What Does Google Update do for Rich Snippets and SEO?
What does Google update do for rich snippets and SEO? Google has done an update on meta description and snippets character length limit. This is a major change for not only Google but also SEOs. Read on to find out about these changes, when they were affected and their implication on SEO.
So, what does snippet mean? A snippet is a brief and quotable passage of information. Simple as that!
For both on mobile and desktop, this is the length of the snippet display for a given result in any search engine results provided by Google. These snippets are obtained from the meta description tag of a web page. Therefore, the snippets’ length has an impact on the meta description. The meta description is the number of times snippets are written. Google said it had officially increased the recommended display length as well as the snippet length of the text that will appear on any standard organic results.
When doing a search query on “Keyword Prominence” , which is an article written by Resocate.com that talks about the significance of Keywords and Keyword Science. You can clearly see that the new update for longer snippet is visible versus the snippet that is shorter before the update. The image below showcases just that and we decided to use it here so you can notice the difference.
If it was before mid-December, you could be seeing the out-of-date 165-character limit on most of these search results. According to the information from SISTRIX, that has put out an excellent report, beyond 90% of the search snippets were 165 characters or below before mid-November. Sometimes Google would have a length limit for specific types of search results, however, not more than 90%. This has since changed.
Therefore, instead of the normal two to three lines on your mobile and desktop, you will be seeing about three, four, five and sometimes six lines of text. The snippet from Resocate.com is in fact 282 characters.
This is because Google realized that it was important to show it to the end instead of showing the ellipsis. If it were to be the 165 characters, it could be cut off somewhere right there. Hence, the new length offers the best display.
If a new searcher is looking for a basic understanding of something in your field, for instance, they have not yet heard about keyword prominence; they would find out by reading the rich snippet below. After searching, they will read, “ The way to succeed in an SEO campaign is to start with strong keyword prominence. Keyword prominence in this case has everything to do with how many times the…” then cut off. This is how the meta description would look like in November.
Normally, I have to visit the actual site by clicking through to learn more in case I got this shorter snippet. This is because it doesn’t give me enough information. Google has now dealt with this by using things such as a featured snippet, which sits at the top of your search results. They are short but give expansive answers. Now I can get the continuation of my meta description, which is ” …keyword is being mentioned. The meaning of keyword proximity is the distance between the search term’s individual keywords.” Simply because Google has lengthened it.
You might probably say that this explanation of what “keyword prominence” isn’t full, which I agree. Nonetheless, for most researchers, this a standard explanation. The extension has done the trick, i.e., from 160 characters to 246 or 282 characters. Hence, searchers don’t have to click for more information.
What Has Changed for Meta Description?
The change that has happened here is that of Google updating two things; the length of the snippet and its guidelines. This can have a lot of impact on SEO as well.
Google had some historical guidelines for keeping any meta description tag about 160-180 characters. I believe this was the number. They’ve since updated this to where there is no officially recommended length of the meta description. But on Twitter, Sullivan said he is not likely to make it more than 320 characters. Actually, other information providers, who collect search result from available data didn’t find most characters exceeding 300.
When Did Meta Description Change?
This changes started at about mid-November. This is because November 22nd was when SISTRIX’s dataset began noticing the increase; which was over 50%. It’s now at about 51% of the total search results that contain longer snippets in any 1 of every top 10 results by December 2nd.
Isn’t it amazing that 51% of the search results contain at least one longer snippet? The many others are due to old meta descriptions, or other meta descriptions whose SEO has been optimized for the previous 165 character limit-which are still short. There is a lot of e-commerce action because it’s holiday time. In case you’re the person in all or most of your search results, update your page right now. You might get more search results in the SERPs as compared to your competitors because they’ve not probably updated their pages.
Meta Tags for SEO
Below are three things you should know on how these changes will affect SEO:
A. How Digital Marketers Write and Optimize Meta Descriptions.
We will write a bit differently because we got space. We will have to entice people to click while we stay very conscientious in trying to answer most of this in the search results. This is because even if we seem to be sacrificing our clicks by allowing the searcher get answers they need from the search results, Google is likely to rank us highly if we do this to our search results.
B. Effects on Click-Through Rate.
We’ll be checking Jumpshot data for the next few months or years. We believe they will do this in two ways: Negatively, this means that there will be fewer clicks on any less complex query. However, it will possibly get more clicks in more complex queries because most people are enticed by lengthy descriptions. This is what you would want to do as an marketing strategy.
C. Lower Click-Through Rate in the Search Results.
In case you believe that this is changing the real estate that used to be taken up by three results with only two, as of just a month ago; well, perhaps most people won’t scroll that far down. Probably the ones that are high up will draw more clicks while those further down on the first-page being of less value than before.
Steps SEO Should Take
Here are some things you have to do. One, make a list of priorities of your important landing pages by the search traffic-the one receiving most search traffic on your site. I guess you probably have the list already. Then you will reoptimize the page’s meta descriptions for more lengthy limits.
You can now make your judgment. You should also visit the SERPs that send you the highest traffic, i.e., the one in which you’re ranking highly. They should be probably between 250-300 characters. Check out its limits by yourself. You can then optimize it for the above range.
Also, update your meta description tag from the old range, about 160-180 characters, to the new range, about 230-320 characters. This is possible if your CMS has rules about the length of a meta description tag or you have an internal processor. Generally, It shouldn’t look like the characters are less than 230 or longer than 320. Hence, you should aim to stay in this range.
I believe the question “What does Google update do for rich snippets and SEO?” is now answered.