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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Google hiding full addresses in local pack plus meta description writing

Search Engine Land’s daily brief features daily insights, news, tips, and essential bits of wisdom for today’s search marketer. If you would like to read this before the rest of the internet does, sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox daily.

Good morning, Marketers, and how much do you automate in your job and life?

My spouse loves to talk about automation in modern workplaces. He believes that robots will eventually be able to replace us all on the job. And while he may be right… one day, I think for now, they’re often a great complement to what we do as search marketers. We can use automation to create ad copy and meta descriptions (see the new data below on how often Google rewrites these), search testing, and ads research. Automation makes our lives easier so much of the time.

However, there’s definitely something to be said for having individual control over certain aspects. Any SEO will tell you that an automated auditing tool won’t tell you nearly as much as a person with expertise digging into your website. It makes me think of the Yoast tool. So many clients often think that their SEO goal is getting “all green lights” in Yoast, and while that shows that you’ve optimized a certain way, it’s not the only way you should be practicing SEO.

So while automation may be the way of the future (and the right now), I don’t think it’ll take our jobs any time soon. In fact, it can make our jobs better.

Carolyn LydenDirector of Search Content

Google publishes new manual actions aimed at Google News and Discover penalties

Google has released a new set of manual action guidelines for publishers appearing in the Google News and Discover spaces. The manual actions warrant penalties for content violations including adult content, manipulated media, misleading content, and profanity.

Any publisher found to be violating the policies in Google News or Google Discover may be dropped from search results.

View the full list here.

Is it worth writing meta descriptions?

Google rewrites meta descriptions over half the time according to research by Michal Pecánek from Ahrefs. What’s interesting is that this percentage fluctuates based on the length of the search term. It makes sense that longer tail searches may require more specific meta descriptions than a brand may write. Pecánek also found that “keeping your meta descriptions within [character] limits doesn’t change the probability of Google rewriting them much.” Most sites have too-long meta descriptions according to the data, so maybe this revelation isn’t as groundbreaking, though.

Many SEOs debate the importance of creating unique meta descriptions. It can definitely help with click-through-rate from SERPs, but, for most, it’s often a low priority SEO task. Will the news that Google overwrites our work make us less likely to spend time on it?

Check out the data here.

Google local pack address changes.

Google local pack hiding full addresses. It seems like Google is now hiding the full address of some local business listings in the local pack, said Jason Brown, a local SEO.  This can be a concern if your business is located near a closed business said Ben Fisher.

Anticipate SEO changes prior to a site change. Google’s John Mueller said it is hard to anticipate or know the full SEO consequences of your ranking changes based on a site migration. He said on Twitter “If you merge or split a website, the results are going to be hard to determine ahead of time. Following the best practices for site moves is always a good idea (see our docs), but it’s also good to think about whether this is the smartest long-term decision, which is harder :-).”

SEO and developer videos from Google. It looks like Martin Splitt of Google is preparing a new set of video series aimed at SEO for developers. He wants you to submit your questions in a Google form. He posted about this on Twitter.

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