How To Use Google’s Longer Snippets For SEO Advantage
Do you know about the Google snippet length increase in the organic search results?!
Google’s longer snippet news has given rise to various questions among the site owners and search engine marketers:
1. What is the new meta description change?
2. How will it affect SEO methods?
3. What are the potential challenges and how to tackle them? And,
4. How to write a good meta description for new snippet guidelines?
This post will answer all your questions and offer a guide to leverage this change to your SEO advantage.
So, let’s begin!
Changes in Google meta description length
Google presents a description of every search result just below the link of the page. This is called the meta description that site owners need to provide for their web pages.
Earlier, the meta description max length used to be around 160-165 characters. But now, it has been increased to 230 characters and more. In fact, many new search results are showing characters around 270-320 in the organic snippets. This description length increase is becoming more and more visible in the SERPs day by day.
According to Google, the change has been introduced to help out the users in finding relevant results. The longer snippets will allow the users to select the most suitable result available in a SERP.
Opportunities of new meta description character limit
Google is focusing towards the user experience with this shift. However, this new snippet length can definitely provide some new SEO opportunities for the site owners and content marketers.
1. Detailed information about a web page
From a user’s point of view, the detailed information in the snippets will help in selecting effective pages. This way, the searchers can ensure the page relevancy even before clicking a page link.
But that same property will help the site owners too. Now, with the 230 to 320 characters, the site owners can conveniently explain their web pages.
A web page contains information related to web designing and explains navigation, graphics, icons and other aspects.
Earlier with 160 characters, this web page could get only one or two sentences about web designing.
But now, the page can have a longer description of about 230 characters. So, the site owner can include various aspects of web designing that are present in the page content.
This changes the meta description Google SEO completely. You are now able to provide more information without compromising the user experience.
2. Better content promotion
The choice of words has always been a struggle while writing meta descriptions. It was difficult with 160 characters to promote and SEO-optimize the descriptions at the same time.
So, this Google snippet length increase should be a good news for the site owners. Now, there are more characters to seamlessly combine promotional language with the SEO language in the snippet text.
It is true that the organic snippets are more dynamic and selected according to the query. But you can definitely empower your high-quality web pages with crisp and SEO friendly search descriptions.
Potential challenges of new Google meta description guidelines
Just like any other update from Google, this one also presents some potential concerns for site owners.
But don’t worry!
You can tackle each and every challenge by revising your SEO strategy a little bit. For that, you need to understand those challenges first.
So, here they are,
1. CTR dilemma
Longer text in the snippet can help in inducing the interest of the searcher to click on the page.
But, what if the searcher is looking for a simple answer?!
Then, the text picked by Google in the snippet can provide all the needed information. Hence, the searcher might not feel the need to click on the page link.
This definitely presents the threat of impacting the CTR in a negative manner.
How to tackle- Your job of creating meta descriptions becomes much more critical now. It is important that you provide valuable information without losing the interest of the searcher.
Putting valuable information in the snippet text makes the page seem more relevant to the asked query. But it is the promotional language that brings the searcher to your web page.
Along with both the mentioned traits, you should also include the SEO factors in the text. This way, you will help Google in picking your meta description as the snippet text. Otherwise, Google may use any random content piece from your web page.
2. Increase in the ranking competition
With more number of words in every SERP, the search engine might present fewer results on each page.
So, it can increase the ranking competition. Which is why the web pages will require more aggressive snippet presentation in order to reach and sustain desired rankings.
How to tackle- Two SEO elements can help you tackle this problem,
Competitive analysis and better content.
You need to reanalyze the SERPs that you are competing for. Look at the content quality and the snippet presentation of the web pages around your web page.
Then, use the gained information to re-optimize or re-create your content.
In short, you need to become better than your competitors to obtain and sustain rankings.
3. Traffic reduction
Every rank in the SERPs delivers a certain percentage of traffic share to the web pages. And that traffic share decreases as going down in the SERP.
This is why the top ranking pages get most of the traffic.
But with longer snippet text length, the users are now required to scroll more to reach lower pages. So, there is a chance of a reduction in the traffic share for the low ranking web pages.
The pages ranking below 5 might experience some reduction in the traffic share than usual.
How to tackle- The solution for this problem is similar as for the ranking competition. The first approach should be to obtain rankings in one of the top 5 in the SERP.
Along with that, you need to work on obtaining high CTR in your current rankings with better meta description SEO approach.
4. Old meta descriptions
The old meta descriptions have the 160-165 character limit. So, it is going to be a challenge for the website owners to rewrite all of them for new character limit.
Also, there are different opinions on rewriting the meta description for the new limits. Some experts are asking to avoid description rewriting. But, some are in the favor of the contrary.
How to tackle- The best option here would be to choose your top performing pages and rewrite their description. If you are confident about your content quality, leave the rest of pages with the same old description text.
To prioritize for meta description rewriting, you can analyze your competitors’ actions too. If they are making changes, then, you need to upgrade as well. This is the only way to sustain the rankings and CTR.
5. Non-updated SEO tools
The SEO tools you are using might present red flags when you go beyond 160 characters. Hence, the site owners are required to upgrade the SEO tools for new snippet text limit.
How to tackle- If you have your own CMS system, then, increase the meta description limit to 230 at least. However, you can keep the limit up to 300 to 320.
If you are using a commercial SEO tool, then, count the characters on your own for the new limit until you get the upgraded version.
How to write a meta description for longer organic snippets
Here are all the meta description best practices moving forward:
1. Present more data smartly
You can present more data now, so use it to your advantage.
While writing meta descriptions, make sure that you are keeping user experience and your business goals together.
Pick different language tones for different types of pages. The user should obtain a feeling of relevance with the provided meta description.
For instance, you can provide a promotional summary in the meta description if the purpose is content marketing.
Similarly, you can explain the product benefits while promoting an e-commerce web page.
And if you are presenting your business website, then, explain the service benefits in the meta description.
In a nutshell, the description of a web page should connect the searcher with the content and the required action.
2. Use keyword varieties
With more sentences, you can now use multiple varieties of keywords in the meta description. However, keyword stuffing is still a big NO.
The best meta description for SEO would be the one that smartly introduces keyword variations.
You can pick a variety of keywords from the subheadings, which you have used in the content. But don’t overstuff them in the description text.
This keyword variety will increase the chances of Google presenting the provided descriptions in the organic snippets.
3. Motivate to get clicks
The keywords do the half of the job only. Because it is the context of the meta description that decides the CTR. Hence, you need to develop an interest in the searcher to click on your page. And that is possible only with a crisp and query focused description.
Every query asked is a problem, no matter if the searcher wants a product or needs some information.
So, with every description, you need to tell searchers how effectively your web page can resolve their problems. This will bring more clicks for you.
A great tip would be to read the descriptions provided in the targeted SERPs. You can pick some useful words and phrases from there to make your snippet more clickable.
Ready to improve?!
Now, that you have understood all aspects of Google’s new snippet length, it should help in improving your descriptions. Focus on business goals, keyword balance, and CTR motivation to create perfect meta descriptions from now on.