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By winniewong on March 16, 2019
In 2020, Google’s advice is to not focus too much on these, as many of the snippets Google chooses are dynamic and not pulled from your meta descriptions.
A lot of how Google decides what search result snippet to show is based on the searchers’ query and the content on your page. According to Google’s blog, there’s no limit on how long a meta description can be, but the search result snippets are truncated as needed, typically to fit the device width.
Here’s the average title and meta description length by Rankranger (Results on 21 Feb 2020) :
Still, we recommend keeping your headline at under or approximately 60 characters to fit Google results that have a 600-pixel word limit and avoid truncation. Additionally, here are some other SEO best practices:
Meanwhile, your meta description length should be kept descriptive and between 150 and 160 characters for optimal length, and this includes spaces. Additionally, you also want to make sure to:
(*Updated in September 2020*)
In case you haven’t noticed, Google has made significant changes to the titles and meta descriptions length on the Google Search Results. More characters for both titles and meta descriptions are displayed in the search results now compared to the previous weeks.
The first noticeable change would be the space of Google Search Results. To compare it with before Google made the changes, the latest search results is now 600 pixels wide, which is about 100 pixels wider.
This is not the only change that we’ve noticed. Let’s look into more details on the other prominent changes.
All these years, we have been writing our titles with no more than 55-60 characters. Today, Google has finally made some changes and increased the titles to 70-71 characters. I know, it doesn’t seem much, but at least you can still fit in another word or two in your title, which will make a difference.
But if you’re already happy with your current title, you can choose to add your site name at the end of the title for branding purpose.
Although the titles are longer now, you’ll still need to monitor the traffic and click-through rate (CTR) of your old titles compared to the new ones as it will affect your SEO. The organic results for your site will probably be higher or lower as well, which is why you have to keep things in check.
If you still can’t really see the differences yet, let me show you.
Here, I have a screenshot of the title before Google make the changes:
And this is what happens after Google make the changes:
Not only Google has increased the length of the titles to be displayed, the meta descriptions showed some changes too.
When writing meta descriptions, we tend to keep it between 150-160 characters because Google usually truncate snippets that are longer than 160 characters. Besides, Google used to display only 2 lines of meta descriptions on their search results page. Just like this:
But look at what I’ve found today:
This has once again proven that Google did some changes to its search results page. And Google not only made changes to the desktop titles. The titles and meta descriptions on mobile search have also increased and is even longer than the desktop.
Google has increased the length of mobile titles from about 55-60 characters to 78 characters. So now the titles on mobile search have 7-8 characters more than the desktop titles.
The same goes for the meta descriptions. Mobile search used to have lesser room for meta descriptions than a desktop site, with a maximum of 130 characters. But if you search for a particular topic on mobile now, you’ll see that the meta descriptions have extended.
Let’s take a look at an example from the mobile search results.
Comparing it to the titles and meta descriptions on desktop:
With these changes that we noticed on mobile search results, we think that it may be worth it to optimize your title tags for mobile if you have more visitors from mobile than desktop.
It is definitely interesting seeing Google adding the extra characters to both titles and meta descriptions in the desktop and mobile searches. But the decision on whether to increase the titles and meta descriptions length is still up to you.
Here’s a quick recap of the perfect title and meta description length for your web pages.
These new changes may not be a bad thing, especially for those who were struggling within the title constraints. Furthermore, more characters equal to more LSI keywords that we can include in our titles and meta descriptions for it to be displayed in Google search results.
Because if you haven’t already, you should use LSI keywords in your meta descriptions to help Google know what your content is about.
After all, Google is now looking at understanding the total context rather than the keyword density. If everything is done right, you’ll see yourself at the top of the ranks!
Once again, while we strongly recommend adding in your primary and related keywords to your title and meta descriptions, do avoid spamming keywords and overusing them to prevent Google’s penalty.
Taking this opportunity, we’d like to recommend a keyword research tool that helps you find your best semantic keywords. It’s called BiQ SEO Suite.
BiQ is the world’s first SEO suite that democratizes pricing and lets customer scale as their needs grow. You only need to pay for what you use and it offers a free tier plan that is more than sufficient for regular bloggers and SEO freelancers.
More importantly, when it comes to identifying the keywords to optimize your title and meta description, you can find everything you need using BiQ’s Keyword Intelligence.
You can easily get access to the much-needed keyword data like the total related keywords, search trend, volume, and search intent to identify the most profitable related keywords to include them in your meta description.
An extra tip when writing your meta description is also to include popular questions as the first line in your description because not only are they relatable but often questions are easy to pique at our curiosity which most likely drives us to click. (You can find them on the same module too!)
Also, it’s important to note that making an edit to your title and meta description is a double-edged sword!
Though editing your meta description can result in an amazing 286% increase in traffic, it can also cause a suffer in website traffic when you fall out of certain keywords.
That’s why once you have edited your title and meta description, it’s very important to keep track of your ROI.
Use BiQ’s Rank Tracking feature and start tracking the movements of your content’s across the SERP.
Voila, everything was done in a single platform. Of course, these are just the tip of the iceberg. Sign up for a BiQ free tier account and ALL the features it has to offer.
Also, check out this meta description best practices written by the BiQ team that will show you through the whole process using their tool.
What do you think of the title and meta descriptions length? Do you prefer it to be long or short? Do leave a comment down below and share your thoughts with us! I’ll update this space as I get new updates over time.
Are you ready to start overhauling your title and meta descriptions with SEO in mind? Spend 5 minutes on our SEO Quiz to test out your skills to make sure you’re on the right track! Test Your SEO Knowledge – SEOPressor
This post was originally written by Joanne and published on April 13, 2016. It was most recently updated on Sept 7, 2020
Updated: 28 November 2020
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