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TikTok Increases Length Of Video Descriptions

TikTok creators have more ways to optimize their content for users’ searches, thanks to a significant increase in the length of video descriptions.

According to a notification sent to users, TikTok is expanding the length of descriptions from 300 characters to 2,200 characters.

In addition to making content more searchable, TikTok says it uses text in the description to decide which videos to recommend to users.

Social media analyst Matt Navarra shares a screenshot of the message he received regarding the change:

The message reads:

“You can now type up to 2200 characters in your posts’ descriptions: This allows you to express more details about your creations, describing what your videos show, giving you the opportunity to get closer to your audience, generating more engagement while becoming more searchable and better recommended by TikTok to viewers.”

Younger generations are increasingly using TikTok as a search engine, and TikTok is leaning further into it by letting users make their videos more search friendly.

I first wrote about this shift in search behavior in June, when TikTok started adding länkar to search results in video descriptions.

Ser: Kan TikTok vara en sökmotor? För många användare är det redan det

In July, Google publicly acknowledged that TikTok and Instagram are the preferred search engines for a sizeable amount of young people.

Google Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan uppgav:

“In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search, they go to TikTok or Instagram.”

Increasing the length of video descriptions from 300 to 2,200 characters allows users to optimize videos for more search terms.

For example, local businesses marketing themselves on TikTok can include more keywords related to their city and state.

That could increase their chances of getting found for a query like “independent businesses in downtown Toronto.” And they’ll have plenty of room to add descriptive text about the video.

The character increase also allows creators to add more context to what people see in a video.

Creators often provide extra details through in-video captions, but that text isn’t helpful to search engines.

Let’s not forget that Google indexes TikTok videos. Writing detailed descriptions can make videos more discoverable in traditional search engines and TikTok.

It will be interesting to see what creators choose to do with thousands more characters in a video description.

Will creators stuff the description area with keywords, like in the early days of SEO?

Will they spam the description area with hashtags, like people used to do on Instagram?

Some experimentation will be necessary to learn what works for TikTok search, so we may see all of the above.

Tick tack SEO is an area I’ll keep my eye on as the expanded character length rolls out to more people.

Featured Image: Daniel Constante/Shutterstock



Vad det betyder för SEO


What It Means For SEO

Google not only changes how it presents information to users and updates algorithms, but the way users search is also changing.

SEO best practices are changing every year, so it’s best to keep up with what it means to properly optimize a website today.

Signals Of Authenticity And Usefulness

Google has released five Product Review Updates since April 2021.

The associated guidelines that Google published for writing product reviews recommend specific on-page factors that must exist in order for the page to be ranked for product review-related search queries.

This is an extraordinary change in how sites are ranked. Google has redefined what it means for a webpage to be relevant for a search query.

The definition of relevance simply meant that a webpage has to be about what the user was searching for, in this case, product reviews.

Product reviews were commonly thought of as expressing an opinion about a product, comparing the features of the product to the cost, and expressing a judgment if something is worth purchasing or not.

But now, it’s not enough for a webpage to review a product. It must also be authentic and useful. That’s a big change in how sites are ranked.

Here are two product review Google ranking factors introduced in December 2021:

“…we are introducing two new best practices for product reviews, to take effect in a future update.

  • Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other länkar of your own experience with the product, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review.
  • Consider including länkar to multiple sellers to give the reader the option to purchase from their merchant of choice, if it makes sense for your site.”

Google calls them “best practices” but also says they will “take effect,” which implies that it’s something in the algorithm that is looking for these two qualities.

The first signal is about the authenticity of the product review.

The second signal is specific to sites that don’t sell the reviewed products, and it’s about being useful to site visitors by giving them multiple stores to purchase a product.

Authenticity and usefulness as signals of relevance is a huge shift for SEO.

Search Is Increasingly About Context

Context is the setting in which something is said or done, which provides meaning to those actions or settings.

The context of a search can influence the search results.

What’s happening is that Google is redefining what it means to be relevant by understanding the user context.

When a user searches for [pizza], Google does not show recipes for pizza; it shows local pizza restaurants.

Google defines the meaning of the keyword phrase “pizza” according to the context of the user, which includes the geographic location of that user.

Another context that influences search results is current events, which can change the meaning of a search phrase. This is a part of what is known as the Freshness algorithm.

The Freshness algorithm takes into account time-based factors that can change the meaning of a search phrase, and this influences what websites are shown.

So, those are the contexts of geography and time influencing what it means to be relevant for a search query.

Search Is Increasingly About Topics

As noted in the discussion of the 2013 Hummingbird update, Google is increasingly moving away from keywords and more toward understanding the multiple meanings inherent in search queries.

