Google's Snippets Updates and its Impact on SEO
Google has officially increased the length of the snippets and meta descriptions in the search results. A Snippet is the description of a page shown right below the link in the SERP. This description helps users show how it relates to the search query. The 165 character limit of the snippet has now extended to 320 characters.
This Google update was introduced in November 2017. Along with the change in snippet length, the guidelines around it has been updated as well. Previous guidelines recommended keeping the meta description tag between 160 to 180 characters. Although, there is no official recommendation on meta description length currently, Danny Sullivan did say on Twitter that he would not make the meta description and snippet length greater than 320 characters. Moreover, many other data providers recommend keeping the snippet length below 300 characters.
So what does this change mean for SEO and the SEO agencies? It affects the SEO in three ways as described below:
- It changes how marketers should write and optimize the meta description
Because of more availability of space, marketers can change the way they write snippets. They can now prepare snippets with content that is enticing as well as descriptive and answer the questions of the searchers in the search result itself. Moreover, there is a strong probability that Google could rank you higher even if you sacrifice the clicks to help the searcher get his answer.
- It may impact click-through rate
It could impact the click-through rate in two ways. It could impact it negatively which would imply fewer clicks on less complex queries. Conversely, it could also get you more clicks on complex queries enticing people by the longer description.
- It may lead to lower click-through rate further down in the search results.
Based on the research carried out over a month ago, it was noticed that the results higher up the SERP drew more clicks than the ones lower. The results lower down the page will probably carry lesser value than it used to.
What should SEO service providers and experts do to combat these changes?
- Start by making a priority list. List down the most important landing pages and the website pages that receive the most traffic from the organic search. Then optimize the meta descriptions for the longer limits of these pages. Assess the results over a period of days and check out the SERPs that are sending you the most traffic. Check out the limits in these SERPs. Assess the character count and optimize accordingly.
- The second thing you must do is to update the internal process or your CMS that may have been set with rules that limit the characters of the meta description tag. They might currently be set between 160-180 characters. You can update it between 230-320 character limit.
Finding it challenging to stay updated with the Google updates and keep your ranking higher? Contact us at Potenza Global Solutions, an online marketing and SEO services company delivering quality SEO services to the clients across the globe.
Mitesh Solanki is a CEO of Potenza Global Solutions, a foremost Design Your Own Application where small scale to enterprise level websites are designed and developed.