Meta (Mini Organic Ad) Changes
Nothing stays the same for long, so it’s time for us to follow up on our article on SERP length changes. In the last couple of months, we noticed that there have been some fairly big changes made to the search engine results page. This should have a major effect on both organic and paid search. So what changed and what does it mean for your business?
Headline News for SERP Length Changes
The changes, in this case, revolve around the number of characters you can display in the headline. In SERP you can now extend your title tag to 70 to 71 characters, which is a large (~16%) increase from the previous limit of 50 to 60 characters. Similar changes have also taken place with meta descriptions. Again, increasing the number of characters you have to promote your content and giving you three lines, instead of two, to sell your page.
Why Change a Winning Formula?
First, it’s important to point out that the SERP length changes have not yet been fully adopted. Google is A/B testing these longer form headlines and descriptions to see how they work, and what difference they make to click through rates. The idea behind it is fairly basic and it is also being tested in AdWords. Put simply, searchers want more information before clicking. Web users have become a lot more savvy and are less likely just to click the top link than they may have been in the past. So to feed into this more discerning behavior Google is giving people more information to make an informed decision.
What Does It Mean For You
At the moment, you don’t need to worry about making wholesale changes to how you craft your title tags and meta descriptions. Until Google stops A/B testing the idea and it is rolled out to all search results, you don’t need to do anything differently. However, we do suggest you keep an eye on your Search Console analytics to watch for any drop off in performance such as impressions and click-through-rate. If, or when, you do see your content not performing as well in organic search, it’s time to make changes. When you implement those changes, see if the expanded character length is available and adjust your content accordingly.
By the way, it seems the first SERP tests were noticed in early May. Check your analytics figures from the end of March against current data, to see if you have been affected (or not) already.
What do you think of the SERP length changes? Personally, I’m looking forward to the changes as it means we have more more space to entice a visitor in organic search.
How can we help?
What do your links and content say about your site’s SEO? What does your data say in Search Console?
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