Google is also redefining relevance through the concept of topics.

When someone searches with the keyword [mustang], the likeliest meaning is the automobile, right?

Screenshot from search for [mustang], Google, October 2022

In the above screenshot, Google lists multiple topics related to the Ford Mustang automobile.

  • Overview.
  • Images.
  • For sale.
  • Price.
  • Performance.
  • Engine.
  • Charging.
  • News.
  • Reviews.
  • Specs.
  • Configurations.

Clicking on any of the above-listed topics results in a different search result.

Some of the top-ranked sites appear on different topics because they are relevant to multiple topics. Something to think about, right?

Screenshot of Ford Mustang Mach-EScreenshot from search for [mustang], Google, October 2022

Back in 2018, Google’s Danny Sullivan tweeted about a way to change the search results by topic, which are the topic buttons we just reviewed above.

Danny twittrade:

“A new dynamic way to quickly change results is coming, such as how you can toggle to quickly change about a dog breeds.

This is powered by the Topic Layer, a way of leveraging how the Knowledge Graph knows about people, places and things into topics.”

Topic LayerScreenshot from Danny Sullivan’s Twitter, October 2022

Google published a blog post about these changes and discussed them in the section titled, Dynamic Organization of Search Results.

In the article, Google explained that it is organizing some searches by topics och subtopics.

“Every search journey is different, and especially if you’re not familiar with the topic, it’s not always clear what your next search should be to help you learn more.

So we’re introducing a new way of dynamically organizing search results that helps you more easily determine what information to explore next.”

Screenshot of Dynamically Organized Search ResultsScreenshot from blog.google, October 2022

People Also Ask (PAA) is a way for Google to help users navigate to the information they’re looking for, particularly when the user searches with a vague keyword phrase, like CBD.

The queries listed in the PAA are topics.

People like to think of them as keyword phrases, but they are more than keywords. They are topics for webpage of content.

Screenshot of People Also AskScreenshot from Google search, October 2022

Clicking the first topic, “Does CBD do anything?” reveals an article on the topic of whether CBD products work.

Clicking the first topic, Screenshot from Google search, October 2022

Some people and tools like to use every single People Also Ask suggestion box as keywords for use in a single comprehensive article.

But what is missed in that approach is that every individual suggestion is a single topic for one article.

Because Google likes to rank precise content, one would have better luck creating content for each topic rather than a giant page of content on multiple topics since a giant page is not particularly precise.

Google’s focus on topics continues.

On September 28, 2022, Google introduced more ways to craft search queries by topic.

Takeaway: Google’s Focus On Topics

Keywords are important because the proper use of the correct keyword phrases will help the content connect with users who use those keywords when searching for answers or information.

Advanced users tend to use more jargon, and less advanced users who have less knowledge will use more general terms.

Given that understanding, it’s important to keep in mind that Google understands the world in terms of topics and not keyword phrases.

When Google looks at a page, it’s understanding the page at the level of, “What’s this page about? What is the topic?”

Content can appear unnatural when the content author focuses on keywords, in my opinion.

This happens is because a keyword-focused article tends to meander as the author tries to stuff the article with the targeted keyword phrases, sometimes repeating.

Keyword-focused content feels unnatural because the author is struggling to create sentences that include the keywords.

A better way to create content, in my opinion, is to focus on topics (as well as usefulness!).

Relevance And Topic Category

For some types of search queries, Google may be ranking sites that belong to a category of sites.

There is a 2015 patent named Re-ranking resources based on categorical quality that describes a way to rank webpages based on whether the category of the content matches the category implied by the search query.

I believe this patent may be related to the August 2018 Google update known as the Medic Update.

It was called the Medic Update because it noticeably affected the category of Hälsa websites.

This patent represents a revolutionary change in how Google determines what is relevant for certain queries and discusses how it will re-rank the search results according to whether a website belongs to a topic category.

Google’s patent first describes two kinds of searches: informational and navigational.

An informational search is one that can be answered by multiple kinds of sites. Google uses examples of queries about football and space travel as the kinds of searches that are informational.

It then notes that navigational queries are when users search using the name of a site, like YouTube.

Then it gets to the point of the patent, which is a type of search query that is relevant to a category of information.

The patent says:

“Sometimes, however, users may have a particular interest in a category of information for which there are a number of well-served resources.”

That’s why the patent is called, “Re-ranking resources based on categorical quality” and in the abstract (the description of the patent) it states, it’s about “re-ranking resources for categorical queries.”

The word “categorical” is used in the sense of something belonging to a category.

A simple description of this patent is that it will rank a search query and then apply a filter to the search results that are based on categories that a search query belongs to. That’s what is meant by the word “re-rank.”

