Google: Fundamentals of writing meta descriptions don’t change with longer search snippets

Earlier this month, Google confirmed they have extended the search results snippets from 160 characters all the way to a maximum of 320 characters long. Google told Search Engine Land that even though the snippets can be longer, the “fundamentals of writing a description tag” have not changed.
Google may or may not show 320 characters; Google may or may not show your meta description; and Google may or may not show content from your page. A lot of how Google decides what search result snippet to show is based on the searchers’ query and the content on your page. A Google spokesperson told us “there’s no need for publishers to suddenly expand their meta description tags, if they feel their current ones are adequate. … We now display slightly longer snippets, which means we might display more of a meta description tag.”
In short, if you are happy with the way your meta descriptions show to your searchers,

Search Engine Land Source

16 common on-site SEO mistakes you might be making right now

SEO is more than inbound marketing. There’s massive overlap, but there’s a technical side to SEO that sometimes gets neglected, especially by casual followers of the industry.
As somebody who spends a great deal of time looking at sites searching for opportunities to optimize, I notice patterns that creep up often: technical mistakes that show up again and again.
Let’s go over these mistakes. If my experience is anything to go by, odds are high you’re making at least one of them.
1. Nofollowing your own URLs
There comes a time in every SEO’s life when they need to keep a page hidden from the search results — to prevent duplicate content issues, to hide member areas, to keep thin content pages out of the index, to hide archives and internal search result pages, during an A/B test and so on. This is perfectly innocent, perfectly noble and perfectly necessary. However…
… do not use the “nofollow” tag to accomplish this!
The “nofollow”

Search Engine Land Source

8 major Google ranking signals in 2017

 

It’s no secret that Google’s ranking algorithm is made up of over 200 components, or “signals.” And while the list is impressive, it can get daunting if you’re a just regular human with 24 hours in a day.
Luckily, SEO isn’t about getting every tiny thing right; it’s about getting your priorities right. Below, we’ve put up a list of top eight rankings factors, based on the industry studies by SearchMetrics, Backlinko and SEO PowerSuite. Read on to find what they are, and how to optimize your site for each.
Backlinks
Surprise, surprise, right? In 2017, backlinks continue to be the strongest indication of authority to Google. Let’s look at the things that can make or break yours.
1. Link score
How does Google turn the abstract concept of “backlinks” into a quantifiable ranking signal? In several patents, Google explains that this is done by calculating a “link score.” The score is made up by every incoming link’s individual quality score (aka

Search Engine Land Source

Why you need to get back to SEO basics

Do a quick search on Google for “SEO tips” and you’ll get over 14 million results. That’s a lot of tips to wade through when trying to figure out the focus of your SEO strategy. What’s more overwhelming is that’s just one search.
Each year there are new posts of list of the “hottest” tips and tricks that are “guaranteed” to work. While many of these tips are great, to really see results, you need to have a good foundation. In this post, I want to talk about getting back to the basics of SEO and why they are essential to long-term success.
When it comes to optimizing your site for search, the basics are some of the most important, yet often overlooked, aspects of SEO. The recent push of “content is king” has also caused many to forget the essentials and just focus on content distribution.
Here’s the deal: you can post all the content you want, but if

Search Engine Land Source

For e-commerce success: SEO > aesthetics

The world of e-commerce optimization is vast and complex, and it demands a particular level of attention in order to function and perform correctly.
Over the last 10 years, I have had the opportunity to manage a variety of enterprise-level e-commerce websites that offer everything from athletic gear to office supplies.
Regardless of the intended audience, most e-commerce sites suffer from similar optimization issues. These issues prevent them from maximizing their exposure to qualified traffic and the related revenue.
Usually, these problems are connected to how business stakeholders approach the development of their e-commerce platform, placing user experience and aesthetics over search engine optimization (SEO).
When brands focus on building e-commerce environments that are attractive and functional but ignore or forget about SEO, they immediately lose opportunities to attract and convert new customers from organic channels.
The good news is that by adhering to the following e-commerce optimization recommendations, you can create an environment that is functional and attractive and introduces your brand

Search Engine Land Source

The definitive SEO audit part 2 of 3: Content and on-site

Disclaimer: Every situation is unique. This outline of the elements of a content and onsite SEO audit discusses the common first points I look at with unpenalized sites hoping to increase their traffic. If you have a penalty or other serious issues, this list is not exhaustive and will not cover all the areas you will need to research or methods to employ.
Last month, I started my three-part series on conducting an SEO audit on your website. The purpose of auditing your site regularly is to ensure that you’re not only protecting yourself against penalties or technical oversights, but that you’re taking full advantage of the content you’re providing (from an organic SEO standpoint in this context) and that you’re “forcing” yourself to keep updated on shifts in users and terms as well as changes in the overall algorithms.
As mentioned, this audit is divided into three parts of which this is part two. Part three will be available in four

Search Engine Land Source

About To Launch A WordPress Site? Here’s What You Need To Know About SEO

WordPress is the most widely used content management system (CMS) in the world — roughly half of sites that use a CMS use WordPress.
There is good reason for WordPress’ popularity. It’s versatile, easy to use and highly customizable, due to the numerous plugins and themes available.
Many believe that using WordPress to host a site automatically guarantees good SEO. As the belief goes, all you need to do is start a WordPress site, and your SEO will take care of itself.
It doesn’t work that way. If you’re on the cusp of launching a new WordPress site, here’s what you need to know to maximize search engine visibility. My goal in this article is to provide several overarching strategies (rather than a technical how-to) that will improve your search potential.
1. WordPress Is Not An Automatic SEO Solution
First, let me reiterate the fact that WordPress is not an SEO silver bullet. The value of WordPress for SEO is that it is simple and intuitive. The platform

Search Engine Land Source

SEO Disasters: Preventing The Unthinkable

Like any SEO veteran, I can recount my share of horror stories — launching Google Analytics and noticing that sudden, sickening drop in traffic.
Sometimes, sudden drops in traffic may be the result of an algorithm changes (such as Panda). However, in many cases, they are caused by bugs, inadvertent changes or overambitious engineers with a little bit of SEO knowledge.
In this article, I will examine three real-life case studies and outline the steps necessary for SEO disaster prevention.
Case #1: “Something Bad Is Happening To My Website.”
I was at a company offsite, and my phone had been vibrating with several calls. I left my meeting and saw that my good friend (let’s call him “Tony”) had called several times and left a message: “I think something bad happening to my website. Traffic is crashing. Some sort of SEO problem.”
Tony runs iFly, an extremely successful airport information site. Like many of us, he is very dependent on Google traffic; an SEO issue would be a big

Search Engine Land Source