It has been our mission ever since we got funded (via angel investment) back in September 2012 to create a gamified experience that takes you by the hand and shows you exactly how to win the digital marketing game. In a very step-by-step way, so you’d never get lost in the process.
“The Game that gets your business noticed on over-drive” is what TechCrunch was saying about Squirrly back in the day.
While we’ve made many squirrly releases and built one of the most powerful SEO solutions on the market, we haven’t fully addressed the way in which Squirrly SEO is your digital assistant for internet marketing.
If you’ve seen our Content Tree Infographic, you already know that Squirrly SEO acts on many levels of search engine optimization, not just a couple of code snippets inside the page.
It’s a software that helps you build a solid SEO strategy, taking all SEO aspects into consideration.
However, Squirrly SEO 2019 is here to change everything.
The tools that we give will no longer seem like different parts of different universes.
Focus Pages – one of the core features of the new software package will unite all information and all tools available in Squirrly SEO.
It will act as a digital assistant for your Search Engine Strategy.
Taking many ranking factors into account, it will show you for 5 pages (on the PRO plan) on your site a status (RED or GREEN) for each page and each ranking factor.
For one page you could have 10 Ranking Factors to fix, for another page you could have only 5 to fix. Everything is customized at a per-page level.
Once you turn all the elements from RED to Green you will win.
That’s how we’ve shaped the whole experience. If I showed you today what the Strategy Assistant was supposed to be back in 2012, you wouldn’t believe that we’ve managed to structure everything into such a simple experience.
It used to be super complicated.
Now, you’ll just have an interface inside your WordPress from which you’ll be able to control and work on every single ranking factor you can influence to make Google see that your Website is a quality website and that it deserves its place among the TOP 10 for your desired keyword.
Melissa Blevins is a Squirrly SEO user and likes to describe herself as a free-spirited nerd (we relate). She’s passionate about equipping women with practical tips and tools to stop the money struggle and start living their best life!
Like many aspiring bloggers and site owners, Melissa managed to turn her passion into profit via her site by reaching an audience who is genuinely interested in what she has to offer.
That’s a goal many of you reading this can probably relate to.
Recently, she shared an article on her site detailing some of the steps she took to make one of her posts rank on the first page of Google – and how Squirrly SEO PRO helped her climb that mountain.
After all, that’s the dream, right? Show up on the 1st Page of Google and get a significant boost in traffic to your site. But if it were easy, then everyone would do it.
Well, as you’ll see from this post, it’s possible to achieve amazing rankings, even if you’re not an SEO expert or a huge brand.
Here are some of Melissa’s amazing Results according to the information she shared with her audience; her SEO success story as it translates into numbers:
She managed to rank on the first Page of Google with her post about reasons to buy a mobile home. And she did it in 1.5 hours since publishing.
She currently has 8 posts on page one of Google with several on page 2 and 3 that are slowly moving up in the ranking
Impressive traffic volume. Up to 10,000 blog page views on her 4th month blogging.
We win by helping others win, so we’re always super excited when a Squirrly PRO user decides to share their success story and how using the plugin contributed to that success.
To us, it’s an ongoing confirmation of the kind of value people get when using the Squirrly PRO features. It’s undeniable evidence that Squirrly works when you are willing to do your part as well.
That being said, we like to treat every success story as a great learning opportunity because we firmly believe in the value of sharing experiences and growing world knowledge.
So read on to find out more about the strategies behind the success, and how you can leverage the same tactics and tools to shape your own SEO success story.
This article will focus on Keyword Research, a practice you’ll find at the heart of any SEO success story.
It’s a great day to grow your knowledge, so let’s get this party started!
Lesson 1: Search Volume and Picking the Right Keywords
The search volume is a metric that tells you how many people searched for your topic in the exact way that you wrote it.
If you’re a real estate agent and want to get people to work with you on their transactions, you’ll naturally want to write content that would genuinely interest them like What to Look for when Going Home Shopping or How to Sell a Property Faster.
But it goes deeper than that.
For instance, the majority of people may not look for how to sell a property faster. Instead, they may look for something like: “home selling tips.” Or it’s possible that they will use their location in the query to get specific results and thus type in: “how to sell a property in San Francisco.”
