Google has adjusted its snippet and meta description character limits, lengthening both the recommended and display lengths of what appears in search results. Let’s take a look at what this means for all parties involved.
What is a snippet?
When you Google-search a query, the search engine displays a list of results, typically presenting hyperlinked titles with a couple lines of text beneath each. These couple of lines are the snippet, which allows the reader a glimpse into what the webpage content will be about.
The longer the snippet is, the more information a user can gather from the result to inform their choice to click through to the offered page (or to not).
Most snippets are written as meta descriptions, with keywords inserted to optimize CTR.
How much longer are snippets now?
Snippets used to be capped at 165 characters. That’s basically one tweet to convince a user a that a brand’s site has the winning, necessary content, product, and services. When Google added more length (give or take 200 characters) late last fall, brands experienced more flexibility for a constructive explanation of their websites.
Does the snippet length change the user experience?
Increasing the snippet length betters the user experience on Google. Many searchers are not coming to the search engine to find incredible websites boasting unparalleled content. They need a specific answer quickly. Longer snippets provide those answers to users as they scroll down the first page of search results.
In the past, Google placed ellipses to trail off snippets at the breach of 165 characters. This often prompted users to click on the headline in order to further investigate their query on the respective site. It also led many users to disappointing, irrelevant pages.
Now, users do not necessarily need to click through – but this isn’t what you want right?
Remember, the user is Google’s consumer, so the search engine will always choose the result with the best user experience in finding answers to questions or solutions to needs. Optimizing websites to fit Google’s preference for the consumer is essential, and it allows brands to remain at the top of Googles search results.
Should brands change their meta descriptions?
Brands should rewrite their meta descriptions to cater to Google’s audience: the searcher. Now that everyone has more characters to play with, brands can effectively communicate answers to consumers without requiring them to click through to their website.
Because this is the approach Google wants to take to offering their service to users, brands will be rewarded accordingly. If a snippet aptly delivers the searcher’s need, then Google more favorably ranks that brand in search rankings.
We know by now that Google, and as a result, SEO is always changing, and this is an important change to tune into. We are amidst a transition in SEO where brands need to let go of past strategies and adapt to new ones.
Brands can strategically present information in a way that makes clicking through irresistible.
How should I go about optimizing my snippets?
It’s the best idea to work with your digital marketing agency or SEO team, as these professionals specialize in navigating Google’s algorithm, but descriptions can be edited independently, too.
To get started, identify website pages that already get the most traffic. These are the frontrunners for continuing to rank high in Google search results.
Next, evaluate what the content on each of these pages offers. Does it answer a particular question? Remember that voice search is passing typed searching, producing more conversational questions and queries. Which question is this page answering? Does it match the highest ranking search terms for your market and competition?
Once the top web pages are matched with the strongest search keywords, consider the audience. Are users of this page looking for a one-sentence answer or do they want to dive into rich explanations with an option to buy into a brand’s services? If it is the former (quick answer), keep the snippet thorough, pointed, short and sweet. If it is the latter, craft an engaging and informative response that alludes to still more fascinating content to be digested upon a click-through.
What’s next for Googles snippets?
It’s unclear what is Google has planned for snippets or for SEO, but the strongest online players know to roll with the punches and adapt their SEO strategies to Google’s preferences. Longer snippets provide a new way to win ranking favor and to appease potential consumers.
Want to hire an SEO team?
Google’s algorithms are constantly evolving, which is why so many businesses hire a full-time SEO staff or outsource an SEO agency. As a digital marketing agency, Executive Digital is generously versed in all matters SEO. We digitally stride our clients toward the top of search results and once preferred rankings are achieved, we monitor and make daily changes to keep the desired position. To learn more about Google’s new snippet length, SEO or what our firm can offer your company, contact us. We looking forward to working with you!