Google Extends Length of Meta Description in SERPs

It’s official – Google have increased the length of meta descriptions in search snippets to 320 characters. Now that’s great news for users and SEO’s alike! Slightly longer meta descriptions provide more informative descriptions that attract and engage searchers. Giving users exactly what they’re looking for, faster. And these improved search snippets are across all platforms, including mobile. Hooray! Google Search Algorithm Updates Historically, SEO’s had to find the (very fine) balance between writing meta descriptions that would be picked up by Google robots, as well as reading natural enough to spark interest and clicks from humans. This change marks another step towards putting humans first – and we couldn’t be more pleased. But, don’t rush to update your meta descriptions. Google’s public liaison for search, Danny Sullivan, hinted that the process is much more dynamic and likely to take relevant content directly from the page. Google Extends Length of Meta Description in SERPs Instead, you should focus on improving your on-page content. Firstly, make sure your page provides the content that searchers are looking for and that it includes variations of your target keyword. Keyword stuffing is absolutely not welcome, so make sure your content reads naturally. Finally, write and display content in a way that engages your audience. You can use metrics such as bounce rate and dwell time to understand the effectiveness of your page. We’ve got a great blog post to read if you want to learn more about using Google Analytics. If you’d like to learn more about our SEO services, then feel free to get in touch with our Digital Marketing team at info@star-digital.co.uk or call us on 01604 696385.

5 Content Marketing Trends to Look for in 2018

Trends Content Marketing 2018 Rapid innovations in technology have begun to fully take over our lives and are now taking over our content marketing. 2017 was the year of influencer marketing, mobile video, marketing automation and introduction of chatbots. These content marketing trends are still very much popular today although new advanced trends are being introduced in 2018.  
  1. Live video & live streaming on social
Live streaming was introduced towards the end of 2017 and it is anticipated that it will become more popular in 2018 with all major social media platforms adapting to this trend and the majority of social users utilising it on a regular basis. According to Smart Insights, people are more attracted to videos than still images because of the deeper attachment they experience from visual elements which encourages them to interact more with them. Video is already a huge part of content marketing, although live streaming in becoming increasingly popular. People spend more than 3x more time watching a Facebook Live video on average compared to a video that’s no longer live. Read our latest blog post on the rise of videos on landing pages.   
  1. Content will become more personalised
Over the past few years, personalisation has become preferential, it appears to be more effective targeting customers personally and using names than using generic content. The goal for 2018 will be to move away from the traditional content and implement a more dynamic content. This will create a unique experience for consumers that will effectively match their specific requirements and needs. It has been predicted that the majority of large tech companies in 2018 will invest in creating personalized experience through customer profiles, as leading ecommerce store, Amazon have already started to implement. Content that is more personalised and based on targeted user personas are more likely to be read, as it appears more relevant to viewers.  
  1. Interactive visual content will become more popular
 Approximately 3.2 billion photos are shared every day on major social media platforms such as Facebook , Instagram and Snapchat. Visual content is an important part of content marketing, visual content engages more with users so interactive content that users can actually engage with is highly effective to catch your target audience’s attention. Over 37% of marketers have said that visual marketing is one of the most important forms of content in their organisation. Organisations are starting to include fun and informative surveys and quizzes in their campaigns to help interact with their viewers and for them to feel more involved with the company. It also gives the company an accurate view of the amount of people who have shown interest in the campaign. The Airbnb visual map is an example of an interactive visual representation where users can see where other guests are staying around the world. The map is visually inspiring and fun for users to navigate round.   Airbnb visual interactive map  
  1. Rise of augmented reality
 Augmented reality is a quick and engaging way for marketers to successfully connect with their target audience. It provides users with a view of a physical environment with elements from a virtual world. Apple has already incorporated augmented reality experiences in their smartphone devices for example in the iPhone 8 and iPhone X by using mobile apps that make real world tasks easier and more precise. Social media platforms like Facebook have started to engage and introduce AR into their platform by launching augmented reality image filters and interactive experiences to its Camera Effects platform. As it continues to rise, it has been revealed that augmented and virtual reality will generate $150 billion in revenue by 2020.  
  1. Smart content for Artificial intelligence
Although major companies such as Google have been using artificial intelligence for the past few years, AI has started to be used for marketing by helping brands to enhance the customer experience. With the increase of virtual assistants such as Siri on Iphone, Cortana on Google and Alexa from Amazon, interactive voice-activated devices are becoming part of every day life and we believe it will only get bigger in 2018. Many companies are trying to find new ways to apply smart technology to their content marketing campaigns to produce innovative and interactive experiences for customers to effectively engage and connect with them. As content marketing continues to rise over the next few years, further technology will be introduced and dominate content marketing trends. We will be definitely seeing more innovative technologies heavily influencing content marketing in 2018. We offer content marketing services to ensure you stay ahead of the emerging trends and remain above your competitors. Call our friendly team on 01604 696385 or email us at info@star-digital.co.uk.

