Its official Google has changed the way in which it shows the fragments in a good part of the search results, making the meta-descriptions longer in order to provide “more descriptive fragments” of each web.
The “meta descriptions” are the last lines of text that are displayed below the URL of each page in the organic search results and that are intended to define what the user will find on that website.
This field now has up to three or four lines of text and, most importantly, it does not show what was put manually in the place of the meta description, which could go down in history as it happened in your day with the meta keywords.
What does Google now consider to show in the meta descriptions?
From Google have confirmed that this change in the rules of the game to make meta descriptions longer (of the 155 characters has been increased to 300, although the average is 230) this seeks to offer the user more information about each result that returns to their searches.
Watch out, today this does not happen on all websites. The point is that the length of the description has been increased in those that are well optimized and have sufficient content and traffic, while those that do not meet these requirements still show their meta description as it was.
In some cases, the search engine takes the first lines of the main text of each web to show it in this descriptive snippet, although in other cases (depending on the design and configuration of each web) it seems to do so by using the most relevant article or the algorithm considers more representative of the “activity” of that page.
The problem, considerations on the margin on the influence of all this in SEO, is that Google “absorbs” everything you get in your way when it comes to extracting that content.
Our web has in its home and its sections stacked news modules, with the first of them highlighted in a larger size. There were some more recent ones than the one you used to take the text for the snippet.
We have two possible theories about it: you have chosen the beginning of the text of the article that was mostly related to the title of our page; or you have selected the last one of the post chosen by us as “Essential Content” (the functionality of Yoast SEO implemented a while ago to highlight publications).
We understand and hope that this can be solved, now or later, by marking data in Google Search Console. Or it will play changing the composition of the home and/or even the theme, as the last extreme.
Why does the title also change?
Instead of using the title that we indicated in our snippet configuration of the front page of our website, what Google does now is to show the short description that appears in the General Settings of the web manager.
All these conclusions are the result of the deductive reconstruction that we have made of our case and those of our clients since there is no more information until now by the Mountain View search engine.
A spokespersons of the company, such as the webmaster trends analyst John Mueller, have swum in ambiguity by stating that snippets in general and meta-descriptions, in particular, have always been, to a lesser or greater extent, “dynamic” elements according to the queries.
Are longer descriptions better? that’s the dilemma
Many webmasters and SEOs have lacked the time to make their meta descriptions longer after hearing the news, oblivious to this information at this time (Google can change the rules, as we know when they please) is not going to serve much.
In each case, check where you have extracted it and optimize it. In most cases it takes, as we said, the beginning of the main text of our website (find out what is for Google), but with the provision that you can include items that do not interest us.
There are many questions that we can ask after this change to meta longer descriptions. For this reason, another recent news from our beloved search engine is to block many results with accordion boxes of “Other questions from users”, which by clicking on each one displays the response provided by a web that does not show at first glance.
We would bet that those websites have a lower CTR with that system than if they were shown in the same position in the traditional style. Why is this happening? Well, because the fragment that Google shows is so accurate that it often makes it unnecessary to obtain more information.
The longer meta descriptions of Google pursue the maximum possible semantic match with the user’s search
The recent information it seems to be proven and stable, its proven by multiple tests, that if the query that a user makes in Google coincides or closely approximates the owner of your article or the title of your website, in that case, the search engine does show the first ones 300 characters of the text, as long as they include the keyword or keywords of the query.
If this does not happen, Google will extract the part where it appears for the first time within the article. It can even show phrases from different paragraphs or content areas that together respond to the user’s search. It will also take what there is along the way if necessary (tags, author’s name, date, etc.) until completing the current expanded quota of characters and ending, often, in the hated ellipses. We have continued to fiddling and doing Google stuff to see what happened and we have detected something curious that corroborates what we are saying.
We did an experiment and we decided to change the URL. Instead of meta descriptions, we put meta-descriptions and did the relevant redirection.