Let’s take another example and say you want to write an article about inexpensive dog food. Your first guess may be to use affordable dog food as your keyword.
But is it really the best keyword? With Squirrly SEO, you eliminate the guesswork.
As you see from the screenshot below, the keyword “affordable dog food” only has 100-500 Search Volume, compared to “affordable dog food brands” that has 1297 Search Volume and it’s easy to rank for, as far as Competition goes.
The keyword research was done using the Keyword Research tool from Squirrly SEO, and what it shows you- for this particular example – is that it will be more profitable for you, in the long run, to write about “affordable dog food brands” rather than “affordable dog food.”
You need to know these things before you start creating content and optimizing it for keywords you assume might work but probably won’t. If you don’t use the words that your audience is using, you are missing out on the potential to attract the right people to your site.
With Squirrly, it’s easy to pick keywords that your audience and potential customers will actually write down into Google search when looking for topics. That’s because the Keyword Research provides accurate, up-to-date Search Volume Data for the country you are targeting.
What’s more, you will get plenty of relevant suggestions for high-potential, long-tail keywords. One of the main reasons to target long-tail keywords is that they’re easier to rank for. In other words, you won’t be competing with industry-leading companies on these keywords.
So instead of targeting a head keyword like “dog food” that has lots of competition and that all the industry big fish out there are targeting, you could go for a long-tail keyword that is more specific, such as “dog food for large dogs.”
The search volume could be lower-but so will the competition.
And sometimes, you can strike gold and find incredible long-tail keywords with high search volume and low competition.
In the screenshot below, you can see some of the keyword suggestions Squirrly provided for the topic “dog food” and the associated data for each of them.
Always look at Search Volume in connection to the Competition data to find the best keywords to target. Read that again; it’s essential.
Lesson 2: Leverage Trend Data to Boost Traffic
The trend of a keyword shows you how popular the topic is over time. In other words, it lets you see the level of interest for a certain keyword. The best thing about knowing the trend of a keyword is that you can identify incredible opportunities to bring in traffic and increase your rankings.
It can also help you build a better timeline and tell you what is the best time to begin pushing a particular piece of content more aggressively.
These opportunities come around consistently and, usually, they are related to things like:
Seasonality. Search terms such as umbrellas or raincoats are obviously more popular during the rainy season.
Holidays, such as Mother’s Day.
Important events, like the World Cup.
An high-notoriety launch or release.
A significant change within a certain industry. GDPR, anyone?
As you may have seen from the screenshot above, you can turn to Squirrly’s keyword research to get information related to the Trend of a keyword as well. You’ll find it under the Trend section, in one of these forms:
Steady. We recommend that you target keywords that have a Steady trend. You don’t want to waste time creating content for falling topics.
Going Up. When you see the trend for a keyword “Going Up,” it could be a great indicator that it may be time to start creating and optimizing content for that topic. This will leave you enough time to prepare the actual content. If you create it now and rank it before anyone else, it means that there will be a lot more search volume in the future for your piece. It has the opportunity to give you a long-lasting free traffic source.
Failing. It shows you that people are beginning to lose interest in that particular topic, so it may be best to consider other options.
Sky-rocketing. Like “Going Up”, but like: way better. This is more like a “high risks; high rewards” type. Sometimes big media sites like INC and Forbes start targeting these and then you’ll have new competition which is pretty tough to beat. However if other don’t outrank you in time, then this is a great choice, because the search volume will get huge and you’ll be getting more and more readers as time goes by.
Now that you know how to find that data, the natural question is “So how can you make this information valuable to your business?”
Well, you can exploit that information to get inspired to create new blog posts that will bring traffic to your site. You can be among the first to write an in-depth resource about a trending topic – if it’s relevant to your audience.
For instance, if you run a blog about crafts and DIY, you could put together a fun guide about Best DIY Gift to Give Your Mom on Mother’s Day – and publish it a few days before.
Sometimes, the window of opportunity is small for these things, and you have to be quick to create the content.
Lesson 3: Build a Strategy around Your Keywords
It’s not important to only pick the best keywords. You have to build a strategy around them, and you have to do it in a way that allows you to stay focused and ensure consistency. Easier said than done, right?
Well, better done than skipped.
