Are you looking for someone to handle all of this for you? I will build, optimize, and manage your business's entire web presence: Inbound Marketing, Content Creation, Social Media, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and More!

I got an email alert from Small Business Trends this morning and it was very timely for me. Now, more than ever, Instagram has become a tremendously valuable tool for small businesses. I manage Instagram for most of my clients and I utilize Instagram for myself. You can visit my Instagram and see for yourself how I have set it up…my profile speaks about my business and I link here to my blog in my profile. All the while though, I’m only posting pics related to living in the North Georgia Mountains. It is sort of a disconnect, but my use of Instagram has always been personal and has always been about connecting with others who love North Georgia and mountain living. Nonetheless, Instagram drives traffic and attention to my website and people are very aware of what it is that I offer to the world.

Social media drives over half of my traffic here. And of those social channels, Instagram alone is responsible for HALF of my social media traffic:

Instagram Analytics

My clients enjoy similar results. Several of my small business clients have recognized a very real and tangible increase in revenue from our utilization of Instagram as a marketing channel. So how does this apply to you, how can you get involved and reap the rewards that Instagram as a marketing channel has to offer for your own business? The simple answer is to be there. Have an Instagram account for your business, and use it wisely.

Today I have included the Infographic below for you to have a look at. It is very succinct but it provides a fairly easy to follow summary and explores most of the best practices for small businesses hoping to grow their business using Instagram. I hope that it helps to boost your confidence and it helps you to get started using Instagram for your own business. If you need more information or you want to explore the ways that I might be able to assist you with your marketing efforts, you can always contact me.

 

2018 Instagram for Small Business Infographic

 

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How Long Should Your Meta Description Be?

I am not attempting to be a trend-setter or follow any new “best practices” here today for myself…but I will tell you that today is the first time here or anywhere I have written a meta description 320 characters long. You can take that for what it’s worth, but know that this is more of a personal experiment than anything at this point. I will make reference to it, so here is today’s meta description for this post:

“2018 SEO Update – It’s official, Google confirms that the new meta description character length is 320 characters. Expert opinions and collective data have shown that Google has been experimenting with longer SERP snippets over the past 2 1/2 years. Today I discuss writing better meta descriptions at the longer length.”

CONFIRMED: Google, in a message to Search Engine Land confirms that “We recently made a change to provide more descriptive and useful snippets…This resulted in snippets becoming slightly longer, on average.” Slightly longer Google, really? 320 characters is DOUBLE the 160 we’ve all been using for quite some time now. Also, could this statement be any more vague?

On the one hand, it is rare for Google to actually confirm outright any changes that they make to any part of their practices, algorithms, or pretty much anything else that they do. On the other hand, it’s a rare nicety to have a concrete statement from the search giant. As for an “official” recommendation from Google on how we are all supposed to adapt to this lengthening of the snippets the world sees in SERPs…for this we will simply have to wait.

Search Engine Roundtable has written a nice post on the topic, and there is more corroboration and a discussion on Twitter that you may want to have a look at. The appearance of longer snippets is seemingly a more “dynamic process” than a set standard and this should be understood at this early point in the game. This means that there is no definitive reason or rhyme for rewriting all of your old meta descriptions. Going forward though, I for one will be using longer meta descriptions (like today) when it is prudent to do so and with the hope for better ranking in the SERPs.

Go ahead and Tweet that, but let’s think about this for a second. Google’s “dynamic process” is extracting snippets from the content on your site that’s most relevant (according to their algorithm) to the searcher’s query. Sometimes they are pulling the available meta description only, sometimes they truncate and/or pull from the page’s content, sometimes there seems to be a blend happening. One thing is for sure, they are showing snippets that are up to 320 characters long, but nobody writes their meta descriptions at that length.

