Last Updated on August 5, 2020
Display Tweaks & Tests
Google has been recently testing several SERP redesigns. Have you noticed? While the Search Engine Results Page has morphed over the years, this redesign could have a major impact on what shows up in an organic search how AdWords. In this post I’ll explain what the changes are and why it’s big SEO news.
SERP Redesign Changes
Have you seen some of the SERP redesign changes? Specifically, we noticed:
- Title – appears in a slightly larger font without underlining. The Title tag link is still easily recognizable in blue.
- Source URL – still shows under the title but is slightly smaller. It still shows in green.
- Expanded Site Links – are getting more prominent with a slightly larger font (like the Title) and without underlining. There’s also a faint dividing bar at the end, delineating the listing from the next one.
- Images – also includes new font with a more pronounced “More Images” link.
- AdWords – the format is still being tested. However, the colored background has been replaced with a yellow “Ad” box.
Impact to SEO
In organic search a page’s title tags and meta descriptions (elements of meta data) are like a mini ad. It’s what the human searcher reads to determine if you’re the answer to their question. A well-crafted title and description sets up an expectation. The more enticing they are, the higher number of visitors come to your website.
The SERP Redesign uses larger fonts, potentially reducing how many characters appear in the meta data. If you have long titles or descriptions tags, they may be truncated. If a significant piece of your title or description is missing, it will negatively affect click-through-rates.
Are There New Magic Numbers?
According to Dr. Peter Meyers on The Moz Blog, the answer is… no. It all depends upon which letters are used in your title or description. An “I” takes up less space than “M.” All CAPS take up more space. Google bolds the keyword a searcher entered, and bolding also takes up more space.
Dr. Meyers presents an impressive calculation, complete with charts and graphs. He does offer a general guideline, though. 55 characters is a reasonable title length limit… depending upon characters and capitalization. Here’s our advice regarding meta descriptions: keep it under 156 characters and put a compelling reason near the beginning. That way if the description is cut off, the good stuff that entices a human visitor remains intact.
What do you think of the new SERP Redesign?