Title Tag & Fonts – Although this change actually happened in May, Google is still playing around with the way searches display. With Google no longer showing paid ads on the right hand side of the search engine results, it is has meant quite a lot of empty white space to fill. They have currently been testing increasing the title tag number of characters from 64 to 70-71 characters, meaning more space to put your keywords without them being truncated. Also the meta description tag which appears under the title tag has a whopping extra line of text to play with from 160 characters to almost 260 characters. To see what this looks like see search engine journal’s post. Google is also playing around with the font used in search engine result pages, with a larger font and the underline from the URL missing. To see how this look see this post. I have also seen reports of Google boxing off ad’s, so I think we will soon see a major revamp to the way the results are displayed.
Google My Business VIdeo Verification Methods – One of the most frustrating things for local businesses is verifying their business via the postcard Google sends out to clients addresses for a verified map listing. Times I have had to send the postcard 2-3 times with no way of knowing if the client will receive it or not. Gone are the days of phone verification and Google is looking for innovative ways to speed up the process whilst still being able to verify the company and the address. Google is currently testing Video verification methods. They are trialling letting a business owner video their premises, staff, tools and even vehicles as part of the verification process. If it speeds up the process and stops the abuse by virtual offices this has to be a good thing for local businesses. See more here https://www.seroundtable.com/google-maps-video-business-verification-22321.html
Google My Business Paid Ad – Another change in the pipeline for Google, is the 1st Google local map listing being a paid ad via Google’s PPC AdWords network. This was announced at the recent SMX advanced conference. Yet again Google trying to push more and more people rightly or wrong into paid ad’s. No official launch date has been named for this.
Update Brewing – There has been reports by some of fluctuations in their rankings in google. Whilst this does not appear to be the long awaited Penguin update, it could the long roll out of the Panda update which was released in March, or it may be yet again another Phantom update. With Google now trying to roll out the updates as part of ongoing process, the days of static rankings have disappeared.
Authorship – Google’s authorship has been officially dropped. In case you are not sure what Authorship was, it was going to be a way for authors of blog posts, editorials and content in general to place a piece of code which was tied to their Google+ account so Google could link the content to the author with a profile picture displayed next to their blog posts. This seemed to have been dropped the day Google declared war on guest blog posting.
Tip Of The Month – Link Metric Software Ahrefs.com recently published a list of onpage factors with regards to SEO in 2016. Influencer Cyrus Shepherd quite rightly outlined that the post didn’t go deep enough into the technical aspects of onpage factors as a ranking factor.
With link manipulation no longer an option I regularly tell clients the way you rank these days is to make sure your website is as watertight, authoritative and relevant as possible with good navigation, good page speed, low code/text ratio and fresh authoritative content to name a few of the metrics. Often people will blame the lack of ranking as a link issue and often forget to review the way Google sees and crawls their site.