Here’s my bottom-line gut feeling about all of this and my advice on how to proceed:

  • Don’t go back and rewrite all of your old meta descriptions. Google is already displaying longer snippets from your old content if you are ranking and showing up in SERPs. So in this new “dynamic process”, you are already winning and there is no need for action on your part.
  • Do write longer meta descriptions if there is a need to. I don’t want you to think that this is an opportunity to stuff more keywords into your descriptions though. Google is smarter than that. But if a longer description can offer more relevant information and better describe what your page/post/product is about, then type away! Don’t give it all away in the description and make sure that you word your description in a way that will compel or encourage searchers to click through to your site.
  • Write better content. This almost goes without saying if you are aware of Google’s algorithm updates (< you might want to print this resource) and you now understand that their longer SERP snippets are likely to pull from your page’s content.

I will be studying and watching closely in the coming weeks and months. I will update this post with any new information and recommendations as they become available.

UPDATE 12/28/17:

Well, I just did a search for “Google allows 320 character meta descriptions” and this post showed up in the third spot. Not bad for only 18 hours after posting! My meta description (shown at the top of this post) is NOT what they decided to show in the snippet at all, See screen-grab below. Looks like the “dynamic process” decided to pull 299 characters from my first paragraph of copy instead. Just an observation at this point but I wanted to share.

Google 300 character description

UPDATE 1/4/18:

Now I am in the number 8 spot on page one and they ARE using my meta description as written in the snippet:

So it would seem that this dynamic process is extremely dynamic and that once Google pulls a snippet, be it from the page’s content or the actual meta description that you write…what they decide to use and display can change over time and/or according to factors that are not clear at this point.

So that’s it, there you have all the news you need about this update…or rather “confirmation” from Google about longer SERP snippets and meta descriptions. I hope you found some value here today!

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More Than 12 New Things Google Wants To Tell You About SEO

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Last week Google updated it’s “Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide” (Link to the new guide below) for the first time in 7 years…SEVEN YEARS! The guide has been the most relied upon resource on the web for anyone interested in optimizing their website to perform better in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Is […]

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So You Want To Rank On Google…Page One You Say?

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I wanted to share this infographic with you today that I found on the CJG Digital Marketing blog. I still say, that even after all of this time, and with all that has advanced in technology and the smartest search engine algorithms ever…that you MUST create content if your SEO and your ranking on Search Engine […]

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Reach Out And Aggravate EVERYBODY That You Know…Just This Once

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You’ve heard that email marketing works. In all likelihood, you yourself have purchased products or services as a direct result of email marketing. You’ve probably had that “Subscribe To My Newsletter” form on your site for years…and you have probably collected half a dozen email addresses. Sound about right? You are not alone. I cannot count how […]

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2017 Digital Marketing Trends and Statistics – Internet, Mobile, and Social Media Usage

2017 Digital Marketing Trends

This year, as in years past, We Are Social collaborated with Hootsuite to deliver their annual report on digital trends by highlighting the internet itself, mobile usage/global adoption, and the use of social media. While some of the statistics are quite predictable, some of the numbers are alarming. For example, consider the implications, especially if you are into digital marketing, that mobile […]

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Happy 4th of July

Wishing you all a safe and happy 4th of July! “I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end […]

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I’ll Be On A Panel At Atlanta Tech Village Today, 6/23/14

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My friend Jacqui Chew from iFUSION  asked me to sit on a panel a while back, and I happily accepted. Jacqui is a phenomenal mind and a respected fixture in the Atlanta startup culture…and I’m always happy to help out a friend. The panel will be myself, Stacy Williams, CEO of Prominent Placement, and Matt Konigsmark, Vice President […]

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An Informative Digital Marketing Road-Map Infographic

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Digital marketing wasn’t always so complicated. Simply having a website used to be considered enough…and if you ever hired someone to optimize (SEO) your website AND you were actually involved with social media at all, well then you were WAY ahead of the curve! Not so much these days, as I’m sure you are aware. […]

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Kevin Ekmark of TrustWorkz…Driving Me To Drink.

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I do NOT like single malt scotch…and you know this Kevin. I will raise a toast of the vile stuff to congratulate you on becoming CEO at TrustWorkz® though! I am very proud of you old friend, and there is simply not a better man alive for the job. I have wondered since my resignation what […]

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