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Google My Business Changes Post Limit to 1,500 Characters by @MattGSouthern

Google has changed the length of posts published via Google My Business to 1,500 characters.
Previously, the length of Google My Business posts was based on words, not characters.
Google used to require a minimum of 100 words per post, up to a maximum of 300 words.
Now there is apparently no minimum length for Google My Business posts.

NEW: GMB Posts now can have 1,500 characters in content length.
Spotted by Scott Rollins on @LocalSearchLink https://t.co/[email protected] @JoyanneHawkins #localseo #marketing pic.twitter.com/GmYFpn1aGe
— Ben Fisher (@TheSocialDude) September 26, 2018

In most cases, users will find that the maximum length for posts has been shortened, as 1,500 characters are approximately the equivalent of 250 words.
Of course, that will vary depending on the size of words an individual uses.
I believe users will be hard pressed to stretch 1,500 characters into 300 words or more.
That means users who previously wrote posts that met the 300-word limit will now have to get used to writing shorter posts.
Although that may be a good thing because 300 words would make for a fairly sizable post on a platform like Google My Business.
When users visit a GMB page they’re looking for short bursts of information that they can absorb quickly.
It’s not a place where people go to read articles. That’s what a website is for.
Not to mention one of the key benefits of GMB posts is that they show up in Maps and search results. So being succinct is key in order to grab people’s attention.
The length of a tweet or Facebook post is closer to the ideal length of a post on Google My Business.
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Google Reportedly Extends the Length of Page Titles in Search Results by @MattGSouthern

Google appears to have extended the length of titles in search results snippets, according to a recent report.
RankRanger‘s tracking tools show the average length of page titles in search results has increased from 55 characters to 83 characters on average (at the time of this writing).
Here is RankRanger’s original tweet from earlier in the week, although the average length of page titles has increased even further since then.

Seeing noticeable increases (circa 20%) in the average length of a result’s title on desktop in multiple markets: https://t.co/XGjHJRMXfH #SEO pic.twitter.com/DX8Lylaare
— Rank Ranger (@RankRanger) September 26, 2018

As you can see in the graph below, this is an increase that occurred gradually throughout the month, before spiking on September 29th.

Given that this increase has been sustained over the past two weeks, it may indicate it’s not just a temporary change.
However, Google extended the length of meta descriptions last December only to reduce the length months later.
So only time will tell if Google decides to keep this extended length.
In the meantime, should SEOs and site owners update their title tags?
To answer that question, I would say absolutely not. At least not yet.
It’s too early to act on this reported increase in the length of page titles.
Moreover, Google has yet to officially acknowledge the change and/or provide any sort of direction.
When Google extended the length of meta descriptions last year it firmly advised site owners against making sitewide updates.
Why? Because search snippets may be dynamically generated according to users’ queries.
So Google could use exactly what’s written in the meta tags.
In other cases, Google could pull other text from the page in order to make it appear more relevant to what the individual user is searching for.
With that said, it’s not worth the effort to go and rewrite everything. Google will ultimately display what it wants as a search snippet.

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Google Birthday Update: Google Confirms Small Algorithm Update On September 27th

On Friday we reported on a possible Google update that touched down on September 27th. Google’s Danny Sullivan confirmed on Saturday on August 1st, aka the Medic Update. I posted this news last night at SEL.
Here is Danny’s confirmation for us:

Our core algorithm is updated all the time. For major updates, we’ll continue to share about those on @searchliaison, as we have been. We haven’t had a major update of that nature, but we did have a smaller one this week.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) September 29, 2018
Since Google’s birthday is on September 27th, this one is simple to name – we can call it the Google Birthday Update.
Danny said “We haven’t had a major update of that nature, but we did have a smaller one this week.”
Smaller Update?
I keep seeing people say that this didn’t feel small. Well, no. If you were impacted by the update, I am sure it felt big. But when Google says “smaller” they mean it didn’t impact as many web sites as previous updates. So if a site was impacted, yes, it felt big. But like I even said on Friday before Google confirmed the update, the update seemed much smaller in terms of the chatter and those impacted than the August 1st update. And here is Google saying that is true – this impact did not impact as many sites as previous updates.
Some are still feeling this was a tweak, maybe a big tweak, to the Medic Update. But only Google knows that for sure.
Here are some graph with people commenting on the “small” comment:

