In May, Google announced some updates and changes coming to its business products and now it seems to be testing updates to search results as well in the form of expanded meta data including titles and descriptions.
Your title tag is essentially the title of your page or to show what that page of your website is about and your description allows you to showcase more details of the page to encourage visitors to click through to your website. The screenshot below has the title tag highlighted in pink and the description in blue.
Your title tag and description are very important for the searcher and the search engine. It helps the search engines decide if your page is credible to be included in the search engine results pages (SERP) and helps your searcher decide if your page meets their needs. Google has placed restrictions on how big your title tag and descriptions can be but is now is looking at expanding this space to help marketers correctly show what the page is about and help searchers determine if the page is what they’re looking for.
Google’s testing increasing the space for titles from 500 to 600 pixels or from 50 – 60 characters to about 70 characters. On mobile, some marketers are seeing close to 80 characters. For descriptions, the size has increased greatly from around 150 characters over two lines of text to about 300 characters spread out over three to four lines of text. If you rush over to Google after reading this blog to test your website, you may see that it’s still only showing two lines of text and that’s OK. Google is rolling this out over time but it’s definitely something you’ll want to think about as you add new pages to your website or write new blogs and want to optimize them correctly.
As you do move forward with optimizing your website’s new pages, here are some tips to make sure your titles and descriptions have the right SEO elements:
Write for humans not search engines. We’re not saying completely disregard your keywords but focus on the person that will be reading that page of your site and not the program that will be indexing it.
When adding keywords, try to add them to the top or the beginning of your first sentence so they’ll show up in the first line of the description.
Don’t go over 70 characters on your title or Google may put in a placeholder title that it generates based off what it thinks your page is about.
Don’t add characters just for the sake of adding characters to increase how much space you take up in the SERP. If the information in your description isn’t accurate or helpful to the reader, take it out and leave what is valuable and optimized with keywords.
It’s also important to remember that Google makes a lot of changes to its SERP and other products regularly and these updates can take time to be implemented. We wouldn’t recommend spending a whole day re-doing all of your previous SEO work to meet these possible updates when Google may change again in the future. These updates should be taken into consideration when adding new pages though.