SEO results grow and expand over time. Your site is not static, it grows and moves at the pace of your goals and the work you put into it. Consistency is the name of the game here, so the more organized you are, the more chances you have to build a successful SEO strategy.
Keyword strategy is something that you need to continually tweak, re-calibrate, improve. You consistently have to add new keywords to your portfolio based on your active campaigns, goals, and needs.
Once you have a good list of keywords, it’s time to organize it. This was a need that several of our users have expressed, and the Briefcase feature is our solution to cover that need.
As you can see from the screenshot above, Briefcase offers a structured way to manage your keyword strategy and have a clear overview of your progress.
Notice that you can see the associated data for each Keyword you place in Briefcase. It also shows you how many times you’ve used that keyword to optimize articles or pages.
You can assign labels to keywords based on your current strategies and content marketing campaigns. Then, you can filter keywords based on labels.
Categorize keywords based on different stages in your Customer’s journey or any other criteria that help you stay organized, such “best opportunities”, “strong purchase intent.”
Ensure that everyone on your team of writers, if you have one, will know what keywords to focus on.
Lesson 4: The Tool You Use to Do Keyword Research Matters
In her article, Melissa Blevins said this: “There’s a specific system that new bloggers must follow to get their posts to rank on page one of Google. It starts with a great SEO plugin and keyword research. I can’t stand AdWords for keyword research as it’s clunky and not exactly accurate.”
Well, she’s right! Using AdWords’ Keyword Planner Tool (the kw planner from Google) to conduct Keyword Research so that you can rank in Organic Search Results is like buying a train ticket to Paris and expect the train to take you to Wakanda.
Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit for effect. Not that AdWords isn’t a valuable tool, it’s just that it’s not the right tool for the job, as AdWords is mostly linked to keyword competition for Paid Search.
Looking for the best keywords to rank for using AdWords may not show you ALL the valuable keyword phrases that have a high search volume connected to a word or phrase. It may show you some, but ‘some’ means you risk missing out.
If you don’t want to have to worry about that and know that you’ll be given the best keywords suggestions that your site can rank for, give Squirrly SEO a try today.
Lesson 5: Tracking Performance Is Essential to Future Performance
Your job is not over once you’ve published the article which you’ve optimized for a specific keyword. It’s important to track the Analytics and see how your article is performing.
This is yet another critical component of a healthy SEO strategy which Squirrly makes super easy to manage. In the Advanced Analytics section of the Squirrly Business Plan, you can access essential data, such as:
The Google Rank for a keyword you’ve targeted in an article or page,
Changes in ranking position for your articles and pages,
The Specific keyword your page ranked for,
Your Site’s overall ranking position,
The number of Social signals.
This way, you’ll know if the work you’ve done brought an improvement in the quality of your site and content or not, and go from there.
You Can Do It Too! Start Typing Your SEO Success Story
Like many other things in life, success in SEO boils down to mastering the basics.
And keyword research is for sure one of the essentials. Do keyword research, do it well, do it consistently, and results will come.
So, to recap; here are a few best practices inspired by Melissa’s success story that you can incorporate to keep ranking and reach the top positions in Google for queries that are relevant to your business and goals.
Look at Search Volume and competition data to find golden nugget keywords that have a high potential to bring targeted traffic to your site.
Identify top opportunities to bring in lots of traffic to your site by leveraging current trends.
Build a strategy around your keywords and be consistent with the content you publish.
Using Keyword Research Tools that show you results for Organic Search is paramount.
Do not underestimate the power of reliable Analytics. Tracking how your articles perform on Google is an essential component of any SEO Succes story.
Melissa’s success using Squirrly SEO is just one of many more.
300,000 Squirrly-surfaced keywords already ranked on Page 1 of Google.
In a single week, 6,200 new keywords researched and optimized with Squirrly SEO reached page 1 of Google.
You see, it’s possible to achieve exciting results even if you’re not an SEO expert or have massive resources. Take what you’ve learned today and use it to replicate this success story – or shape your own.
Give Squirrly PRO a try and start whipping up your SEO recipe for Success today!
Oftentimes, the art of online marketing seems to employ skills which rather resemble a flair for archery.
Designing campaigns, adjusting user experience or planning out a campaign budget – all these have something in common:
They HAVE to be well-aimed. Otherwise, you lose on marketing weaponry.
