Page title and “snippet text,” which is the brief text previews searchers see in the search engine results pages, are two of the most important factors when it comes to persuading those in need of your product or service to click on your business, rather than a competitor’s. While snippet text has been limited to two rows in the past, now Google has loosened up on this rule. With the search engine giant now allowing slightly longer snippets, making it possible for companies to provide more useful, descriptive content, how could it impact SEO?
Up until recently, businesses were limited to 165 characters in describing their businesses; now the limit will be 230 to 320 characters, which will allow companies to better optimize content, while making meta descriptions more appealing to the target client. Depending on how compelling the description is, and how complex the query, longer snippet text could either increase or decrease CTR (click-through rate).
We already know Google is all about the “user experience,” and this is one step further in helping searchers find results that are highly relevant to their queries.
Should you expand your meta description tags?
That’s the question many have, and some at Google have said not to expand them, as it is a dynamic process Google makes automatically, based on the search query and the content that’s on the page.
Others agree that this change has a solid impact on SEO, and that snippet texts will need to be reworked a bit, considering only two rows, or about 165 characters, were optimized before the change. Why reconsider snippet text? One, a longer meta description makes it possible to better optimize for your most critical keywords or search terms, and two, you don’t want to write meta descriptions that are too long or beyond 320 characters, as your text could be cut off.
When did this change occur? It looks like that, back in the middle of November, most meta descriptions, or “snippets,” were limited to two rows on search results pages. Changes were noticed by most people around the last week in November, when these text-snippets grew to three rows, or even longer – and the trend is continuing, as we see a higher percentage of websites with longer meta descriptions.
In terms of SEO, longer snippets could:
Result in higher Google search ranking, if meta descriptions are written and optimized in a way that answer searchers’ questions and entices more clicks.
Increase click-through rate among those who perform search queries that are more complex, as these are often the ones who are attracted by a longer description. On the other hand, it could result in lower click-through rates for websites that are lower on the search engine results pages, simply due to the fact that longer snippets will take up more real estate on the page. Will people scroll down further to see what’s there – and could it impact whether being ranked on page one is good enough anymore, if you’re toward the bottom of the page? Time will tell.
As for now, it’s probably a good idea to check out the SERPs and landing pages sending you the most traffic, and re-optimize those meta descriptions using the longer snippet text. You’ll also want to update meta description tags to somewhere in the range of 230 and 320 characters, if you have the ability.
We’ll see how this all plays out in terms of SEO and user experience! Interesting new changes.Google+