Although it’s been almost a month since the new update began trickling out, many people are just now discovering Google’s big SERP, or search engine results page, change. Around November 22, Google started increasing the length of search result snippets. Have you noticed?
What are snippets?
Snippets are the brief description of the page shown under each clickable title in a search result. They’re taken from the meta-description tag of the website.
This new update means Google is going through and reworking the snippet length for results on both mobile and desktop queries. Before the change, these page descriptions were typically limited to about 165 characters. In most cases the snippets were never more than two to three lines long. Now, data is showing up to five to six lines of text coming in anywhere from 230 to 320 characters. The sweet spot for the time being seems to be somewhere between 275 and 300 characters, according to our research.
Google has not released any updated recommendations or specific character limits. It’s clear the changes are being rolled out across the search engine as 51 percent of search results now have at least one longer snippet. If your site is one with an updated snippet, you may have an edge over the competitors that show up on search results for your industry. This is another reason why our team at Dog Star Media is so valuable to your practice - we make it a priority to stay on top of trends and changes in the industry so we can keep you first in the game.
So, what does this mean for SEO?
A few things actually. This extension allows searchers to get the answers they’re looking for without clicking into your site. This could be problematic for getting traffic to your site if your meta-descriptions are not created in a strategic way. Thankfully, our team of writers and SEO specialists are experts at strategic copy for meta-descriptions.
A sort of silver lining exists in this scenario, however, because it could actually help improve SEO by answering questions for less complex topics right in the snippet. Although fewer people may be clicking the link, Google seems to be rewarding pages by placing them at the top of the results, which is great for visibility and brand awareness. When it comes to more complex topics, the longer snippet may entice searchers to learn more and encourage them to click through to your site.
Another potential problem for business owners who aren’t taking a strategic approach to SEO is that this new change could leave your site buried pages deep in search results. New snippets take up almost twice as much space, which means if you aren’t ranking higher up in the search results, people will have to scroll further to see you.
SEO is a complex process that requires constant attention to emerging changes in the digital landscape. This is just one of the hundreds of important updates that have occurred during 2017 to the digital marketing industry. That’s why our clients choose to leave the digital marketing to us so they can focus on what matter most to them: their practice and their patients.
If you’re ready to stop stressing about SEO, social media, your website or any aspect of marketing your practice, call us today at 214-654-9180 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.