More examples of the “small update” we saw starting on 9/26. 🙂 Not so small for the sites impacted. Again, seeing impact across verticals, including health/medical (some big swings there), ecommerce, games, how-to, entertainment, coupons, and more. pic.twitter.com/wc41FjxqFW
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) September 30, 2018

Up early analyzing the 9/27 update (which looks like it started rolling out on 9/26 actually). Sistrix’s daily visibility reporting now shows the past several days. Again, this looks like a significant update so far. My spreadsheet of sites impacted is growing. pic.twitter.com/ccrFgsukQy
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) September 29, 2018

Also worth noting, I’m seeing some sites reverse from the August 1 update (Medic), but others either surge more or drop more during this update. So it’s definitely not some type of straight reversal from 8/1. pic.twitter.com/Uq7wtq0COn
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) September 28, 2018

Small? pic.twitter.com/w5DwaCs4MW
— Naman Nepal (@bloggermonk) September 29, 2018

All these “major” and “smaller” algorithm updates have sent my site on a bigger Google rollercoaster ride over the last month or so 🤷‍♂️
— Marko Saric (@MarkoSaric) September 30, 2018

I have almost 20 client sites that have been on that roller coaster. Roughly 35 others are holding steady not impacted with any changes, and 10 that saw growth/corrections after the Aug 1 rollout. It’s been a whirlwind few months :/
— Rob May (@robinlmay) September 30, 2018

I know G likes to say small is like 2% of queries affected but when sites gain or lose 35+% of organic traffic, I’m not sure small is the correct adjective. Out of curiosity, do you have any content anywhere about how your views have changed since you went behind the curtain?
— Kurt Leitinger (@KurtLeitinger) September 30, 2018

“Small” 😂
— SEOwner (@tehseowner) September 29, 2018

Looks like our traffic took a dive again.And we are still getting beat by people stealing our articles.
— How-To Geek (@howtogeek) September 30, 2018
Tracking Tools
So Mozcast and many others still show very little to no fluctuations, and even the ones showing fluctuations don’t show crazy activity. Here are some of the ones that show activity and fluctuations:
Accuranker:

RankRanger:

SERPMetrics:

SEMRush:

Community Chatter
In any event – the weekend chatter is ongoing on – but it is the weekend still. The WebmasterWorld and Black Hat World threads are saying this:

I’ve been hit also on 27. Lost 30% of my usual traffic.

We detected a 15% drop on our organic traffic since 27th, September. And we didn’t benefit much in August. Going to cry. : (

from September 27th the decrease is 30%, it’s not finished, there’s still movement on accuranker, for me, accuranker is the most accurate for my website.

new update come ? i lost every day 500-600 visitor

I have literally hundreds of changes everytime I am updating Serpbook. From #40 to #2 from 3# to 15# etc. it is constantly changing. I am really wondering when things are going to settle down. This is only for a specific niche tho. Some other niches ranking are steady af.

Anyone seeing massive flux today as well? Health niche. Another keyword that was #1 on 1st of august took a dive to page2 today. Additional 9 tracked keywords today dropped out of top100 completely. Some other keywords are still “holding on to” the first page so not all is lost… If this trends continue it’s going to be a disaster. Fluxing from page 1 to page 10? Dropping keywords out of top 100? It seems like a penalty, not a rank change. How wrong can the algo be to have the site in page 1 for 1 year and then drop it out of top100 (seems like a permanent deranking too, as the keywords did not reappear in top100 ever since)?? We all know what kind of sites sit on page 10. So it is a penalty, it seems, and I don’t take google statement “it’s not a penalty, it’s that now we rank sites that were under-ranked before better”. Really, results on page 10 are better? What a joke.