Experimenting with A/B Testing in your AdWords Campaign

What is A/B Testing? A/B testing is somewhat a common practice across digital marketing and advertising strategies. Often referred to as “split testing”, the strategy involves the testing two different variables against each other to see what can attain the most efficient and successful results. It is usually carried to help bring scientific methodology to what otherwise would be simple guesswork. In terms of Google Adwords and your PPC campaign, A/B testing can help you increase click through rate and conversions, at no extra cost. How to use it Quite simply, the idea of A/B testing is rather straightforward; you’re experimenting between two different variables to see which one works best for your business. However, the approach to utilising the method, or even the different variables you can measure, can vary from scenario to scenario. For example, you may be unable to decide on two different sets of copy for your ad. Meaning by running split testing, you can see which version is performing better. Equally, you can experiment with two different landing pages for the same ad. Alternatively, you may notice from your Google Analytics, that your e-store is converting more from users on a mobile phone, compared to a computer. Therefore, you may want to implement increased bid adjustments so you can reach more users on a mobile phone, with hope of them converting.   Star Digital A/B Testing Adwords   So, what kind of variables can be experimented with through A/B testing?
  • Ads
This involves all of the entry fields that go into designing your PPC advertisement. Including: Headline, Description, Display URL, Ad Extensions/Site Links. A different style of ad copy may see you engage with your audience on a higher degree, which could result in a higher click through rate. You might also want to try and test out a different call to action, instead of trying to convert the users at the first step.
  • Targeting Choices / Bidding Strategy
This is the type of users you wish to target, which can be broken down by Device, Demographics, Geo-Location, Time of Day and Day of the Week etc. You can use a custom bidding strategy on your campaign to help target certain users for who match these criteria’s. Equally, you may chose to decrease the bidding strategy to see how/if it affects the traffic going to your site.
  • Landing Page
Testing different landing pages for the same ad or ad group. You might know exactly what you want your ad to feature and look like, but you have two different landing pages that are both suitable. A/B testing will help you see which landing page delivers the best results.   What are the Benefits of A/B Testing? Your current PPC campaign may be running swimmingly, receiving sufficient click through’s and conversions which keeps your business ticking over. It may be daunting to even consider changing what is an already working formula, which may be enough to put some people off changing something at all. Now we’ve all heard of the well known “if its not broken, don’t fix it” saying. Split testing allows you to experiment between two different variables at a ratio of your choice. While we recommend using a 50/50 split between the experiment and the original, you have the choice to distribute the test any way you like, meaning if it doesn’t perform all that creditably, the damage is very limited. You also set up how long you would like the experiment to be carried out for, with the possibility to end it at the click of the button if you are not satisfied with the current results.   Measuring Effectiveness Possibly one of the most vital steps to effectively conducting a successful A/B test with Google Adwords, is identifying the metrics which will ultimately measure the performance of the experiment. You might see your conversions increase, but is this relative to your increased spend on bid adjustments? A key unit of measurement that should be used in this case, is the Cost per Conversion, as this will help given an understanding if the experiment was more or less cost-effective than the original. Other metrics which should be taken into consideration when analysing the results are: Clicks, Conversions, Conversion Rate and CPC. For more information on understanding Google Adwords metrics, click here. As finalists for ecommerce developer of the year 2017, if you would like any help with your Google Adwords campaign, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly marketing team on: 01604 696 385. Alternatively, you can contact us on: info@star-digital.co.uk.