Search Engine Optimization | Anurag Gupta | Last Updated: 2018-06-28
In November 2017, many SEO heads started noticing the extended length of the Google snippet in the search results. On 1st December 2017, Search Engine Land made the update official and wrote about Google updating its meta description length and increasing it to 320 characters, from the earlier 165 characters. The 165 characters limit had been restricting the content writers and marketers for as long as one can remember from writing descriptive meta description about the pages. However, after years, Google has finally increased the character limit. Now the writers can write a more elaborate meta description for their pages and entice the readers with richer and substantial content information. As per a Google spokesperson, We recently made a change to provide more descriptive and useful snippets, to help people better understand how pages are relevant to their searches. This resulted in snippets becoming slightly longer, on average. With the increase in the meta description length, the content marketers and SEO experts are revisiting the meta descriptions and trying to comprehend how this update is going to affect their content and its ranking. Meta Description Tag: An Overview
Meta description tags are the snippets that are used to summarize a page's content on the search engines. With RankBrain's intelligent ranking, the web crawlers are scanning through content with higher relevance and the meta description is proving helpful in substantiating the relevance of the page. The top SEO service providers also believe that adding the meta description, with the targeted keywords can impact the SERP ranking of the site positively. More than SEO, meta descriptions are beneficial in boosting the click-through rate.
Meta Description: Importance In SEO
Knowing the meta description magic is a must to enhance the visibility on search engines and get even more clicks. Writing informative meta descriptions that consist of the relevant keywords can help in getting more visibility and chances of getting clicked. The keywords in the meta description appear bold and help the search bots as well as the readers to easily identify the keywords that the content on the page targets. The increase in the length of the meta description would help the content marketers and the SEO heads alike to write SEO-friendly meta descriptions for search engine optimization.
What The New Length Means For SEO Experts
A meta description, with informative content showing the gist of the content within limited characters, is, undoubtedly, one of the 5 ways to get more clicks than the sites ranked higher than you. With the increase in the character limit for meta description, marketers get a better chance to include a rich and more descriptive meta description for showing the relevance of their content. This could, in turn, boost the click-through rate of the page. And this has not been hidden from any SEO expert that Google always gives a higher ranking to pages with higher CTR. So, writing a meta description that sums up the gist of the page in 320 characters, including the contact information, keywords, useful links, call-to-action, unique selling proposition etc., is a great way to get more clicks, and in turn, higher ranking.
Keywords are one of the fundamental strategies for boosting the SEO of any page. By adding targeted keywords in the meta description, the marketers not only increases their chances of getting higher rank on search engines but also allow the search engine bots to scan the content based on its relevance. With increased space for meta descriptions, marketers can include more keywords than before to get higher ranking.
Apart from adding keywords and making the content more descriptive, the SEO experts would also have to review the meta description of the top ranked pages, that experience high inflow of organic traffic to improve the meta description. Although Google's algorithms are designed such that they would extract the snippet of content for meta description, to avoid any risk, it is advisable to review and improve the meta description of the top pages to avoid getting pushed down the rank ladder.
Another advantage for the marketers, especially the SEO experts, of the increased meta description length is that they get more space to add LSI keywords (Latent Semantic Indexing keywords). LSI keywords are those that include the synonyms or related keywords got the focus keywords. Search engine bots looking for relevance in the content analyze the LSI keywords for indexing the site. Tools like Google Keyword Planner and other keyword tools can help you find LSI keywords that can be included in the meta description for a higher ranking.
To Update Or Not To Update The Meta Description
All Google is trying to do by increasing the length of the meta description is satisfy its users and their intent. However, this update on character limit for meta description has left the SEO heads and marketers confused. They are unable to comprehend whether they should update all the previous meta descriptions to meet the new guideline or let them stay as they were. Obviously, it is beyond the bounds of possibilities to change the meta description of each and every page. And that's not even necessary. If the content of the page has rich substantial information, Google will automatically extract snippet from the content (adding up to 320 characters or less) and display it as your meta description. Marketers can increase the length of meta descriptions written for the top ranking pages that receive organic traffic as well to not let this update negatively affect their SEO.
With Google officially increasing the length of the meta descriptions from 165 characters to 320 characters, the SEO experts and marketers are revisiting their meta descriptions to incorporate more keywords, LSI keywords, and descriptive content to enhance SEO and boost click-through rate. Webmasters and SEO heads can let Google automatically extract content for the snippets or manually add more content in the meta description for better ranking.
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