This week: Google offers tighter integration between two great tools, strengthens the mobile-friendly ranking signal, and extends the length of titles and descriptions in the SERPs.
Here’s what happened this week in SEO.
Google Strengthens Mobile-Friendly Ranking Signal
Last March, Google announced that it would strengthen its mobile-friendly ranking signal. The search giant did that this week.
What does it mean for webmasters? It shouldn’t mean much, really. If you’ve implemented a responsive design for your website, you shouldn’t notice any differences. However, if you’re still using older code that doesn’t look great on a smartphone or tablet, then your site might not rank very well for mobile searches.
Google Extends Titles and Descriptions in the SERPs
Good news if you’re tired of Google cutting off your long titles in the search engine results pages (SERPs). This week, Google extended the allotted length of both titles and descriptions.
Titles are now up to 70-71 characters. That’s an increase from the usual 50-60 characters. The additional length should allow webmasters to squeeze in an extra word or two.
Long title tags being tested again in the SERPs. Seeing 69 and 70 character results today. pic.twitter.com/esiKTctV96
— Ross Hudgens (@RossHudgens) May 6, 2016
Descriptions in meta tags have been increased by 100 characters per line. They’ve also been extended from two to three lines. You can expect to see descriptions that display as many as 160-278 characters per line.
Bottom line here: Google is making more information available in the SERPs. That should improve click-through-rates (CTRs).
Google Bans Payday Loans
It’s been widely reported this week that Google banned payday loans from the AdWords network. Specifically, the company is banning ads that advertise loans due in less than 60 days and ads for loans with high APRs.
The maximum APR allowed is 36%.
Google released this statement with the announcement of the new policy:
When reviewing our policies, research has shown that these loans can result in unaffordable payment and high default rates for users so we will be updating our policies globally to reflect that.
The change is expected to cost Google millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Local News Sources Are Now Featured in Google News
This week, Google launched a local news tag to give local news sources an opportunity to surface to the top of news searches.
The new tag, called “Local Source” appears across all editions of Google News. According to Search Engine Journal: “Locally sourced articles are identified by looking about where the story has been written about in the past, and comparing it to the national news edition.”
The newly tagged articles will be visible in the expanded story box on Google News. They’ll also be available in the Google News & Weather apps.
Google Search Console Metrics Now a More Integral Part of Google Analytics
This week, Google announced that the Google Search Console metrics are now more tightly integrated with Google Analytics.
If you look at the Acquisition tab in Google Analytics, you should see a new section named “Search Console.” That replaces the “Search Engine Optimization” item and displays metrics from the Search Console.
Now you can see acquisition, conversion metrics, and behavior for your organic search traffic directly in Google Analytics. Previously, you were only able to see the acquisition data.
There are four sections to the new Search Console section: Landing Pages, Devices, Queries, and Countries.
The new features are still rolling out, so if you don’t see them yet in Google Analytics, keep checking over the next several weeks.
Bing Tests Tweets in Search Results
The other search engine, Bing, confirmed this week that it’s testing a new feature that displays tweets in search results.
Bing uses a carousel box to show the tweets, mimicking what Google does in its own search results. The carousel gives users an opportunity to scroll through tweets to see if any of them are relevant to their search term.
According to a Microsoft spokesperson: “We’re constantly updating and refining the Bing search experience. We’ll share more information when available.”
Google Adds Impression Charts to the Ad Review Center
If you’re a publisher who’s thinking about blocking an ad, Google is offering a new tool to help make that decision easier.
The Ad Review center in Google AdSense will now include impression charts. They’ll show publishers how many impressions an ad has received.
Here’s what Google has to say about the new feature:
Based on feedback from our publishers, we’ve replaced the previous interface with an impression chart that shows the absolute number of impressions and its distribution over time. When you’re considering blocking an ad, the impression chart can help you make a more informed decision by highlighting the potential revenue impact it may have.