Google Update – Extended Length for Title and Description in Search Results
May 25, 2016
When Google sneezes, the web world catches cold. The latest Google update in organic search happened on the 4th of May, 2016. According to reports, “Google updated the search results layout to give organic listings an increased title tag size as well as increased width of the Featured Snippets/Answer Boxes, but have decreased the height of the Featured Snippets/Answer Boxes.”
We all know the ideal meta tags length, don’t we? After all, we have been doing it for ages. It’s 50–60 characters for titles and 150 – 160 characters for descriptions. But times have changed and the rules too. Google, the most popular search engine in the world, has increased the width of the main search results by around 100 pixels, thereby extending the length of meta titles and descriptions.
Title – While the title tags have been increased to 70–71 characters before Google cut short the title with ellipses (…). It is a pretty significant increase as compared to previous 50–60 characters.
Meta descriptions – The character limit for meta descriptions have been extended by 100 characters per line which means around 268-270 characters in total. The extended 2 or 3 lines limit will give ample space to writers/SEO experts to showcase searchers what their webpage is all about.
Mobile device changes – Even on mobile devices, changes have been noticed in the length of title which has increased to 75 – 78 characters. However, no changes have been noticed in the length of the descriptions. Discussing the update, SEO experts have also warned against bringing about drastic changes in your SEO efforts based on these changes till one receives an official confirmation that the change is permanent. After all, it could be an A/B testing for Google Daddy and it may reverse it any given time. As for many search results, Google is truncating the descriptions with ellipses (…). That implies descriptions are still displaying around 150-160 characters. So what you should do with the extra space?
Add in keyword As per the new update, you can fit in an additional 2 to 4 words to the meta title. But don’t fill in with too many keywords. You would not like to come across as spammy to Google Daddy. Get experienced copywriters to write keyword-enriched copy that makes sense and raise your rankings.
Promote your brand Or if you are happy with the title, you can add your website or business name in the end of the title. This will raise your brand awareness.
Monitor the CTR changes As with any new SEO updates, it would be foolish if you don’t keep a check on your Click Through Rate (CTR). If you do make changes, make sure to monitor and compare your CTR performance of old title tags with the new ones.
As Jonathan Jones has rightly pointed out in his blog, “…CTR has actually been impacted in a positive way… Compare your CTR now to before the 4th of May and see if you’ve seen any benefits – especially if the result shows a Featured Snippet – as I believe these results will have seen the biggest impact.”
If you haven’t given your meta tags some attention for quite some time or struggling with title length constraints, it is good that you have procrastinated. The new update will allow you to add extra 10-15 characters in titles. However, it will be a sensible move to see how the new Google update shapes up and make the changes accordingly.
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