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Search Recap: Google SERP descriptions expanded, mobile first indexing preparation and more.

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29th January 2018 in

As we launch into 2018, it’s important to take stock of the latest search updates and their implications for your business, so you can develop the most effective SEO strategy for the year ahead.

I’ve rounded up the four SEO changes I believe have created the biggest industry waves below.

1. Google expands the length of SERP descriptions

To help users detect pages that are most relevant to their searches, Google have increased the length of the description line under the page title and URL (known as a snippet) to provide more information in the SERP. The maximum length of a snippet is now 320 characters. Since snippet content is dynamic, webmasters will be happy to hear they won’t have to change their page meta descriptions.

Learn more here.

2. Google updates their SEO starter guide

After several years, Google have finally updated their SEO starter guide. The latest version will replace both the old Starter Guide and Website Academy to provide a single source of information for those looking to create search-engine-friendly websites. New additions to the guide include how to build mobile-friendly websites, add structured data markups and search engine optimisation.

Find out more here.

3. Google posts advice for webmasters ahead of mobile first indexing

As the dawn of mobile-first indexing approaches, Google have published a checklist to help businesses prepare for the change. To recap, mobile-first indexing will mean that a website will be indexed and ranked based on the mobile version of its content. Businesses with a responsive web design or who have already implemented dynamic serving will be unaffected by the update.

If not, you should consider the following:
• Ensure you either have a mobile-friendly or responsive website
• Include structured data on both the mobile and desktop versions of your website.
• Include the same metadata on both versions of the site.

Discover more about mobile first indexing on my previous blog here, or about Google’s advice here.

4. Google confirms mid-December algorithm update

Google have confirmed that several changes were made to the search algorithm in the middle of December 2017. These developments negatively affected the SERP rankings of websites with keyword permutations and doorway pages. Mobile sites across the Auto & Vehicles, Law & Government and Reference categories in particular, experienced the highest SERP volatility as a result.

Learn more here.

What are your thoughts on these developments?

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