Have you noticed a little bit more text on the page in Google’s search results?
If you have, you’ve seen some of the test changes they’ve rolled out. Currently, the search results have been expanded from 500 pixels to 600, which means the big, blue titles could be up to 70 characters long. The meta descriptions just below now run up to 3 lines and 278 characters (up from 156).
Okay, so this is pretty dorky stuff, isn’t it?
Why Should You Care About This Seemingly Small Change Anyway?
It doesn’t sound like a huge change at first. But, for SEO experts, it is. An increase of about 10 characters in the titles lets you fit in another word or two.
That word could be an additional opportunity to rank. It could also be a great opportunity to increase your click-through rates. For example, a much more persuasive title could now fit.
Small in terms of size? Yes.
Small in terms of results? No way!
For the meta descriptions, which now nearly double in length, the advantage is to include more keywords and synonyms for the keywords (while still focusing on a compelling reason to click through to the search result). Google puts the keyword the searcher searches on, and words closely related to it, in bold text. The more bold text you have, the easier it is for searchers to see your result and click on it.
Also, in some cases, search results end up higher up on the page. That may help boost the number of clicks you get too.
Should You Update Your SEO Titles and Meta Descriptions to Fill the Entire Space?
You should strongly consider it.
According to Jennifer Slegg of The SEM Post, Google could roll back the changes. So, they’re not set in stone just yet.
But, should we receive confirmation that this change will remain permanent, it’s a good idea to follow through and take advantage of the extra space. As with anything, Google’s going to see if it increases their revenue (they won’t say that, of course). And if it does, the change will become permanent.
Stay tuned, and we’ll let you know what to do.