Re-ranking is a process of ranking websites for a search query and then selecting the top results by re-ranking the results based on additional criteria.

The following passage from the patent uses the words “quality condition” and “resources.”

In the context of this patent, the “quality condition” means the quality of being a part of a category.

A “resource” is just a webpage.

It first describes two ranking scenarios. A regular ranking of websites (“search ranking”) and another ranking called a “quality ranking” that ranks pages that belong to a “category.”

Remember, resources mean a webpage, and the quality condition is the quality of belonging to a category.

Here’s the important passage from the patent:

“By re-ranking search results for a proper subset of resources that satisfy a quality condition, the search system provides a set of search results that lists resources that belong to a category according to a quality ranking that differs from a search ranking of a received query.”

Next, it explains the benefit of re-ranking search results based on the “quality with respect to the category.”

“Because the search results are provided according to a ranking that is based, in part, on quality with respect to the category, the search results are more likely to satisfy a user’s informational need when the users issues a query that is categorical for the category.”

Lastly, I call attention to the section titled, Detailed Description, where the patent goes into more detail.

First, it notes that when users don’t know much about a category, they will tend to not use the jargon that is typical for that category and instead use “broader” or more general phrases.

“…when a user knows very little about the category, the queries are more likely to be broader queries.

This is because a user may not have developed an understanding of the category, and may not be aware of the websites and resources that best serve the category.”

Next, the patent says that it will take that general query that is related to a category and match it to sites that fit into that category.

As an example, if someone searches on the topic of pain in the stomach, Google might match that query to the category of medical websites and re-rank the top-ranked search results to only show websites that belong to the medical category of websites.

The patent explains:

“The systems and methods described below re-rank resources for a broad categorical query by their corresponding quality in the category to which the categorical query corresponds.

The set of re-ranked search results are more likely to show the websites and resources that best serve the category.”

To Be Relevant Means To Fit Into A Category

The point of that patent from 2015 is that Google likely changed what it means to be relevant.

For example, for medical queries, Google ranks websites with traditional ranking factors like länkar och innehåll.

But then Google re-ranks those search results by filtering out all the sites that don’t fit into the right category for that search query.

This change was a radical departure for Google in 2018 because it meant that alternative-health sites that used to rank for medical queries stopped ranking for those queries.

Those sites were not a part of the medical category, they were a part of the alternative-health category.

Google said that the 2018 update was not targeting health sites; it was simply more noticeable in that vertical.

That means that this change applies to a wide range of other categories as well.

This means that the meaning of relevance for some queries has changed. It’s not enough to have certain keywords in the content for certain verticals, the content must also fit into the right category, described by the patent as the “quality with respect to the category.”

Precise Search Results And Keywords

Google’s search ranking algorithms have progressively become more precise.

Precision in search results is something that took off in a big way after Google’s Hummingbird update in 2013.

What made search more precise after the Hummingbird update was that Google wasn’t using all the keywords in a search query to match what is on a webpage.

Instead, what was happening is that Google was ignoring some words, particularly in natural language type searches, and focusing on what that query actually means and then using that understanding to match the search query to a webpage.

Precision is something important to think about when considering how to SEO a webpage.

Google engineer (at the time) Matt Cutts förklarade:

“Hummingbird is a rewrite of the core search algorithm.

Just to do a better job of matching the users queries with documents, especially for natural language queries, you know the queries get longer, they have more words in them and sometimes those words matter and sometimes they don’t.”

Cutts is quoted again in the above article expanding on the idea of precision:

“…the idea behind Hummingbird is, if you’re doing a query, it might be a natural language query, and you might include some word that you don’t necessarily need…

…Some of those words don’t matter as much.

And previously, Google used to match just the words in the query.

Now, we’re starting to say which ones are actually more helpful and which ones are more important.”

This was the beginning of Google evolving to understand topics and what users really want.

Most importantly, Google’s focus on precision remains and can be seen in their increasingly sophisticated ranking technologies like Google Lens, where Google can rank webpages based on users searching with images from their cell phones.

For example, one can take a snapshot of a bug that’s on the ground and search with that.

Precision In User Intent

A change in search engines dating to approximately 2012/2013 is Google’s increasing use of user intent in search results.

Google didn’t announce the introduction of user intent into the search results.

And the reporting of a June 2011 Q&A between Matt Cutts and Danny Sullivan where Cutts discusses user intent went over the heads of the people reporting it.

I Q&A berättar Cutts om hur Larry Page kom till honom och frågade varför sökresultaten för [varma mango] inte var så bra.

Cutts undrade vad användarens avsikt var med den sökningen och upptäckte några fakta om hur varm mango mognar i en låda.