To avoid this, you need to shape up a local SEO strategy with solid local keyword research at its core.
Bottom line is that it’s costly not to set straightforward targets from the get-go.
As long as you follow the local path, your digital marketing efforts will no longer look like the GIF below. You’ll aim straight, fire off and win the game.
And the proper marketing projectiles you need throughout this process are, first and foremost, local keywords. In what follows,we’ll show how Squirrly SEO Plugin’s Keyword Research Tool helps you use them to move up the local rankings.
Discovering Searchers’ Intent
It’s a commonplace thing to say you have to know what customer segment you’re addressing.
Do they need your services to be delivered in 2 hours, 2 days or 2 weeks?
Do they need to carry out a thorough research before picking a provider for said needs?
Do they mainly use smartphone or desktop search?
Each one of these yields its specific importance in your local search strategy, so you need to craft and sort out keywords accordingly.
As a Hubspot research points out, 50% of smartphone users who searched for a local keyword have visited a local store within a day after.
That says a lot about purchase intent. Employ the proper local search strings and the intent will convert into actual customers flooding to your local store.
To understand local search intent, the best exercise is putting yourself in the searcher’s shoes.
When you’re looking for a local service, you will most likely:
Search for business hours
Directions to the local store
Local store address
Availability of product at local store
Which means you won’t surf the net just for the sake of it. You know you have to make up your mind as soon as possible.
This being the case, do you have time to analyze a dozen Google page results to see which is the most suitable to your needs?
The most probable scenario is you’ll pick a service provider from the first Google results page.
This thought process is a bit like reverse engineering, meaning you tried to reconstitute the local customer intent, so that you can use it to devise your own strategy.
Understanding Local SEO
With local optimization, you know your KPIs are well-defined – you’re looking for more customers, plain and simple.
However, as much as we’d like it, there’s no ultimate set of rules to follow when doing local keyword ch. It’s not an exact science.
Which means, rather than looking for an ultimate guide, you should strive to develop a framework which suits your needs.
For instance, not all local businesses which manage to get ahead of their competitors also convert better than them.
It’s about the local marketing prowess you manage to master.
Conducting several types of sustainable campaigns is more beneficial than focusing only on Adwords. It will ensure you also fare well from an organic ranking point of view.
Granted, the state of local SEO in 2017 is pretty much what it used to be last year. One mention, though: getting noticed on the first page is harder since Google displays 4 paid ads you have to fight with. Plus, there’s also the local competition you need to worry about.
Getting Started on a Smooth Local SEO Path
The natural move when you have local optimization in mind is having a look at the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
Then, you need to answer these questions:
Who has the most visible websites for the topics and keywords you intend to use?
How optimized is your site for near me searches?
What competitors display Google Ads?
How do the high-ranking websites’ snippets look like?
Slight details, like optimized snippet content, may be decisive factors when you are vying for those valuable clicks which really convert.
Not to mention other criteria like the country you want to rank for. To give you an idea, let’s use Squirrly’s Keyword Research Tool and see the results for the same keyword aimed at different countries:
A Blueprint for Local SEO Best Practices
If you’re a newcomer to the world of local search engine optimization, you’ll most likely welcome a brief guide to this notion. And even if you’re not, Google’s constant algorithm changes almost force you to feel like one from time to time.
But this is a good thing, as you’ll be pushed to revise and reconsider your SEO practices on a regular basis.
That said, gaining more online visibility starts with paying attention to local ranking factors like:
Google My Business (GMB) signals. Make sure you complete your GMB profile with the latest information. A Local SEO Guide 2016 study ascertains that high-ranking websites in local searches present a common characteristic: their GMB signals – like Pictures, Owner Verified or Reviews – are all in check.
Links and website content. These are organic SEO aspects which seem to be a differentiating criteria for GMB rankings. It does matter what keywords you optimize for or how many words you have on a page.
Well-written location pages
Off-site local signals
Citations. Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP). Although they’re not quite high on the priority list, you shouldn’t neglect them.
Depending on your business niche and competition, the above factors can be prioritized to different degrees. In some cases, basic practices suffice, while in busier markets there are more local SEO efforts required of you.
