*Update: Google changed their minds! Within months of rolling out longer snippets, they rolled it back. We recommend checking your ranking pages.
Google snippets are longer than ever. Google just announced a new change to the length of the snippet that displays in search results for each website listed. This applies to both desktop and mobile searches. The longer snippet length is already rolling out with some sites affected since late November 2017.
The snippet, or meta description, is the text that is the teaser or information about what is on a particular web page. Here’s an example of a Google search for one of our clients, <shout out> Duke Fuqua School of Business. </shout out> Google has not specified exactly how many characters are permitted, but we can see that this is in the neighborhood of double the text we had previously. This is big news for SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
What Do Longer Snippets Mean For Your Website?
If you care at all about SEO (if you don’t, we’re just going to assume you must live under a rock in Antarctica and that “search” for you should probably be paired with “rescue”) then you need to adjust quickly. We can look at this two ways:
- At first glance, more text to describe your business or service is great!
- Additional glances reveal a potential problem: decreased CTR (click through rate)
Why a decrease in CTR? Well, the more information a person can get without actually having to go to a page, the more potential there is for the person to not feel they need to view the page at all if they got the answer they wanted in the longer snippet – or even ruled out your website based on the snippet information. This is why it’s going to be imperative to be strategic with this. It’s nice to have the option to provide more information, but the key is going to be to plan, plan, plan, and adjust again if needed. Google’s new update for longer snippets must be made to work for you, not against you.
What About Just Leaving the Shorter Snippet in Place?
Well, you can, but you’re also likely to then be taking up less real estate in the page results than your neighbors who will be using more space to provide more information. We’re also increasingly in a quick-glancing, skimming digital culture, so striking a balance between the two is important. Choose your words wisely. Be strategic. Compel viewers to click!
Learn more about another critical aspect of digital marketing for Google: Google AdWords PPC Marketing