In early December 2017, Google started displaying longer description snippets on Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) for certain search queries. Length of the description snippet seems to doubled from 160 to 320 characters. Description snippet is a short block of text that shows under each result link that is derived from a description meta tag on a page or in some cases auto-generated based on page content.
There is no official character limit on description meta tag but until recently all major search engines were limiting their description snippets up to 150 – 160 characters. Although Google announced in 2009 that “description” meta tag is not utilized in ranking algorithms having a short, informative and to the point, meta description that does not “cut off” mid-sentence on SERP can result in an increase of click-through rates.
Google recommends that in general, you should not need to modify meta descriptions on your pages. During “English Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout”, Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller provided a little more feedback:
Few things to consider:
Google often experiments with snippet length and the limit can change again.
Test search queries from google search console and review on SERP. If you prefer different (longer) description, go for it.
It is not guaranteed that your description will be shown on SERP. Google sometimes displays its own version of description snippet based on how well the query matches the content on the page.
Other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, DuckDuckGo, etc. currently limit their description snippets to approximately 160 characters.
As a result of this change, our Description Meta Tag Checker tool will now warn users if the page description is longer than 320 instead 160 characters.
On July 25th Adobe announced that Flash will reach its end-of-life by the end of 2020 effectively stopping development, support and distribution of Flash Player.
Why is this happening?
In the late nineties and early two thousands Adobe Flash (then Macromedia Flash) gained immense popularity. It provided means of creating very rich internet applications and games. It was also the main way of embedding video and audio content on the webpages. Unfortunately, since its very beginnings flash was riddled with issues which over time contributed to its demise:
Accessibility – It causes huge problems for screen readers. It also made it difficult to adjust text zoom levels for better readability.
SEO – Content implemented using Flash would often not get indexed without alternative text. This method was very limiting for the on-page optimization.
Security – Adobe Flash has been struggling with security issues. Over the years various security experts and research recommended against installing Flash. Large companies such Facebook and Apple warned against using flash all together. Finally, major browsers blocked earlier versions of Flash player.
Usability – Users include Flash on web pages using object embedding but when this option is blocked by a browser it can break page layout and functionality. Flash requires plugin download and installation. Furthermore Flash does not work well with responsive design. Finally, it is not mobile friendly as it lacks support on certain mobile devices for example Apple iPhone and iPad.
Privacy – Flash uses local shared object (flash cookies) to save application data. Although this data is not shared across domains, it is stored locally on the device. Privacy policies were often limited in disclosing this.
All these factors greatly contributed to the development of alternative technologies and the overall decline of Adobe Flash popularity. Google reports that current usage of Flash among Chrome browser users is down to 17% and it is of course expected to continue declining.
Source: The Chromium Projects (chromium.org)
Does it affect me?
If your website utilizes Adobe Flash player in any form then yes, it does. If you are not sure, you can use our Adobe Flash Test Tool to check if your website has any Flash elements.
What are the alternatives?
Over the years, new open standards were developed to compete with Flash. One such standard was HTML5 which is now natively supported by all modern browsers and it does not require download and installation of external plugins. It is now extremely easy to embed media to webpages. Here is an example that embeds “example-movie” in mp4 format using “video” tag:
<video width="640" height="480" controls>
<source src="example-movie.mp4" type="video/mp4">
Your browser does not support the video tag.
Additionally, using HTML5 standards together with open source Java APIs for 2D and 3D rendering like WebGL developers can create games and applications accessible via browser.
The future of rich internet applications is bright and full of possibilities. Adobe Flash has arguably played an important role in web development and content creation but it is now time for it to slowly sail off into the sunset.
With DMOZ an Open Directory project closed as of March 17, 2017, Google no longer uses their listings as one of the options for generating search snippets. With that in mind, good meta description is even more important. So here are a few pointers on how to make a good meta description:
Don’t forget about it, without it google has no choice but to use portions of page content for their search snippet.
Keep it short. Although there is no actual limit on how long the meta description can be, meta description exceeding on average 160 characters will be truncated.
Make it unique. Do not use the same meta description across multiple pages. Each page on your website should be unique and so should the meta description.
Stay on topic. Good meta description can increase click through rates so make it informative and to the point.
Note that with Google’s new mobile-first indexing the same principles apply for mobile pages. If you have a separate mobile site, make sure that the meta description is correctly included on all mobile pages.
Google still reserves the right to choose between page content and meta description for their search snippet generation. The one thing you can do is to specify nosnippet robot directive to prevent snippet generation all together. For more details on search snippets see latest post by Gary Illyes titled “Better Snippets for your Users”
Google is introducing a new Mobile-first Indexing. This change supposed to address an issue where the desktop and mobile versions of a page vary in content and markup. Up until now, when users search on Google using a phone or any mobile device the ranking system would most likely utilize desktop version of a page’s content. With this new indexing this should no longer be the case.
While so far this is a limited and experimental change in indexing, it is a big development and Google urges users whose websites are not responsive or dynamic serving and where content and markup varies between mobile and desktop version to consider following:
Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version. Sites can verify the equivalence of their structured markup across desktop and mobile by typing the URLs of both versions into the Structured Data Testing Tool and comparing the output. When adding structured data to a mobile site, avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to the specific information content of each document.
Email addresses that are publicly posted on the webpages in plain text, will very quickly be collected by spam bots and used to send unsolicited emails. To stop or at least make it more difficult for bulk emailers to collect publicly accessible emails, we can utilize some email obfuscation techniques. Protecting publicly displayed email addresses by obfuscating them, can not only cut down on spam but is also considered a courteous gesture.
There are several techniques at your disposal to obfuscate or in other words hide email addresses that are posted on publicly accessible webpages from spam bots.
It is important to know if your website’s IP is blacklisted by spammer directory. Spammer directories provide lists of IPs from which spam distribution is reported. Emails sent from the blocked IPs are subject to closer scrutiny and are much less likely to be delivered.
One important factor to understand is that your server does not have to send spam in order for your IP to get blacklisted. Many websites are hosted on a single IP with shared hosting accounts. If one domain on shared IP is reported as distributing spam all other websites on the same IP are affected.
The website analysis & SEO tool for Chrome browser provides a handy extension for users to run iwebchk reports.
When installed, the iwebchk icon button will be added to the Google Chrome toolbar.
When clicked it will initiate a comprehensive review in SEO, performance, validity, security, accessibility, social media, backlinks, visitors, technologies and usability, of any website that is currently being viewed by the user.
We are happy to announce a new addition to our reports, a priority check list. All new reports will now include a priority list on top of the report, which will help in prioritizing work needed to be done for each analyzed website.
The public reports will include 3 important tasks that are needed to be fixed, while our subscribed users will be able to review a full list of tasks ordered by their importance and impact on SEO. See sample list below:
We are hoping this new functionality will be useful to all our users.
Our users, who would like to initiate a website SEO review directly from their webpages, can now do so by embedding our iwebchk bar. Just copy and paste following code into your website or a blog:
<p style="margin:0px;padding:0px;line-height:1em;"><iframe style="margin: 0px;" src="https://iwebchk.com/tools/reviewbar" height="42" width="100%" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">Inline frames (iframes) are not supported by your browser. Please visit iwebchk.com to review your website</iframe></p><p style="text-align: left;margin: 0;margin-left: 17px;padding: 0;font-family: Arial, sans-serif;color: #ccc;font-size: 10px;"><a style="color: #ccc;text-decoration: underline;" title="Website SEO Analysis by iwebchk" href="https://iwebchk.com" target="_blank">Website SEO Analysis</a> by iwebchk</p>
After the code has been properly embedded on a webpage the iwebchk bar should look and work like this:
In order for the iwebchk bar to work the browser must support and allow html iframe elements. All modern browsers support iframes but in the rare case there is no iframe support following message will be displayed instead:
“Inline frames (iframes) are not supported by your browser. Please visit iwebchk.com to review your website.”
We are hoping that this new addition to our tools will be helpful to our users.