Since early May 2016, Google has been experimenting on the display of search snippets in its SERPs. Here, the search engine is alternately displaying longer titles and descriptions in its search results.
There hasn’t been however any official confirmation on whether the test has been completed and if the new length for titles and descriptions is generally valid.
This is not the first time this year that Google is experimenting with its search results in the SERPs. In January 2016, thesempost reported about three- to four-column search snippets. On May 10th 2016, "Telegraph" wrote about Google changing the background of search results to black. And in April, Google changed the AdWords background to green.
This new information that Google is now allowing more room for the page title and description in the snippet was first published on May 6th, 2016 on Twitter but has since received relatively little resonance.
Figure 1: Twitter message about Google’s test to increase the length of snippets
The new snippet view now allows up to 70 characters for the title instead of the previous 55. If this maximum is exceeded, the title is automatically truncated and "..." appended.
As for the description, webmasters and SEOs now have up to 175 characters at their disposal. The previously recommended length was about 150 characters. A "prolonged" title practically looks like this:
Figure 2: Title with 64 characters in the Google SERPs
The presumption that more space is now allowed, but currently (as of May 17th, 2016) not yet available for everyone, is based on different search results, e.g., when you search for "Gas Lawn Mowers". Some search results are awarded much more space after the description.
Apparently Google also hasn’t adapted its automatic snippet creator to the new length. The snippets only support the previous number of characters (see arrow in the screenshot below).
Figure 3: Google and webmasters have not yet responded to the adaptation of snippets
If you want to profit from the prolonged titles in the SERPs, you should modify your snippets as soon as possible. This way, you can be able to, for instance, integrate additional call-to-actions or add the name of your brand.
Previous title: Bake your own organic cakes using spelt and rye (48 characters)
New title: Bake your own organic cakes using spelt and rye – organicbakers.com (68 characters)
OnPage.org enables you to easily check the length of the titles on your webpages. Simply go to the Zoom Module, click on "Content" and select "Title" and "Length".
Figure 4: Check the length of your titles using OnPage.org
Clicking on the yellow diagram labeled "Too Short" displays a list of all titles that are shorter than 30 characters. Here, the report evaluates the pixel length, so the number of characters may indeed be higher, but the title is still too short.
Figure 5: View all titles that are too short on OnPage.org
You can thereafter use OnPage.org to also check the length of your meta descriptions.
To create the report, click on "Content" in the OnPage.org Zoom Module, select "Descriptions", and click on "Length".
Figure 6: Check the length of the descriptions using OnPage.org
In this report, you can also use a filter to view descriptions that are too short or too long and easily review the results.
Indications suggest that Google will provide more space for organic search results. We can only speculate about the reasons. Basically, it is important that you act now and try to make the most out the longer text length. For example, you can add more call-to-actions in order to make your website standout in the search results. This raises the chances of more users clicking on the search result and, thus, improving the click-through-rate of your website. In addition to this article, our OnPageTutorial provides you with all the tips that are important for the optimization of your title tags.
Here's the link to our OnPage.org Snippet Optimizer. Give it a try! :)
Published on 05/25/2016 by Eva Wagner.
Eva is an experienced content marketer. Until May 2018 she was a member of online marketing team at Ryte. Using her creativity and the knowledge of current topics, she was responsible for the German Ryte Magazine and the Ryte Wiki. She also organized Ryte’s presence at major trade fairs such as the dmexco in Cologne.