Longer Meta Titles And Descriptions Now Accepted

Google Increases Search Results Width

Google has increased the width of the organic results column in search. This provides an additional character allowance for SEOs using metatags. 

Google has recently rolled out some changes to the layout of the organic search columns. The search engine has increased the width of the left-hand pane search results from 500 pixels to 600 pixels. Whilst at first sight this may not appear to be anything more than a design layout feature, the SEO world has quickly realised the importance of being able to increase the length of their meta title tags and descriptions.

What Are Meta Title Tags?

The metatag elements of a web page are simply pieces of coding that sit behind the main content of a web page. They are not usually visible on the actual page, but can be read by search engines. When Google indexes a website, its main aim is to provide users with search results that are relevant to the search query they have performed. Google’s algorithm is capable of generating its own titles and description which are based on the content of your pages. However, it is better to include appropriate meta title tags and descriptions which accurately describe your web pages and persuade a user to click through to them.

The Metatags Increase

The change in the search results width now means that the title tag has increased from 50-60 to 70 characters on desktops and up to 78 on mobile. This amounts to an extra 2-4 words that can fit in the title tag and is the perfect opportunity for many companies to add branding by including their own site or company name.

The meta descriptions tag now allows around 100 characters per line and has increased some snippets up to three lines. This is also a significant change which gives webmasters and SEOs the chance to refine their wording and really think about what users need to know about a specific webpage.

What Should Marketers Do?

This is certainly a development in search that site owners should be able to take advantage of, but only if they proceed with caution. The changing of metatags isn’t a scenario where it is wise to rush in, but one where you need to take your time and think about how to best market your site to achieve the greatest effect. Google offers some excellent guidance on the importance of descriptive yet concise meta titles. Keyword stuffing should be avoided, as should repetitive titles and descriptions that are the same for multiple pages on your site.

If you have a large site where it is difficult to manage the individual tags on each page, then start by looking at the HTML suggestions tabs in Search Console to see if there any tags that require immediate attention.

When changing your tags in order to benefit from the increased character allowance, it is worth doing it slowly a few at a time and monitoring the change in click-through-rate (CTR) to ensure that you are improving the user experience rather than diminishing it. Verbose descriptions for instance, might actually dilute the value of your page which could result in fewer visitors and a slip down the rankings.

To obtain essential guidance on making changes to the metatags on your site, it is best to enlist the assistance of Freelance SEO consultants who can provide you with superior knowledge on how to achieve excellent results from this latest development in search.

Featured images:
  •  License: Image author owned
Danny Hall co-directs Freelance SEO Essex, one of Essex’s leading SEO companies. Danny specialises in technical SEO supported by quality content and stylish design.