All in all, local link building and optimized website content are – still! – the pillars of local rank-boosting.
To turn your site content into a Google Local magnet, make sure you start off with good old local keywords.
What a Local Keyword Research Has in Sight
Local keyword research is based on volume data. You have to make sense of what high vs low volume means in terms of local search intent.
Low volume can mean anything from zero volume to a few searches which are actually converted into purchases within a small perimeter.
To make sense of this, you’d normally have to compare the search volume for that keyword in larger surrounding areas. If in the latter case search volume is still reduced, you’ll know the “low” qualifier stands for a keyphrase people don’t type in a search engine bar.
This rationale, though, is based on a search psychology principle which states people in neighboring areas are likely to present a similar search behavior.
Another DIY technique here is letting Google Suggest offer you hints.
Start your phrase with a domain-related term, then add the name of the area you’re interested in. Google will retrieve a few phrases which post high volume search in the respective area.
Pay attention that results might show different items for mobile and desktop devices.
You can also look for related phrases which will be displayed in related SERPs. These are similar results, while what Google Suggest displays are similar topics. In both cases, you can gather useful keyword suggestions.
The only thing is, testing all the above for your local keyword research takes some time.
And, let’s face it, when you are delivering loads of content per week, you don’t have as much time as you’d like.
We’re excited to come up with some good news, though.
Squirrly SEO Plugin’s Improved Keyword Research Tool
A Squirrly SEO plugin user can optimize all the pages in their WordPress site by utilizing our keyword research tool.
The tool has been recently updated for finer insights.
What resulted was an uber powerful feature – we’ve heard it’s even more effective than some other keyword research tools out there. And to think this is only one of Squirrly SEO Plugin’s features (besides many others).
First, it retrieves 3 times more long-tail keywords, which increases the chances of getting the best local keyword to use in your pages.
Plus, Squirrly Keyword Research instantly analyzes your local competition and displays the likelihood you rank high.
Let’s see it in action now.
First, make sure you go to the right upper side of the tab to select the country you want to rank for – Squirrly now offers you 26 options:
When digging for local keywords, even the last minute details are important. Word order is one of them. It matters if you choose to optimize for “bookshop Atlanta” or “Atlanta bookshop” on Google.com.
Squirrly Keyword Research algorithm knows that and acts accordingly by displaying keyword insights which help you pick the best phrases:
Although this keyword is easy to rank for, you can see the exact search is low, which means people in Atlanta don’t search for books using the keyword we exemplified above. So, you should go further and explore other options.
Let’s try out “Atlanta bookstore”:
Voilà, it seems this is something which looks more like what you’d wish for. You get the number of exact matches, so that you know the volume that specific keyword has been searched for.
But how about going further with your research? Let’s reverse word order and we’ll get something better:
This time, you find out the trend is steady, so this phrase is more reliable long-term.
Let’s add more words to enter long-tail territory. For “bookstores in Atlanta” you get:
How about “best bookstores in Atlanta”?
Out of all the results we got above, the one to go for would be “bookstore Atlanta”, the one for which Squirrly Plugin’s research has retrieved the most specific data.
Not Your Average WordPress SEO Plugin
When you go for local SEO as a main rank-boosting strategy, the first impulse is to rely on a separate tool for keyword research.
But it turns out, your plan can be fulfilled in a more cost-effective and time-saving manner using Squirrly’s SEO plugin.
Ready to smarten up your local efforts and get your products seen by the right customers? Then try out the SEO features Squirrly has to offer and drop us a line in the comments section to let us know how it went.
We’ve reached 2,489,000 downloads for the Squirrly SEO Plugin.
Since day one, we wanted to give you a powerful tool that will help you boost online visibility.
Therefore, our purpose was clear: figure out a way to offer you fantastic PRO tips and best practices that have already worked for tens of thousands of people before you.
49,000 people to be exact. We’ve helped all of them save $40,498,500 USD that they would’ve had to spend on Google AdWords in order to increase their search traffic.
You can either pay a lot of money to get in front, or use SEO and grow organically.
This was just to give you a sense of magnitude. (calculated via: 285 hits * 2.9 USD cost/click. And then multiplied for 49,000 people).
For today, I want you to focus on your first lesson on SEO.
