Do This – Now That Facebook’s News Feed Is Dead

Facebook news feed sample

A couple of weeks ago Facebook announced they are reducing the number of organic (not-paid) business news stories that display on your Facebook feed. For businesses – especially ones with a small or non-existent advertising budget, this is crushing news.

But what if I were to tell you that this is more an opportunity than a setback.

I see far too many businesses putting hours into social media postings on Facebook (and other sites) with few verifiable leads resulting. Don’t hit my inbox with hate mail – social media has its place, and it is without a doubt; the place to story-tell and engage. But for their efforts in posting stories and pictures; most businesses would be hard pressed to point to a receipt and say it was the result of a Facebook post.

Here’s the problem… and it’s been this way for a long time.

Facebook is the Las Vegas of social media, what happens there – stays there. Very few posts escape the social black hole and end up displaying on search engines like Google (which drives most business website traffic).

But what if, instead of sharing your story on Facebook, you wrote your story on a blog, then shared that on your fave social media channels?

The power of a blog is that it can have fantastic visibility in search engines – unlike most social media posts. You also have greater control of the look/feel of your story. And when sharing that blog story on social media, all the earned engagement benefits your blog as a whole – instead of having a collection of mixed-results social channels.

But wait – it get’s better

If your blog is part of your website – your social media activity can drive a lot of new traffic to it. Every blog post you write is just like adding a new page to your website. This new traffic can help boost your ranking and visibility on search engines!

The demise of Facebook’s news feed isn’t crushing news after all – it’s an opportunity to do something different, and maybe even see better results for your efforts.

#blogon!

Posted in Blogging, Providence SEO, Rhode Island SEO, Rhode Island Web Marketing, SEO Quote, SMO | Social Media Optimization | Tagged , , , , , ,

Why You Should Not Match Your META – To Google’s New META Character Limits

non-matching socksThis past December Google lengthened the character limits for the META title and description elements they will display for a webpage. These new changes mean Google will now display up to 70 characters (including spaces) for the title and up to 320 characters for the description META of a webpage.

As you might imagine – this is fantastic news for businesses, but my advice is to hold off on making any changes to lengthen your META.

In non-techie terms – the META Title is the blue link in a search result with the descriptive text below being the META Description. Illustrated below…Image of meta title and descriptions

 

 

 

 

The META Title packs a strong SEO punch and could help with discovery and ranking for a webpage while the META Description is inert in these capacities, but it is the element that could make people click on your business if worded carefully. The META Description is referred to as a conversion element for this reason (it converts viewers into prospects/sales). Stated another way, META Descriptions are not ranking elements, but META Titles could be.

Getting back to the META character length changes…

Extending the META elements to match Google’s new standards could result in displaying a longer or more descriptive narrative for your pages on Google. But since other search engines have not adopted these extended character elements – you could be limiting your exposure on other prominent search sites like Bing; which in my experience is likely to drive about 20% of website traffic.

Are you willing to show a less-than-ideal search experience for 20% of your prospects? I would think not…

Admittedly, these character length changes are new, so the true usability has yet to be determined. But for the near future here’s what I suggest you do.

Do not lengthen your META Titles or Descriptions.

Instead, create a block of targeted narrative specific to the page content/offering as the opening text for your most important pages. Make sure the character count for this is between 280-310 characters (including spaces). This text block is now formatted to act as an optional META Description should Google’s algorithm select it.

Your benefit for making this change could be a visually longer description for some Google Search results which will be a differentiator from your competition, and possibly with enough rich content to help move your conversion needle (get more leads).

As a bonus – while technical META Title & Description elements do not permit bold, italicized text, or headers-tags (H1-6); Google will strip these tags from this block of text and render it as plain. This will allow you to add this text element in a way that is synergistic to your current website/blog – it will not stick out as an afterthought or created specifically for search engines (⇐don’t do that – it doesn’t work). So go ahead and add H1 tags, bold, and capitalization to this intro block as you would for any other element of your website.

Posted in META Optimization, Providence SEO, Rhode Island SEO, Rhode Island Web Marketing, SEO Quote | Tagged , , , , ,

SEO By The Numbers

SEO By The Numbers

An SEO Cheat Sheet For Character Counts and Other Stuff

By Chris Sheehy | Sidewalk Branding Co. [updated January 2018]
 

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of calls from businesses concerned with optimizing the back-end data of their website called the META.  This data is helpful in informing search engines and viewers alike about the pages of a website.

The calls typically have concerned the technical aspect of META Tags with questions ranging from “are we properly keyword optimized?” to “are we within character limits for our META elements?”.

I think I’ve written enough recently on keyword research & keyword optimization, so I’ll jump right to the mysterious side of META Tags, and character count limits as they impact search engine optimization.

Let me start by saying many of the character limitations you read/hear about aren’t character count limitations at all; but rather pixel limitations.  Different letters and numbers occupy more/less pixel space than others (think of “i/I” vs. “m/M”).  It can seem overly complicated to measure text in pixels– so character counts have been overly simplified and used as the standard.  It is for this reason you typically see number ranges instead of hard-set numbers when researching the topic.  So character counts it is.

And also be aware that character counts are mainly best practice SEO suggestions – so don’t assume that nailing these will instantly drive more traffic to your website, by itself – it won’t.  But they should certainly be considered when assessing which of the 200-ish website SEO signals of your site you need to modify in order to improve your visibility and rank.

So without further ado – here’s our top 6 elements to consider taken directly from our in-house  META Data SEO Cheat Sheet for character counts and META Title & Description pixel width consideration.

Used wisely and with discretion, it will aid in fine-honing your website’s search engine optimization elements and help to signal more traffic to your site.

  • META-Title                      30 min > 70 max characters [updated]
  • META-Description        70 min > 320 max characters [updated]
  • META-Keywords            (these do nothing – stop using them)
  • H-Tags                                70 characters max
  • URL length                       115 characters max
  • Image Alt Attribute       100 characters max
  • On-Page Text Length    300 words minimum

#seo #googlemeta

Posted in META Optimization, Providence SEO, Rhode Island SEO, Rhode Island Web Marketing, SEO Quote, Website SEO Grader Tool | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments