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”
Proper utilization of hyperlinks is an integral part of a good website design and a major component of an effective search engine optimization plan. After all, the World Wide Web (WWW), in its most basic form, is simply a system of documents interconnected through links.
We are excited to announce the launch of a new “Links Analysis” module, the most recent addition to our website analysis tool. It is not a secret that properly functioning and SEO optimized links are an integral part of a good website. The links module provides users with vast amount of valuable information such as number of links on a webpage and their ratios, types, URL structure and much more.
Here is a quick overview of key data points:
Internal Links: relative – number of internal links with relative URL.
Internal Links: absolute – number of internal links with absolute URL.
External Links: noFollow – number of external links that do not pass page rank
External Links: passing Juice – number of external links passing page rank.
Anchors – Text or Image that is the anchor part of the links.
Count – number of links pointing to the same resource.
Title – shows value of the “TITLE” attribute of a link.
URL Type – static indicates that the URL is SEO and user friendly. Dynamic indicates complex URL with many parameters in the query string.
Length – URL length in characters.
Target – value of the TARGET attribute. If there is no value it is the same as “_self”.
Rel – value of the REL attribute. Usually “noFollow” value is placed here to limit flow of the page rank
We are hoping you will find link analysis addition helpful in reviews. As always we are looking forward to your comments and ideas for further improvements.
How to check for missing resources on the webpage?
The easiest way to check for missing resources on the webpage is to utilize your browser’s developer tools. Most modern browsers come with tool sets that allow to examine network traffic. The common way to access developer tools is to press “F12” button on your keyboard while browsing the webpage. My preferred way to analyze webpage resources is with Firebug which is a developer plugin for Firefox browser.
Why is it important to avoid bad requests?
First noticeable item in the traffic analysis of the page is the size of the 404 No Found responses which are not small in comparison to our tiny test page that is only 277 bytes. Depending on the server and website configuration the size of the error page will vary but it will usually be at least several kilobytes in size as the response usually will consists of headers and text or HTML code with the explanation of the error. If you have a fancy custom 404 error page which is large in size, the difference would be even more dramatic. Removing references to missing resources definitely will decrease bandwidth usage.
In April of 2010, Google announced that they include site speed as one of the signals in their search ranking algorithms. The reasoning behind that decision was rather simple “Faster sites create happy users”. Google, even did some research to back the obvious that users prefer faster websites. For a visitor of a website the speed is no doubt an important factor to the overall user experience, but according to the head of Google’s Webspam team, Matt Cutts, site speed plays only a minuscule role in Google search ranking algorithms and perishes in comparison to relevancy factors:
Google estimates that less than 1 out of 100 queries are impacted by the site speed factor. Nevertheless, a fast website is extremely important in a broader picture. Well optimized web pages preserve server resources, improve user experience and ensure that the website will not be penalized by Google’s page speed check.