Practical Things You’ll Learn in this Lesson:
How to do keyword research for your site
How to enable Squirrly to generate your Sitemap
How to check your site for SEO Errors
This Lesson will be broken into two Major Chapters:
+285% Increase in Traffic – The Results of using Squirrly SEO
Turning Data into Features That Help You Get Excellent Results
You know; most product owners would have just been happy seeing the impressive increase in traffic of their customers. At Squirrly, however, we don’t just look at charts and numbers; we want to make sure every individual user gets top results. That includes you!
You’ll have to work hard to get all of these great results!
Squirrly SEO is your Assistant for better rankings, not just a plugin that adds two lines of code to each page. Squirrly offers you incredible assistance and helps you push all of your site’s limits.
But for that, you’ll have to use our tools to the maximum; the tools you’ll ONLY find in Squirrly SEO to help you come up with winning strategies:
Keyword Planning and Research,
SEO Strategy Management,
Google Rank Checking,
Auditing your Blogging, SEO, Social Media, and Authority.
We included over 200 Tools and Features to help you become the very best. Use them. Push Harder. Implement a Marketing/SEO strategy. Earn Superstar Level in SEO by Ranking on the first page of Google, even if you’re a NON-SEO Person.
Chapter 1: +285% Increase in Traffic – The Results of Using Squirrly SEO
At one point, we wanted to find out more about the results that people got after using our features to the maximum. We didn’t include those who didn’t use them in this test, because they obviously had no chance to ever bring in results. No work, no results. That’s just how it goes.
The reason we’re doing this coaching session at Squirrly SEO is to help you work better, smarter and push your limits.
Also, we couldn’t have created the test with people who never optimized an article.
Criteria for the test:
We’ve tested to see how articles optimized to at least 50% with the SEO Live Assistant fared against articles that haven’t been optimized.
These tests were run on websites where people actually used the features and tools of Squirrly SEO.
Each user in this test already had at least 100 Visits / Day to their website.
Websites accepted into the test had a Piwik-based analytics solution which was developed by the Squirrly Company during 2013 and 2014.
So What Were The Results?
Pages optimized with Squirrly were getting +285% Increase in Traffic compared to the pages that weren’t optimized!
Some pages and whole websites went up with even +500% increase in traffic. Some of the +500% websites have been outlined and presented in our success stories.
Now, after this amazing experiment was over, it was our job to analyze exactly what they had done with the Squirrly SEO Plugin that made them so successful.
If you will follow the method for achieving The SEO Star Level we’ve created, you’ll be walking in their footsteps, heading towards success. Don’t worry, our Settings Assistant will guide you on the right path.
Chapter 2: Turning Data into Features That Help You Get Excellent Results
I realized that the best way to create a repeatable method was by observing the people who wanted to share data with us in the past. They needed new ways to improve their stats, so we did sort of an automated group learning.
All the research we’ve made has now been shaped into two different features of Squirrly 2018:
Follow all the steps in the presentation to do your first Keyword Research. After, save at least one great keyword opportunity in Briefcase. After doing this, go back to your WordPress dashboard > Squirrly > Dashboard.
You will see that your SEO Star level has gone up!
2) Check for SEO Errors in Your Website
This process enables the Squirrly plugin to find SEO errors that might keep your site from ranking on Google.
For each of them, you can let Squirrly fix it for you. With each issue that you solve, you’ll get closer to the becoming an SEO Star.
3) Get Your Sitemap from Squirrly
Squirrly is the only SEO plugin that supports videos as well as images being included in the sitemap.
It also works great with multisites.
4) Check Your Results in the Following Weeks
You will see your SEO Star increase and that makes all this hard work be worth it. Next, you’ll focus on Google Ranking.
Here’s where you can see the results of the tasks you’ve implemented. Today it’s just to get you familiar with what kind of data you can get here and know where your site is currently ranking.
Bear in mind it takes Google a couple of weeks to do their deep crawling in order for you to see the results of the tasks you completed.
Congrats on Finishing the First Lesson!
As I kept saying throughout this lesson: All that we’ve learned from 49,000 people using both WordPress and Squirrly has been turned into the SEO Star Feature.
