Google Increases Title and Meta Description Length in Search Results




  • by Eric Seal May 18, 2016
    May 18, 2016

    You know all about the proper meta description length and title length, don’t you? After all, you’ve been doing it for years. 55-60 characters in the title, and 155-160 for the meta description have been the standard for as long as we can remember—but it seems the times have changed.


    Google has increased the width of the main search results, and as a result, the lengths for meta descriptions and titles before they become truncated has increased too.


    Although we don’t know if this change will last (it could be another typical Google experiment for all we know), we at SEO Inc. have some suggestions for how you can make the most of the added space.


    Google has increased the title and meta description length for search results, but it may just be an experiment.


    How Long Should Your Titles and Meta Description Lengths Be Now?

    Last week, SEMPost noticed Google had increased the width of the search results by about 100 pixels. Now sitting at 600 pixels wide, the search results have more room for a bigger title and meta description.


    Here are the new lengths for desktop:



    • Title length: 70-71 characters
    • Meta description length: 200

    And here are the new lengths for mobile:



    • Title length: 78 characters
    • Meta description length: 170-172

    Keep in mind these are suggestions, averages compiled from examples we’ve seen online. We honestly don’t know why the mobile title length would be longer than the desktop, since mobile seems to want to keep things more concise. It could be Google let that slip by, or it might be totally intentional. Time will tell if these lengths will change or if they’ll stick around.


    So What Should You Do?

    What do you do with all that extra space? No—the answer is not “fill it with keywords.” Your meta descriptions and titles should have at least one or two keywords, but you still don’t want to come off as spammy.


    Here are some things you should do to take advantage of the added elbow room:


    Put in a keyword or two. Okay, we know we just said not to fill the space with keywords. But if you use them well, AKA written naturally like you would with your other content, they can help you increase your rankings. Maybe get professional copywriters to do it for you.


    Add branding. If you’re scared to make any big changes, the extra 10-11 characters could be enough to add your business’s name. That at least will add a bit of brand awareness you didn’t have room for before.


    Monitor your changes. If you do make changes, make sure you watch them carefully. Test their performance against the old ones and see if they’re actually having any positive impact. You probably won’t see huge movement up, but you definitely don’t want to see traffic go down.


    Again, we have to remind you that the changes to the Google meta description and title length are an experiment. Google could change it at any moment, but we think it will be a while before they do. They’ll want to gather enough information to make sure the longer lengths will have any impact on user experience.


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