Google Expands Length of Titles and Descriptions in Organic Search

31 May 2016

Google Expands Length of Titles and Descriptions in Organic Search

SEOs are reporting that Google has made a considerable change to the way it displays its organic search results. The titles and descriptions have been extended in size, displaying more information about a website before a searcher clicks.

Previously, title tags were limited to 50-60 characters whereas now they have been expanded to 70-71 characters and meta descriptions have gone from two to three lines of text, increased by 100 characters.

This change has not been applied to every single search – many are still limited to the shorter title and description parameters. However, where the changes have occurred, website owners are presented with the opportunity to offer more information to people carrying out searches, to help to guide them to click through to their websites.

Longer titles and descriptions can be more useful to web searchers, and website owners are given the chance to expand upon what their content will provide. Time will tell whether services such as Yoast’s SEO plugin – which right now suggests the current length limit for title and description tags – will expand its counter to allow for the lengthier content snippet displays.

The impact this change could have on search engine optimisation best practice is yet to be known. Moz reports that there has been no noticeable change in their click-through rates as a result of this display shift, and SEO Chirp noted that the change came after the removal of AdWords ads in the right-hand sidebar, leaving the search results with more room.

It is also worth bearing in mind that Google is known to test different features and functionality, so this may be a test that does not ultimately translate into Google policy, so don’t make drastic changes to your meta descriptions and title tags just yet… Wait to see whether it becomes a permanent change but, in the meantime, consider how you would use this extra space if you were given the opportunity to expand your title and description in this way.