Well, it turns out that if you now search for “longer meta descriptions” or “meta longer descriptions”, it does not matter if one or another, the post appears first and second in its double version of URL … and also meta description!
In the first position, the version of the definitive URL comes out with the meta description of almost 300 characters that Google extracts from the text (this time, without dragging elements such as author, date, tags, names of the buttons of social networks …). Why does this happen? Because in the text the word meta description always gets separated. In this case, it coincides with the beginning of the text, where we include the keyword long tail “meta longer descriptions”.
In the second position the version of the initial URL with the meta description that we put the “old-fashioned”, respecting less than 155 characters. Why? Because it’s the only “bad” place in the whole article where we put the word “meta-descriptions” altogether so that he had no choice but to pull out. It is the only place where it exactly matches the search performed.
In case there were doubts, the cotton test. And if the query is not so textual and we introduce a small change? We try to find “longer meta descriptions” and our post comes out again, but with a different meta description. Why does this happen? Again, because it is the only time in the whole article where we have put the word in English “meta descriptions”.
Our conclusion, therefore, to date is that the algorithm directly seeks the maximum possible textual semantic match of the query with the content of the articles or the web that shows in the results. Not as yet, where I was doing that but from the meta descriptions that we chose and optimized with the aim of achieving the highest possible CTR.
All this explains why Google needs longer meta descriptions (which does not hurt either, on the other hand, as Esteve Castells pointed out days ago, to increase the time users spend on their results page) and that it also goes in the line of their desire to reach the maximum in their searches, even if it is passing over our corpses. That at this rate is what it will leave.
And now, after the initial hesitations of the first hours after the change to the longer meta descriptions, the results in the mobile are the same as in the desktop computers. At least on the websites that we have tried.
Constant changes in SERPs or search results
If Google has implemented the significant change in the design of the SERPs for a long time, by eliminating the sponsored ad column (SEM) that appeared on the right, we now understand more the reason why the change was made, since in parallel it was noted that the main column of the search results page also became
Google increased the column of results of a search of notorious form, happen to have more or less 500 pixels to have 600 pixels, leaving more space for the “Titles” and “Meta Descriptions”.
These changes have had their impact, since from now on and certainly very gratefully by all SEO professionals, Google has expanded the number of characters in the snippets that collect the description of the page in question that appear in SERPs, so they could affect very significantly and positively in organic results. wider.
One of the most notorious benefits that these latest changes can bring is to be able to optimize more long tail keywords, since having more space, you can include long tail keywords that until now could not possibly have been included by lack of space. This fact can be very beneficial to include more natural texts and not so over optimized.
Recommendations on the increase of snippets or descriptions in the SERPs of Google
However, we DO NOT recommend that you optimize snippets or descriptions since Google has not been very keen to exceed the meta description of 165 characters. Therefore, we offer these tips or recommendations when optimizing your descriptions:
- All pages must have a description.
- All descriptions must be original. You can easily review if there are duplicates from the Screaming Frog tool among others.
- Take advantage of those keywords in the descriptions, as long as they provide quality and, most importantly, improve your CTR.
You can try to increase some of your descriptions of a specific page to perform tests, and so see what snippet collects, and based on which it appears, you optimize it, either with more text or not. Of course, remember that a high volume of your organic traffic can come thanks to that description, so do not try pages that give you a lot of business or important, since your CTR (Click Through Rate) can be harmed.
Also, not long ago, we could only include 60 characters to write the title, not only why Google recommends it, but because it was what appeared in the search results, now we can write up to 70 or 78 characters, taking more space to include some other keyword or a call to action (CTA), having the possibility of creating more informative and optimized titles and descriptions. The fact of being able to include any other “objective” keyword in the meta tags is one of the biggest benefits that Google has allowed, since until now including more words did not help in aspects of improvement of CTR because it did not become read by users on the results page.
This article was brought to you Copyandco.co.za . Copyandco is a Copywriting Agency based in Cape Town, South Africa.