Longer Google Snippets: What it Means for SEO

December 24, 2017
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Meta-descriptions and snippets are now designated with new character limits. It is regarded as a big change not just for Google but for SEO as well.

The snippet length refers to the length of the display snippet for any result listed in Google’s search results. This is found both on the desktop and on the mobile version. In a way, it impacts meta description which is where most snippets are based on. Google just recently rolled out changes where the length, recommended length, and display length of what it is going to show on text snippets for organic results were increased.

This means that on both desktop and mobile, instead of the usual two or three line-average for snippets, the average will now be four, five, and even six text lines. In the past, Google only allowed 165 characters for the snippets to be displayed. Most of the time, if there are more to display, an ellipsis is used which basically causes users to visit the site if they want to know more about what is not included in the display snippet.

The new update means that many people will no longer feel the need to visit the site because they will most likely find a good deal of what they are searching for already explained in the text that is displayed in the search results. Hence, they will no longer need to click the link anymore.

This results in SEO changes too. This means that Google introduced two changes which involved the increase in the snippet length as well as the changes on the guidelines around it. While it used to be that meta descriptions should be limited to 160 to 180 characters before, the changes now mean there is now no official recommended length. But many data providers believe that sticking to 300 characters is the best way to go.

These changes are expected to affect SEO in the way that marketers will have to get their meta descriptions written and optimised. Writing will have to be done differently since there is going to be more space available. The main goal is for people to be enticed to click. At the same time, it also needs to be conscientiously written so as to try and answer the query too for a better chance at getting ranked higher.

It is likely to impact the click-through rate, negatively. This means that people are likely to click lesser for queries that are considered to be less complex. However, it is also expected to result in more clicks for queries that are considered to be more complex too since the longer descriptions are likely going to help entice people to click on it. Also, it is expected that this may lead to lower click-through rates for those pages that are located lower in the search results.

Search engine optimisation is going to take a more challenging turn with these new updates. If you want to stay abreast with the latest in SEO, read more about Mason Soiza online.

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