One of my main money sites, which lost about 50% traffic with the Aug 1 update, got a nice bump yesterday and today. Let´s see, how it pans out…

Medic Update Tweaks & Reversals?
Again, I am seeing a lot of chatter on social media and in the SEO communities suggesting this was a reversal or tweak to the Medic Update. It is possible, but I see people complaining that sites that were not impacted by the Medic Update was impacted by this one. I am seeing sites complain that they were hurt by both the Medic Update and this September 27th (Google Birthday Update). I am seeing some say their sites recovered from the Medic Update with the Google Birthday Update.
So anything is possible.
Ongoing coverage
So I am going offline tonight and will be back online Tuesday night. I decided to post this story on Sunday and I’ll let it sit out there for a couple days. If there is enough interest, I can do another survey on Wednesday and then collect the data, do an analysis and let you know what I found. But like I said above, it does seem like a smaller update, as Google said. It impacted fewer sites, but the sites it did impact, it impacted hard.
So let me know in the comments what you’d like me to do here.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Black Hat World.

Top 5 Essential SEO Reporting Tools for Agencies by @SEOBrock

A quality SEO reporting tool is a necessary investment for any digital agency, large or small.
For one, clients are going to want to see evidence of progress. It’s a whole lot easier to have an automated report with all important key performance indicators (KPIs) delivered on a scheduled basis, rather than manually assembling and cross-referencing data points at the last minute.
Additionally, good SEO reporting software will give you the information you need to flag action items, see the results of experiments, and ultimately run a successful SEO campaign.
There are hundreds of SEO reporting tools on the market, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
Agency Analytics, SEMrush, Moz, Google Data Studio, Authority Labs, and SE Ranking are just a handful of the resources available to agencies.
Similar to the adage in real estate – pick any two of location, price, or size – as an agency you must weigh the balance of price, features, and ease of use.
For instance Google Data Studio is free and comes jam-packed with rare features like database integration, but there is a steep learning curve.
SEMrush is always adding new features and is relatively easy to use, but it will cost a pretty penny, especially for larger agencies.
What to Look for in SEO Reporting Tools
With so many SEO reporting tools out there, how can you be sure you’re choosing the right software for your agency?
Here are are 13 essential requirements of SEO reporting tools.
1. Accurate & Current Regional Data
SEO reporting is all about data, so it’s important that the software have access to accurate and current data localized to your client’s targeted region.
Search data from the U.S. is meaningless if your client is trying to rank for London plumbing services, so localization matters.
Data must be updated reliably so you can make informed decisions about where your client stands against the competition.
2. Integration with Third-Party Tools
Especially for full-scale digital marketing campaigns, the ability to report on all KPIs in one place is essential.
The more available integrations with third-party tools (e.g., Google Analytics, Google My Business, Majestic), the better.
Some tools even allow you to upload custom data sets.
3. Scalability
You don’t want to have to retrain on or reinvest in new software every time your agency reaches a new tier.
The right SEO reporting tool should work just as well whether you have one client or 200.
4. Strong Suite of Features
A great SEO reporting tool should include:
Position tracking.
Backlink monitoring.
Competitor data.
Analytics.
It is a bonus if the tool has reporting features for social media, email marketing, call tracking, and/or paid ads to make it a full-suite digital marketing software.
5. Continually Improving & Updating Features
SEO is constantly evolving. So should SEO reporting tools.
As we continue the transition from website optimization to web presence optimization, the ability of reporting tools to integrate new features is essential.
6. Ability to Customize Reports
Each client will have different KPIs, objectives, and priorities.
Reflecting this in reporting is paramount to client retention.
Your reporting software of choice should be able to emphasize the right data at the right times.
7. Client Integration
A good SEO reporting tool must have the client in mind.
It should have a simple bird’s eye overview of the basics, but also be easy for clients to dig into the data at a deeper level.
This can mean automated summary reports or 24/7 client access to the dashboard.
8. Ability to White Label Reports
While white-labeling is not essential (no client will sniff at receiving a report with a Google logo in the top corner), it helps keep branding consistent and gives a professional sheen to everything you send a client’s way.
9. Access to Support Resources
When you encounter a roadblock, quality support resources can help you find a detour.
Whether it’s detailed support documentation, a chat feature/support desk, or responsive customer support on social media, finding the help you need to solve the issue is important.
10. Cost-to-Value Ratio
With a proper process, time investment, and leveraging support resources, it is entirely possible to get better results out of a free reporting tool than one that breaks the bank.
No matter what, though, you want to keep costs reasonable.
The last thing you want is a reporting software that causes hesitation in expanding your staff or client base due to the associated cost.
11. Ability to Export Reports
Even if clients are given unrestricted access to the dashboard, you want reporting that is even more accessible.
The ability to export all data via PDF, CSV, XLS, or email is important.
12. Automation
With the ability to automatically send reports on a recurring basis, you can save time and money and dedicate those resources elsewhere.
13. Ease of Use
There is value in intermediate and advanced reporting tools that might take longer to learn but facilitate more complex analysis.
In general, however, the ability to quickly get new users up to speed is important, whether they are clients or staff.
Top SEO Reporting Tools
In evaluating five of the most popular SEO reporting tools, based on the above criteria, here is how they stack up:

