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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 searches’ 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 taken on 7th September 2018) :
A) Title Tag
1) Always describe the page’s content accurately. Choose a title that reads naturally and effectively communicate the topic of the page’s content.
2) Create unique titles for each page. This helps Google know how the page is distinct from the others on your site.
3) Use brief, but descriptive titles. Titles should be both short and informative. If it is too long or less relevant, Google may only show a portion of it or one that’s automatically generated in the Google search result.
B) Meta Description
1) Accurately summarize the page content. While there’s no minimal or maximal length for the text in description meta tag, Google recommends making sure that it’s long enough to be fully shown in google results (note that users may see different sized snippets depending on how and where they search).
2) Use unique descriptions for each page. Having a different description meta tag for each page helps both users and Google, especially in searches where users may bring up multiple pages on your domain.
(*Updated in September 2018)
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 changes that we’ve noticed. Let’s look into more detailed 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 their search results page. And Google not only made changes on 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 to 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.
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 keywords that we can include in our titles and meta descriptions for it to be displayed in Google search results. Who knows it can lead us to a better ranking, right?
However, these changes are still new and Google could still change their search results again. Since this is the age of A/B testing, we can’t be sure if these changes are temporary or permanent until Google announces it. But it is a good sign for us to be aware and take note of what’s currently happening in the industry.
If these changes are for real, will SEOPressor update the plugin?
Well, we will observe these changes for another couple of weeks and see how it goes. If this stays, we will definitely update SEOPressor to better reflect the current state of SERPs so that our users can get ranked easily.
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!
Updated: 17 January 2019