Google, the world’s undisputed search titan has made another innovation which can have major impact on the search engine results page (SERPs). Its not an earth-shattering algorithm or the dreaded Penguin 4.0 upgrade, though. Google’s extending the length of titles and descriptions and this will definitely impact search results so companies, entrprises and brands should take note of this recent change.
So, What’s Changed?
Before, title tags should be composed of 50-60 characters (including spaces) and if you don’t follow, Google will truncate your beautifully made title with ellipses; that dot dot dot (…) thing you see when your title breaks. With Google’s recent innovation, title tags have been increased to 10-15 characters, which means now the limit before your title gets truncated is 70–71 characters. This change potentially means an additional two words or three depending on the letters that you will use and this much is already pretty significant.
Aside from extending the length of title tags, meta descriptions has also been increased by 100 characters per line and from two lines before, now its three lines. These increases means significant innovations for those doing search engine optimization (SEO) and for those handling websites and ecommerce sites because it would mean an additional way to entice would-be customers and searchers by telling them what the page is and how it will help them. In a way, these changes means opening up a website by enhancing user experience – the cruz of Google’s changes and innovations lately.
The change that is taking place is true for countries like in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany for the meantime while world wide roll-out is yet to be announced by the titanic search engine. This is possibly why some are still seeing Google truncating the descriptions to two lines for many search results which would mean that the optimum character still is around 160 per line. So the prudent way for those conducting SEO is to do an A/B test to see which one is Google approving before jumping into this recent innovation and adapting the same site-wide until its sure that the change has rolled-out or there’s finality to this recent change.
SEO Perspective; What This Means?
As with any changes that will affect SEO, those managing page rankings and optimizing website’s pages should monitor the click-through-rate (CTR); the ratio between those users who click specific link vis-a-vis total number of users viewing a page, an email, or an advertisement, of old titles using 50-60 characters and those that will use 70-71 chacters to see if they have been impacted in the positive or negative way because of the longer search snippets. Website owners and those optimazing web pages should also take note of other factors that might affect CTR which includes some results and organic results.
These changes being made by Google could very well help SEOs struggling due to title constraints and in need of the extra 10 – 15 characters for their titles. The same can be said of the relative increases in meta descriptions which can fundamentally change search as we know it.
These changes are welcome news for SEOs optimizing title tags and meta descriptions of website pages and weary of the way Google breaks off long, well-thought, keyword-rich titles to increase page ranks on search engine results pages (SERPs).
The increase in the number of characters for title tags; 70-71 characters, could very well mean added flexibility for webmasters and web admins to add an additional word or two. In the same light, the perceived increase of 100 characters per line in meta tag descriptions and the increase from just two lines to three can translate to descriptions displaying as much as 160-278 characters per line. Now that’s a lot of room to maneuver for those optimizing websites to increase page rankings, which, in the SEO world, means everything.
The bottom line of these recent changes is that Google is aiming to make more information regarding websites available in the SERPs which, well done right potentially means improved click-through-rates (CTRs).