In considering all requirements, Agency Analytics stands as the best value in my opinion, followed by SE Ranking, SEMrush, Google Data Studio, and Authority Labs.
1. Agency Analytics
My Overall Rating: 4.7/5

Agency Analytics is a quality introductory/intermediate reporting tool for agencies. Among the tools on this list, it is one of the most cost-effective and easy to use for small to mid-sized agencies.
It starts at $49 per month with unlimited staff and client logins, a white-label dashboard, and automated branded reports. You can also purchase additional campaign and keyword credits if you hit the default cap.
Agency Analytics comes with 30+ third-party data integration, from the basics like keyword rankings and Google Search Console to integrations with call tracking software, email marketing software, and more.
However, this reliance on third-party data means if there is an interruption in the transmission, you may have incomplete reports.
Though new integrations are always being added, they can be glitchy at first which makes them unreliable to share with clients until stabilized.
With the ability for clients to log in and view daily data updates, it provides real-time transparency.
Automated reports can be customized, and the drag-and-drop customized dashboard makes it easy to emphasize priority KPIs.
2. SE Ranking
My Overall Rating: 4.5/5

The most cost-effective of the tools on this list, SE Ranking has plans starting at just $7 per month – though the minimum of $39 per month plan is necessary for agencies monitoring multiple websites.
Setup is a breeze, as the on-screen tutorial guides you through the process.
SE Ranking features a strong collection of SEO-related tools, including current and historical position tracking, competitor SEO research, keyword suggestion tool, backlink explorer, and more.
SE Ranking is hooked up with Zapier, which allows users to integrate more than 1,000 apps and provide a high level of automation between apps like Klipfolio, Salesforce, HubSpot, and Google Apps.
At a beginner to intermediate level, SE Ranking is an effective SEO reporting tool.
You may want to look in a different direction if your agency requires more technical implementations or advanced customization.
3. SEMrush
My Overall Rating: 4.4/5

SEMrush is one of the most SEO-focused reporting tools on the list, which is reflected in their features. Starting at $99 per month per user, SEMrush provides a full suite of tools that can be learned at an intermediate level.
A major downside of SEMrush, especially for cost-conscious agencies, is that an account comes with only one user login.
Having to purchase individual licenses for each SEO analyst or account manager adds up quickly and everything but the business license caps out at three users per account. This makes scalability an issue.
SEMrush has both branded and white label reports, depending on your subscription level. It uses a proprietary data stream, tracking more than 800 million keywords.
The ever-expanding “projects” feature covers everything from position tracking to backlink monitoring and social media analysis.
Though it doesn’t fall specifically under the scope of SEO reporting, SEMrush’s innovation makes it a one-stop shop for many agencies.
Project features include Ad Builder, which helps craft compelling ad text for Google Ads, to Social Media Poster which allows agencies to schedule client social posts.
Combining such diverse features under the SEMrush umbrella offsets its relatively high cost, especially if you can cancel other redundant software.
4. Google Data Studio
My Overall Rating: 3.6/5

Currently in beta, Google Data Studio is one of the newest offerings from the Mountain View megacorp.
Though it is much more technical and requires more time investment to set up than most other tools on this list, it should be intuitive for staff who are familiar with Google Analytics.
If you’re on the fence, GDS is completely free.
A major upside to GDS is superior integration with other Google properties like Analytics, Search Console, Ads, and YouTube.
Like other reporting tools, it also allows third-party data integration, but the ability to query data from databases included MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Google’s Cloud SQL sets it apart.
With proper setup, you can customize reports with important KPIs, pulling from lead information and customer information. For ecommerce clients, you can even integrate sales data.
Though initial setup will be much more technical, the ability to import templates saves time and effort.
You can also create your templates, which better reflect your processes and can be shared across clients. Google also has introductory video walk-throughs to help you get started.
5. Authority Labs
My Overall Rating: 3.2/5

