesting there was little or no benefit to switching (and possibly significant risk) while others rushed to sell customers on making the HTTPS switch. Two years later, I believe the data speaks for itself — Google is fighting, and winning, a long war.

What’s happened since?

If you only consider the impact of Google’s original HTTPS update, I understand your skepticism. Prior to the update, our 10,000-keyword tracking system (think of it as a laboratory for studying Google searches) showed that roughly 7% of page-1 Google results used the “https:” protocol. A week after the update announcement, that number had increased only slightly, to just over 8%:

The blue/purple show the before/after based on the announcement date. As you can see, the update probably rolled out over the course of a few days. Even over a 2-week period, though, the impact appears to be fairly small. This led many of us to downplay Google’s statements and ignore HTTPS for a while. The next graph is our wake-up … Read the rest

July 10, 2016  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

Just How Long Are Big-Company SEOs Waiting for Their Most Important Changes?

Posted by willcritchlow

What would you say if I told you that the average SEO at a big company has been waiting over six months for their highest priority technical change and doesn’t anticipate seeing it deployed for at least another six months? (40+% have been waiting over a year).

If you work in that kind of environment, there’s a good chance you’re not surprised, and if you’ve worked as a consultant and your experience is anything like mine, you might even be asking yourself “is that all?” It’s such a common challenge, and it’s so core to our fundamental goal of making a real difference for our clients, that the ability to effect change has even made it into Distilled’s core values.

Challenges in this area are a growing problem for big companies. As startups in particular come to grips with continuous deployment and similar approaches that bring agility to their processes, big companies risk being left behind on an aging technology stack.

Fred Wilson deploys code at Etsy

Board member Fred Wilson deploys code at Etsy. Photo credit.

The stats I opened with came from surveying a range of SEOs at big companies — a couple of dozen people responsible … Read the rest

May 16, 2016  Tags: , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

How Long Does Link Building Take to Influence Rankings?

Posted by Kristina Kledzik

[Estimated read time: 9 minutes]

If you’re an SEO, chances are, you’ve recommended link building as a tactic. And, unless you work for a very trusting firm, you’ve probably been met with the question, “When will we see a return on our investment, and how much will we see?”

This is a question I’ve been asked numerous times, but never had a good answer for. The truth is, a new link doesn’t affect rankings immediately. That makes it hard to tie an individual link to SERP rankings increases, since there will usually be several other links and on-page changes made to a target page between the time when you get that first link and when you finally see increases in rankings.

So, I set out to figure this out myself. I’m lucky enough to be working for a company with nearly 200,000 indexed pages, which gets hundreds of new links each month naturally, through PR and through my link building efforts. That means I’ve got a lot of pages that only got 1–2 links in the last 6 months, and didn’t go through many on-page changes.

I picked out 76 links pointing to pages which … Read the rest

April 21, 2016  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

Get Ready for the Evolution of Long Tail Keywords, Coming Soon to Mobile Apps

Posted by Royh

Last month Google made a big announcement, potentially signaling a game changer for search. Google is quietly rolling out app-only content indexing, even if that content isn’t actually hosted on the indexed app.

So, what does that actually mean?

The game-changing implication is that when you search Google from your phone or tablet, app-only content will “stream” directly to your mobile device — even if you don’t have the app installed.

Thus, if I search for the key phrase “hotel tonight in Chicago,” I’ll see results from mobile apps that aren’t installed on my device, sending me directly to app-only content “streamed” from a virtual app hosted on the Google cloud.

Hotel Tonight

(Image credit: TechCrunch)

How is app content indexed differently?

Before this announcement, direct deep links to app content were displayed only if the matching app was already installed on your mobile device, as in the example below:

(Image credit: Google)

With this change, web content no longer needs to match app content.

According to Google’s Rajan Patel leading the new initiative:

“We want users to be able to have access to this content, regardless of whether it’s available on the web or in

Read the rest

December 21, 2015  Tags: , , , , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments



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