Google updates its search algorithm frequently. For example, on February 23rd, 2016, Google made significant changes to AdWords, removing right-column ads entirely and rolling out 4-ad top blocks on many commercial searches. While this was a paid search update, it had significant implications for CTR for both paid and organic results, especially on competitive keywords.

One of my best pieces of advice when it comes to SEO for small businesses is to truly spend some time understanding your audience and their intent. Even if your website is perfectly optimized, if it’s done for the wrong audience, you will not see good traffic. Google is taking audience intent into account more and more, as updates like RankBrain try to understand the semantics of a search query and not just the literal definition of the words. If you can comprehensively answer the questions your audience is asking, your site will rank highly in Google organically.
Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your description meta tag as a snippet in a search result. While there's no minimal or maximal length for the text in a description meta tag, we recommend making sure that it's long enough to be fully shown in Search (note that users may see different sized snippets depending on how and where they search), and contains all the relevant information users would need to determine whether the page will be useful and relevant to them.

Longer content not only helps in adding more keywords to it, but there is also a natural emphasis on information. The authenticity of a post increases with longer text, which means that Google would recognize it as something more relevant than a shorter and concise text. As search patterns are synonymous with long tail keywords nowadays, a longer text also improves the chances of your article/website to be on a higher ranking than others.
Provide full functionality on all devices. Mobile users expect the same functionality - such as commenting and check-out - and content on mobile as well as on all other devices that your website supports. In addition to textual content, make sure that all important images and videos are embedded and accessible on mobile devices. For search engines, provide all structured data and other metadata - such as titles, descriptions, link-elements, and other meta-tags - on all versions of the pages.
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While most of the links to your site will be added gradually, as people discover your content through search or other ways and link to it, Google understands that you'd like to let others know about the hard work you've put into your content. Effectively promoting your new content will lead to faster discovery by those who are interested in the same subject. As with most points covered in this document, taking these recommendations to an extreme could actually harm the reputation of your site.

Structured data21 is code that you can add to your sites' pages to describe your content to search engines, so they can better understand what's on your pages. Search engines can use this understanding to display your content in useful (and eye-catching!) ways in search results. That, in turn, can help you attract just the right kind of customers for your business.
I was wondering if you by this reply really meant 410? Also, what is your take on the many suggestions out there saying that making 301 redirects is always better than deleting pages? I understand that reason is that it is (or is in risk of) being spam-ish to just redirect everything. Also I’m guessing that too many redirects will slow down the page.
The most common destination anchor is a URL used in the World Wide Web. This can refer to a document, e.g. a webpage, or other resource, or to a position in a webpage. The latter is achieved by means of an HTML element with a "name" or "id" attribute at that position of the HTML document. The URL of the position is the URL of the webpage with a fragment identifier — "#id attribute" — appended.
The W3C Recommendation called XLink describes hyperlinks that offer a far greater degree of functionality than those offered in HTML. These extended links can be multidirectional, linking from, within, and between XML documents. It can also describe simple links, which are unidirectional and therefore offer no more functionality than hyperlinks in HTML.
Write a description that would both inform and interest users if they saw your description meta tag as a snippet in a search result. While there's no minimal or maximal length for the text in a description meta tag, we recommend making sure that it's long enough to be fully shown in Search (note that users may see different sized snippets depending on how and where they search), and contains all the relevant information users would need to determine whether the page will be useful and relevant to them.
It appears that the reason this page from a little-known website is able to rank amongst the bigger players is that the content itself is more focussed. It talks about how to name images for SEO, whereas most of the other pages are more general guides to image SEO—which all presumably mention the importance of naming images correctly, amongst other things.

Another reason is that if you're using an image as a link, the alt text for that image will be treated similarly to the anchor text of a text link. However, we don't recommend using too many images for links in your site's navigation when text links could serve the same purpose. Lastly, optimizing your image filenames and alt text makes it easier for image search projects like Google Image Search to better understand your images.

Expertise and authoritativeness of a site increases its quality. Be sure that content on your site is created or edited by people with expertise in the topic. For example, providing expert or experienced sources can help users understand articles’ expertise. Representing well-established consensus in pages on scientific topics is a good practice if such consensus exists.


Being on the 3rd place and at the same time having such a low CTR, serves a search intent. Isn’t that right? By changing the meta description in to a PERFECT DESCRIPTIVE TEXT, I am going to trigger different actions from the users. Many people will start clicking at my result just out of curiosity, their search intent won’t be satisfied and rankbrain will start to slowly ruining my ranking as my post, that won’t be fulfilling their searches.

Ensure that the pictures on your website have file names which include the target keyword. Also, your target keyword should be part of your image’s Alt Text. This will improve optimization for your article and also create a clearer picture for the search engines to the relevancy of your article/page. Images are an important component of any website as they make pages visually attractive as well as informative. Optimizing your images should naturally boost your ranking. Also, your image will get a high rank in Google image search.
Take your competitors’ SEO work and apply it to yourself. For example, when writing your meta titles and descriptions, look at your competitors’ paid ads on Google for your keywords. Do they all mention a word or phrase (“complementary” or “free estimates,” for example)? Try using those to improve your titles and descriptions. After all, they spent money testing theirs out.
Good stuff, Brian. The tip about getting longer (4-line) descriptions is awesome. I hadn’t noticed that too much in the SERPs, although now I’m on a mission to find some examples in my niche and study how to achieve these longer descriptions. I also like the tip about using brackets in the post’s title. One other thing that works well in certain niches is to add a CAPITAL word somewhere in the title. Based on some early tests, it appears to improve CTR.

The W3C Recommendation called XLink describes hyperlinks that offer a far greater degree of functionality than those offered in HTML. These extended links can be multidirectional, linking from, within, and between XML documents. It can also describe simple links, which are unidirectional and therefore offer no more functionality than hyperlinks in HTML.
Google’s local search results are displayed within Google Maps after a user searches for a keyword that includes a location, such as “pizza New York.” Landing within Google’s local search results requires that you have a Google My Business account. This is key for brick-and-mortar-based businesses because it puts your business in front of local people ready to buy.
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