The rise of the meta tags: the latest changes in Google’s SERPs that you need to know about
The sector of Search Engine Marketing has been stirred up this week by Google’s decision to make more changes to the look of its search result pages. They surprised us only three months ago with the elimination of the PPC advertising on the right margin, and this month kicked off with surprises related with SEO.
What exactly are the changes that this Google update has introduced?
First of all, we can see that the space used by the organic results of the Google search results were 500px, whereas the column for SEO is now 600 px.
This change is probably related with the previous modification of the search engine which eliminated the Adwords advertisements on the side, presumably to make the organic results stand out.
As regards the meta tags, this change may have been made to increase the CTR, which would add more value to the content contained in the Google snippet.
We have to consider the devices used when analysing these elements, because their size varies for mobile or desktop systems.
If we are using a desktop device, the increase is 20 characters, which means that 2 to 4 more words can be included than before.
As regards the description, it is not exactly clear how long this is because it shows extensions that are sometimes divided into 2 lines, and other times into 3 lines. What we can see is that each line consists of 100 characters at most, and there are 3-line meta descriptions with a maximum of 278 characters.
When did this change take place?
The first mention on social media came from a Reddit user , and those who were unaware of this item found out two days later when Ross Hudgens dropped the bomb on his Twitter account. Since then, the news has gone increasingly viral.
What should we do?
Now we know what the changes are, we have to decide how to handle this the best way for our website.
First of all, we have to remind ourselves that we don’t know if this change is permanent or if Google is testing it, so we must tread carefully when optimising our meta tags for these new sizes, and not take advantage of the change to fill this extra space with keywords, which could see us accused of being spammers. We have to optimise our meta tags with the main keywords of the landing page returned by the query and take advantage of the extra characters to add our brand without worrying about space overrun and the dreaded ellipsis.
Finally, we should not be concerned about this new update because any changes that Google makes to its presentations are always motivated by a desire to improve the user experience and engagement, so these modifications may be part of an experiment by Google to gather sufficient information about the impact of SERP advertisements in the CTR.