Recent title tag and META description changes (lengths increased)

By Rune Jensen Onsite SEO, Real talk, Rumours, Search Engine Optimization 17 Comments

In recent months, Google has rolled out some fairly large changes in its search results design, by significantly increasing the width of the main search results column. It’s crucial for marketers and SEO professionals to understand these changes, to take full advantage of SEO efforts. Let’s just get right into it.

These changes really effect all Google listings now, as the column for organic search results is now 600 pixels, which has changed from 500 pixels. The white space between the results and features in the right sidebar is now 65 pixels, up from 60.

What effect do these changes have for marketers?

Well, now search results can be seen higher on pages. Listings that would have otherwise shown up lower on the page have a chance to show up higher. With this change, many features in the main search results column are shorter than before, so some organic results will be raised higher on the page. This is great news.

Additionally, with the change in text, there is a new title length. Rather than only getting 55-60 characters to work with in the title, Google is now giving 70 characters to work with. Descriptions have also been increased by 16-20 characters. You might have also noticed that local map packs are different. They have increased and are now the same size as featured snippets.

Another change that is important to know about is that tags have been increased from 50-60 characters to 70-71, which means you’ll be able to fit at least one more word into your tagging efforts. Just an extra word or two can really boost efforts.

With increased meta descriptions, searchers will have a better idea of what pages are about before clicking, so it is of the upmost importance to type up good descriptions.

Well, there you have it. Stay tuned for more online marketing podcasts like this. I’ll talk to you next time!

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Comments 17

  1. Great Information Sharing… I would like to inform you that according to the Google Update, the length of title should be 70-71 & length of description should be 160. So, have Google changed for only some sites not for all?

  2. Yes, Few sites are getting the 65 characters and rest getting the 70 characters. And most of the site analyzing sites also analyzing under old rules only, their need to update their tools too.

  3. This is great news. This provides the opportunity to craft a more compelling page title and description, which can only be good for CTR which is a strong ranking signal.

  4. I think the new title length increases is mainly for usability. With the old title length structure (65 characters) you could get away and rank a lot of keywords by exceeding the character limit. Google will still see everything in the title even if we don’t.

  5. Yes, you are right.
    I myself have noticed this change. I think Google has done this because it has stopped showing the right sidebar ads that it used to show in SERP results. Now they have more space and they want to utilize it to give better experience to their visitors.

  6. I’d like to believe Google is making these changes as a nice gesture to us, but of course it’s to improve the usability of Google itself, and surely has some sort of positive effect on the number of people who click Adwords ads. But hey, I’ll take it – more title and description space is always welcome.

  7. Such a detailed writing I just read from the above article and I just fell in love with this writing style.

    Google always help users and SEO agencies as well. In return, Google wants agencies to produce quality SEO work leading to good and informative content for the users. This is not a bad deal at all. Increasing Pixel size is one of the examples of it.

  8. Title tags and meta-descriptions are an integral part of SEO that cannot be compromised with. So, coming across this article has been an informative experience for me. Google is dynamically varying every moment with its new algorithm changes and SEO rules. Thus knowing every update at the right time proves very useful for one’s online business

  9. Great news Rune, I haven’t checked the blog in awhile and was very pleased to hear about the new Google changes in title and meta description. This mean more space for extra keywords or just a space for meaningful titles and metas.

  10. I really like that they increased these lengths. I’ve always had problems with being a bit over in terms of text lengths when wanting to insert (Keyword – Keyword Phrase – Brand) type layouts. One thing I have noticed is that Google sometimes just sets it’s own title for your pages sometimes instead of using the ones you have set for it. I suppose this happens when they don’t like the page title you’re using.

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