If you’re looking for a straightforward position tracking tool, Authority Labs gets the job done.
Authority Labs is $49 per month for unlimited users, though for white label reporting you will need to upgrade to the $99 per month plan.
You can track regional ranking data, get insights into “(not provided)” keywords, track competitor keywords, and scheduled automated reporting.
However, the lack of other essential features like backlink monitoring or analytic data means you will have to supplement this tool to provide a full SEO reporting picture for clients.
Conclusion
There are many quality SEO reporting tools on the market.
SE Ranking has fantastic cost to value ratio, while Google Data Studio has advanced reporting capabilities if you can withstand a higher barrier to entry.
Agency Analytics prioritizes client access, which is a big deal if transparency is a core value for your agency.
Authority Labs keeps it lean and clean, while SEMrush is always adding innovative features.
Consider what matters most to your agency. Is it:
Feature depth?
Scalability?
Cost-to-value ratio?
Once you weigh the factors that matter most for your agency, you can find the right SEO reporting tool.
Image CreditsAll screenshots taken by author, February 2018

Google Confirms An Algorithm Update Occurred This Week by @MattGSouthern

Google’s Danny Sullivan has confirmed that an algorithm update occurred this week.

“Our core algorithm is updated all the time. For major updates, we’ll continue to share about those on @searchliaison, as we have been. We haven’t had a major update of that nature, but we did have a smaller one this week.”

According to Sullivan, it’s a “smaller” algorithm update. However, it’s large enough for SEOs to have picked up on it.
Many within the community are reporting the update has made a noticeable difference in website traffic.
SEOs and site owners are seeing significant spikes and drops in traffic.
The most common theme seems to be sites that got hit by the August core algorithm update are now making a recovery.
There doesn’t seem to be a common theme with respect to the niches that the sites belong to.
Here is a sample of the chatter so far:

Google Algo Update (1 of 2): I said the other day that we were due for a major update. Little did I know that would arrive so quickly. I’ve been checking my list of sites that were impacted by prev. major updates and seeing a number either surge or drop. Here are some examples: pic.twitter.com/QF3ziyADbC
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) September 28, 2018

Google Algo Update (2 of 2): And this is my absolute favorite. There’s a LONG story behind this one, but they finally surged on 9/26. FINALLY. Here are screenshots from both GA and SEMrush. I really hope this sticks for them. They deserve it. pic.twitter.com/1w155q9UlO
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) September 28, 2018

And to clarify, since I know many will be asking about this, yes, these surges and drops are across different types of sites. Definitely seeing a bunch in the health/medical space again, but also seeing others outside of that niche. E-commerce, coupons, games, and others. https://t.co/CMc8GoX63x
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) September 28, 2018

Also worth noting, I’m seeing some sites reverse from the August 1 update (Medic), but others either surge more or drop more during this update. So it’s definitely not some type of straight reversal from 8/1. pic.twitter.com/Uq7wtq0COn
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) September 28, 2018

It’s a big change indeed. Seeing big improvements in one of our sites that were heavily affected by the medical update back in august. A correction perhaps? pic.twitter.com/vgbftwoB8d
— Nacho Boza (@nachoboza) September 28, 2018

Any SEOs seeing drops in traffic or rankings?? News posts are killing it in the SERPS. Trying to figure out what might be happening.
— Lynette Zilio (@lzilio) September 27, 2018

Early impressions of this update – seems to be affecting sites in super competitive niches most strongly. Lots of chatter in blackhat circles. Some sites that saw massive drops Aug 1 are seeing big increases & vice versa.
Most sites we monitor show very little change though. pic.twitter.com/ErWdQfjf2h
— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) September 28, 2018

Google’s John Mueller recently provided some advice for those looking to recover from the August core algorithm update.
In doing so, Mueller suggested it could take several months for Google to process the recommended site changes.
It has been less than two months since the August core algorithm update. So that should be reassuring for those who are still waiting for their changes to be reflected in Google’s search results.
Additional resources:

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