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How Google New Meta Description Length Could Impact SEO in 2018

2018 is here and there is goods news for SEO experts. In 2018, we are going to experience new trends in digital marketing and last month, Google announced how the new meta description character length would look like.

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Google released one of the biggest updates on December 20th, 2017 which expands the character length of meta descriptions to 320 characters, instead of the standard 150 – 160 characters limit.

You’ll notice a change in the SERP’s, where instead of there being 2 lines of a meta description, there can be 4-6 lines of meta description length.

Google new meta description length


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What Is the Meta Description Tag?

So what is a meta description tag?

It’s a tag that appears in the <head> section of an HTML web page. It usually looks like this:

<meta name=”description” content=”This is a description of my web page.”/>

In a nutshell, that tag gives both Google and visitors a little more information about the contents of your page.

Although Google doesn’t use the meta description tag for ranking purposes, it still parses it.

Sometimes, Google will show the meta description in the SERPs. It’s the search snippet that appears as a paragraph of text just below the link.

 

The Impact of This change

With longer snippets, you would expect the overall CTR of search results to drop slightly.

People might find their answer in the search results; they might not need to click onward. So far we’ve not seen our own CTR go down, but we will monitor this closely for multiple sites.

Whether a CTR that goes down is bad for you depends on your key goals. For us at Digital Marketing Skill Institute, we just updated some of our top performing blog articles and we are going to be examining its impacts on Click Through Rate.

Well, the good news is… So far, there hasn’t been any significant drop in CTR!

With that said, let’s have a quick look at how this new development can be leveraged to help increase website position on SERPs.

1. Fit more keywords into your meta titles

Keywords are huge when it comes to adding SEO value to your meta titles, and this new change allows you to fit more targeted keywords into the search results.

Particularly, if you’re going after a long-tailed keyword, you’ll have more room to fit in the precise verbiage you’re targeting.

2. Get descriptive

More space gives you more opportunity to get descriptive in your meta titles.


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Sure, make sure your keywords are there–but don’t forget to write a title that incites a reader to actually click on it.

You’re not always going to be able to rank as the first result of a search query, or even fourth or fifth. A well-thought-out, descriptive meta title that nails the right keywords can still get decent click-through, even if it’s further down the page.

3. Don’t go fewer than 100 characters for descriptions

While the overall length of meta descriptions still gets cut off between 60 to 70 characters for most results, the character length for the first line of the description has been extended to 100 characters. If your meta description is under 100 characters, then it will be reduced to only one line of text.

Basically, this means that the search result for that page will take up less space, and be less visible to searchers, ultimately lowering your click-through rate.

Therefore, if you have any pages with meta descriptions under 100 characters, then lengthening them should be a priority.

Wrapping it up:

Make sure to look through your meta-data and update it as soon as possible. So for SEO enthusiast looking to grow traffic and attract more CTR to their website, this is great news.

With twice the old character length, It means we have more room to pack targeted keywords and descriptive text into our meta tags!

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