Don’t freak out or anything, but summer is almost over. It’s already August, which means you only have a few more weeks to squeeze in that camping trip or day at the beach you keep putting off. I mean, have you even hit up a roadside stand to grab some in-season corn, bro? Before you know it, you’ll be back to your regular fall routine of picking apples, watching football and getting psyched up about all the new television pilots.
Look, it’s best not to think too much about the fact that the next Pierogi Fest is still 12 months away.
But if you need some cheering up – or just want to distract yourself from the thought of another summer passing you by – we’ve got just the ticket: Brafton’s patented (citation needed) Content Marketing Weekly. We’ve got updates on everything from local SEO to URLs and even some hot takes from the man himself, Rand Fishkin.
Google rarely gives digital marketers a glimpse at how the search ranking sausage is made, so when someone from company actually speaks up about their process, it’s a good idea to listen.
In this case, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller answered the age-old question, “does URL length really matter?” During a Google Webmaster Central hangout, Mueller cautioned participants against making URLs too long, advising them to keep the length under 1,000 characters.
It’s important to note, as Mueller did, that it is highly unlikely that you would ever find yourself with a URL that long, but it’s good to know there are limits to which URLs Google can crawl. This is also a good reminder that no matter how minute a detail you might think some aspect of your website is, there’s a good chance it affects your site performance or search ranking in some fashion.
Citations have been an important ranking factor in local SEO for a long time, but some believe this criteria is starting to lose relevance. Without any clear consensus on just how effective all of those mentions in business listings, social media and third-party websites actually are to companies, determining how much time, energy and money you should sink into local citations can be tough.
Over at Search Engine Land, Greg Sterling has rounded up opinions of relative worth of local citations from some of the leading minds in digital marketing. If there is any kind of consensus to be found here, it’s that citations were, at one time, extremely important to local SEO. As for today? Well, as famous late ‘80s philosopher/bouncer Dalton would say, opinions vary.
Moz’s Miriam Ellis is still pretty bullish about citations, arguing that if your goal as a local business is to own as much SERP real estate as possible for location-based keywords and queries, citations are a no-brainer. At the same time, she noted that there really hasn’t been a thorough analysis of local citation effectiveness to deliver conclusive answers.
Meanwhile, Sterling Sky’s Joy Hawkins doesn’t see much of any value in local citations, explaining that her agency rarely devotes time to that kind of strategy except for cases where a client had just moved locations.
Every respondent had a pretty nuanced view on the subject, so if you’re looking for hard answers, you’re best bet is to check out the full story.
Google: marketing friend or foe? Digital marketers often have an uneasy relationship with the tech giant, from the constant algorithm updates that threaten to undo years of strategy building to ongoing SERP changes that limit opportunities for businesses to grab more visibility.
Leave it to digital marketing guru Rand Fishkin to have some ghost pepper-level spicy takes on Google and its often self-serving practices. Speaking with Search Engine Land editor Barry Schwartz, Fishkin criticized the company’s ongoing changes to SERP layouts and repeated instances of riling up the marketing community with search ranking updates that decentivize content producers.
He also had some choice words for Sundar Picahi and other Google employees who have gone before congress recently to answer questions about the search engine. Specifically, Fishkin took exception to the sometimes intentionally vague answers given that seemed like a transparent attempt to dodge the question rather than give a direct response.
For his part, Schwartz noted that Google has been pretty upfront about the fact that it cares more about the user than all of the businesses out there jostling for search position. That’s not news, exactly – at least it shouldn’t be – but it’s always a good reminder that Google is in the search engine business for itself. The company will continue to make decisions that improve its standing as the premier search engine in the world, which means improving the user experience. Those updates won’t necessarily help marketers – in a lot of cases, they’ll make your job harder – but you have to roll with the punches as long as Google is top dog.
And with that, we close the books on another edition of the Content Marketing Weekly. Be sure to check in again soon for our next round of digital marketing news, updates and tips.