And this is the best way to go about this. By taking a step forward to a better site with each action you perform. You don’t have to do it all at once. Or in a single day. But the Squirrly SEO Star will be there to show you how much work you have left.
Google has been displaying longer snippets in search results pages for some time now, but as of December 2017, they have made it official.
Until recently, the recommended Google snippet length was 160 characters.
Now, the search engine will display up to 320 characters, depending on the search query.
According to John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, the meta descriptions have pretty much always been dynamic, and the company never put a limit on the snippet length.
Google’s primary concern has always been to provide users with the best search experience, and thus it has been doing experiments to figure out the best ways to improve it.
This is one of most significant search updates lately, and it consequently sparked a lot of questions, worries, and concerns.
It’s understandable why.
In this post, I want to answer some of the common questions people have about this update and what to expect in the following months.
The Reason behind Google’s Decision to Increase the Length of Search Results Snippets
This is one of the most common questions people have regarding this topic. Why did Google suddenly decide to take this approach?
Well, as I’ve already pointed out earlier, the search engine pays a lot of attention to how users interact with search results.
Hence, they’ve decided to optimize the snippet based on users’ queries.
In Google’s official statement, the company said that showing content from the page itself, and not displaying the meta description, can be much more relevant to a user’s query and provide more value.
A few months ago, Google even wrote a blog post about this topic in which they explained that they take the snippet from three different sources:
The content of the page
The meta description
Given the claims they made even before releasing this update, it should be no surprise that this day came and that we now see longer snippets in search results more often.
Does This Mean Google Will No Longer Display the Snippet You’ve Already Set?
What Google decides to display as the meta description will largely depend on a user’s query. So, if Google thinks that the snippet is too short and doesn’t provide a relevant answer to the query, then the search engine may display content from the page.
This means that the original snippet will either be replaced by the longer one taken from the page itself or content will be added to the meta description which was previously set.
Additionally, the search results you’re seeing may be different from what another person is seeing because you’ll both be using different search terms.
Do Snippets Really Matter?
Yes, they still matter.
The purpose of the meta description is to describe what the page is about briefly. However, the end goal is to make users click on it.
Even though snippets don’t play a direct role in rankings, they play an indirect part because they can influence click-through rates (CTR), which is one of the three most important ranking factors.
Whether you decide to keep them at 160 chars max, or you want to make them longer, the rules don’t change.
As a best practice, keep in mind that the meta description should inform users of what your page is about without giving everything away.
Should You Update Your Meta Descriptions?
Yes and No.
Confused? Then let me make things clearer for you.
First off, you should know that Google doesn’t recommend taking any action, so feel free to leave your snippets as they are. As I’ve already mentioned, if Google wants to display a more extended snippet, then they can pull content from the actual page by considering the user query.
So far, the Google snippet length forced us to be incredibly creative. After all, it’s not easy to write a compelling, informative, persuasive, and actionable meta description in just 160 characters.
So, if you have a hard time condensing what your pages are about, then you may find Google’s update to be a breath of fresh air. However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t give everything away in the snippet (which you might be tempted to do) because this may result in a lower CTR.
Also, don’t stuff the snippet with keywords. Google is all about the user experience, so keep the summary as useful and as human-friendly as possible.
If you want to figure out which pages are worth optimizing with longer snippets, then I recommend checking the top queries that bring people on your pages. Search those terms yourself to see how your pages look like in search results.
And if you don’t like how they look like, then you can change the description.
For now, it appears that Google knows best what to display for each user query, so you don’t need to prioritize changing your meta descriptions.
But feel free to conduct your own experiments if you want to dig deeper into how this Google snippet length update will affect SEO.
If you’re a Squirrly SEO user, then you probably noticed that we released an update last year which allows you to write longer snippets for all your pages. If you’re using a different CMS than WordPress, then you need to make sure that it allows you to use more than 160 characters in the meta description.
The additional lines for longer snippets mean that some pages will take up more space in SERPs. This may make users not scroll down as much as they used to.
In the long-term, this can further reduce the CTR for results that are on the second page of Google.
It’s a little early to form an opinion on the impact the increase of the Google snippet length will have on CTRs or SEO efforts, but predictions can be made.
I hope that this article helped you better understand the latest Google update. If you have any other concerns you’d like to address, feel free to post them in the comments down below.
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