4 Google Search Results That Could Impact Your SEO Efforts
Google search results have been changing over the last few months. Here are four big changes that could affect how your pages show up, depending upon what you've done for SEO - or not. My commentary for each one is below.
Google Search Results Change For The Title Tag
One of the biggest changes that may or may not be permanent is the title tag length has gone back up to around 70 characters or so. Here are two examples below.
Shoulder Braces, Shoulder Immobilizers for Surgery Recovery | Breg Inc. (71 characters)
Wearing a Shoulder Sling - Orthopaedic Specialists of North Carolina (68 characters)
I don't think you should be in a huge rush to change every single tag, since there's no way of knowing if this is permanent or not. Google hasn't commented on it. A colleague of mine wonders if this has been done to allow two rows of title tag length in mobile search results. While that's an interesting thought, I am skeptical that Google would consider it, since so far they've been hell bent on trying to strip down as much as possible from mobile SERPs (search engine results pages).
At any rate, experiment with the new character lengths if you've been meaning to update or re-optimize some of your URL title tags for improved CTR (click through rate) and conversions.
Bigger Meta Descriptions in Google Search Results
Something else that rolled out at the same time as the increased title tag length is lengthier meta descriptions per line. In some cases, we are seeing up to three lines of text for meta descriptions. Take a look at these detailed meta description in SERPs:
Notice the examples I found appear to be phrases pulled from the content, not a complete description tag that has been written. I think this is not something you can deliberately optimize for; I think it depends upon the quality of the content in the web page/blog post/document, etc. If you've been considering content re-writes, keep in mind that if you can go in-depth above and beyond what you currently have published, and you think you have better content that your competitor's pages for the same or similar content, it appears there is a chance Google will create an increased meta description in the SERPs that could also improve your CTR and conversions.
Google Search Results Showing More Information In Local Searches
Also, it appears that Google is pulling more information from business listings and incorporating that data into the current 3 pack. Reviews, phone numbers , distance and operating hours are included. Here's one example of a local SEO 3-Pack:
Hopefully this will reinforce the motivation you have to completely optimize and populate as many local business listings as possible, with Google My Business being at the top of the list. If your hours or contact information has changed, be sure to update your listing to be as timely and as accurate as possible.
Google Search Results Increased Width Across Screens
Overall, the width of individual search results per line has increased. This goes against what we've seen Google do in the past - pare down the size of results with reduced character counts and screen width, so I'm not convinced this is a permanent change.
It could be Google is testing out something for searchers, so stay tuned!
Increased width of SERPs overall:
By the way, this is my first post in more than three months. I suffered a mishap back in February that left me with a torn rotator cuff in my left shoulder. I had surgery in March to repair all the tears, and I just got cleared to work and drive late last week. It feels good to be back!
NOTE: Since writing this post, Google has decreased the title tag length and meta description length back to original parameters, but even so, it's interesting that they experimented!
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Until next time, stay safely between the ditches!
All the very best to you,