How Should B2Bs React to Changes from Google?

05.23.18 // Bryce Hanson

SEO is constantly changing, and that is because Google is constantly changing its search algorithms and adding/removing features from search listings. There is no disagreement, “search engine optimization” is really “Google optimization”. So what are B2B companies supposed to do when Google keeps moving the goal post?

Meta Description Length Changes

The real reason for this blog post is that Google had recently increased the length allowed in search listings’ descriptions to ~300 characters. The description in a search listing is the plain text below the link (title) and the url. This text is found in the html code of a webpage as the meta description tag. For nearly as long as Google has been around, descriptions get cut off after ~155 characters.

Google doesn’t use these meta descriptions directly as a ranking factor in its algorithm. However, the description in a search listing heavily influences a searchers decision when choosing to click or not. The description is where the business can “sell” the page to users that are deciding which link to follow in SERPs.

It is valuable real estate in SERPs, and therefore something that SEOs optimize for better click through rate (CTR).

Imagine our glee, when we found out that Google was expanding the allowable description length to 300 characters! So much more room for information!

Well, the Good Goog giveth, the Good Goog taketh away. A mere two months later, the length of snippet descriptions was limited again to around 155 characters.

So the SEOs that were on their toes and spent the last two months taking advantage of the expanded meta descriptions now find themselves having to go back and undo all of their changes.

This is not the first time that Google has made changes without warning despite giving signals that they were moving in a certain direction.


Remember Authorship?

Authorship was all the rage in 2012-2014. Google at the time was heavily pushing Google Plus, and as a part of that push, they were using Google Plus profiles to enrich search engine results with profile pictures and bylines within search listings.

Google Plus author rank search engine results listing profile picture

After years of expending effort updating code and embracing Google Plus, Google abandons support of authorship markup and Google Plus altogether.



Recently a trendy topic has been adding schema metadata to sites. Google has even signaled and encouraged adoption to SEOs by providing structured data information in Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools). They even go as far as to flag structured data errors. One would assume that if Google is alerting you to errors in your structured data, that they are using it in search results. The truth is that for the most part, most structured data is ignored by Google. There are selected circumstances where they use schema for search results, but they are usually for a select few types of searches. Mostly it is used for local searches, recipes, and events. Compared to the encyclopedic amount of metadata that schema provides, Google uses only a small fraction.

Schema data google example


The Job of a B2B SEO

This all comes to the question of, what is a B2B SEO supposed to do? The job of an SEO is to make a site as easy as possible for search engines (Google) to find and categorize. There are a lot of B2B companies competing for the same keywords, so an essential part of the job is to stay on the forefront of algorithm changes and adapt strategies to match Google’s priorities. This is tough to do when Google’s priorities seem to be constantly changing.


So, What’s the Answer?

The best way to react to changes from Google is to accept them as inevitable and focus first on best practices that have stood the test of time. My short list of things to focus on would be as follows:

  • User Experience – Make sure your content is unique and offers value to the search queries that you are targeting.
  • Site Speed – Closely related to user experience, nothing turns a user off more than having to wait for content to load. Make sure your site loads reasonably fast compared to your competition, or else Google will kick you off the first page.
  • Meta Titles and H1s – These have stood the test of time as one of the highest impact and controllable places to optimize for keywords.
  • Meta Descriptions – Even though they don’t play a direct role in search algorithms, they still impact the user’s decision process for clicking through to your site. In case there are more fluctuations in the future, try having your first, critical CTA in the first ~155 characters, with a second in ~300 characters.
  • Technical Errors Hygiene – It’s very hard to get Google to notice and value your content, but it is surprisingly easy to get them to completely ignore your site with a few keystrokes. Make sure that you aren’t blocking crawlers and that you are redirecting valuable content if the URL changes.

For large B2B websites, sometimes this list presents enough work that you might not be able to finish optimizing them before new content/errors get added to the queue. That is why it is important to prioritize and focus on the highest impact changes to make to a site and its content.

SEO trends and fads are constantly pulling attention and causing companies to expend effort on initiatives that in the end are a waste of time and money. Focus on the long-term best practices and if you have extra time, then you can test out some of the new SEO toys.

You can take your SEO even a step further by taking a look at our many articles on the subject or requesting a free SEO audit from Obility experts today.

Good luck, and googspeed!

About Bryce Hanson

Bryce Hanson is an SEO Manager at Obility, serving Obility's B2B clients. . Bryce's background includes in-house B2B digital marketing, small business consulting, and local agency experience. He has over 7 years of experience in all aspects of digital marketing, but has particular expertise in SEO. In his free time, you can find him playing with his three kids, reading about philosophy and mythology, singing, and experiencing low-grade nerd rage. View all Bryce Hanson’s posts >