Jag var där under frågestunden och jag blev imponerad av Googles ambition att integrera användarnas avsikt i sökresultaten.

Men ingen av rapporterna under 2011 förstod hur sökningen [varma mango] passade in i det Cutts pratade om, även om han nämnde frasen "användarens avsikt.

Så det rapporterades bara som en underhållande anekdot om varma mango.

Över 10 år senare pratar alla om användarens avsikt.

Men det finns en ny förståelse av avsikt som går utöver den nuvarande förståelsen av det.

Det är förståelsen att användarens avsikt är mer än bara information, transaktioner, etc.

Dessa kategorier är faktiskt mycket allmänna, och det finns faktiskt ett mer nyanserat sätt att förstå användarens avsikt genom att förstå verben som används i sökfrågor.

Dixon Jones webbplats för innehållsoptimeringsverktyg Inlänkar delar deras revolutionerande sätt att förstå användarens avsikter:

"Verb förändrar sökordsforskning i grunden.

Min bästa praxisrekommendation är att överge begreppet "användaravsikt" som beskrivs som "informativ/navigerande/transaktionell/kommersiell eller lokal avsikt".

Boxing användarens avsikt i endast fyra vaga beskrivningar är inte helt korrekt.

En användares avsikt när de söker är mycket mer nyanserad än att försöka göra en av fyra saker, den är mer specifik.

Användarens avsikt beskrivs mycket bättre genom att analysera verb.

De flesta sökordsforskningsdata fokuserar på ord eller fraser, utan att förstå användarens avsikt, vilket kan leda till grundläggande fel.

Till exempel kan en webbplats om hästar göra sökordsforskning som hittar sökvolymer kring fraser som "Mustang" eller till och med "Hästkraft" som är helt olika ämnen och begrepp, som kanske är relevanta för en webbplatss ämne eller inte.

Här är nyckelpunkten: Ord som genereras genom sökordsforskning är inte specifikt relevanta för det någon söker efter utan ett verb i sökfrågan för att ge sökkontexten.

Verben "rida" och "mustang" tillsammans antyder en helt annan betydelse och publik än verben "driva" och "mustang".

Dessutom är en fras som "köp en Mustang" förmodligen inte relevant för en hästwebbplats eftersom den mest populära avsikten är relaterad till en bil.

Utan annan information om användaren kan du inte veta säkert annat än att göra en gissning baserad på den mest populära avsikten.

Men det är fortfarande bara en gissning.

Google kan mycket väl veta mer om användaren, baserat på deras sökhistorik, men allt du kan göra som en SEO är att vara trogen din webbplats ämne och syfte.

Om du börjar skriva innehåll kring en sökordsfras helt enkelt för att sökvolymerna är höga, är det möjligt för webbplatsen att tappa kontext, snarare än att förbättra sammanhanget.

Att analysera verb i sökordsforskning är en av idéerna som vi har undersökt på InLinks.net.

Att använda NLP-algoritmer kan hjälpa till att rensa bort irrelevanta sökordsförslag när entiteterna och verben i användarfrågorna kontrolleras för närhet till ämnen i ditt eget innehåll."

Sökfrågor har utvecklats

Det är viktigt att notera att Google fortsätter att utveckla vad det innebär att söka. Till en början innebar sökning att skriva in ord på en stationär eller bärbar dator.

Sedan handlade det om att tala dessa frågor i en mobiltelefon.

Nu ändras det till att inkludera sökning med bilder via Google Lens-appen.

Jag ville till exempel ha mer information om en flaska vin i butiken. Jag tog ett foto av det och skickade in det till Google Lens, som gav sökresultat om det vinet.

Det som är anmärkningsvärt med nya sökfrågor är att det är Google som driver utvecklingen genom att skapa nya sätt för användare att söka, som Google Lens.

Den 28 september 2022 meddelade Google nio nya sätt för användare att göra shoppingsökningar.

Den delade:

"Idag vid vårt årliga Search On-evenemang tillkännagav vi nio nya sätt att förändra ditt sätt att shoppa med Google, vilket ger dig en mer uppslukande, informerad och personlig shoppingupplevelse.

Den här upplevelsen drivs av Shopping Graph, vår AI-förbättrade modell som nu förstår mer än 35 miljarder produktlistor – upp från 24 miljarder förra året.”

Och så finns det multi-search, ett nytt sätt att söka:

Varje förändring av hur användare kan söka och hur Google presenterar information är en möjlighet för företag att ta del av de nya sätten att söka och bli upptäckt.

Det gamla sättet med 10 blå linjer ligger länge bakom oss, drivs av förändringar i tekniken.

Det är en ny era för sökning. Är du uppdaterad?

Fler resurser:

Utvald bild: Masson/Shutterstock


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