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Google's Meta Title & Description for your SEO in 2020


Introduction

For the year 2020, Google has made quite a few changes to their display for meta titles and descriptions. This affects the SEO practices for web pages. However, Google’s advice for users is to put less focus on the length of your meta title and description, as the way Google selects its snippets are dynamic and not pulled directly from the meta description that you have set. What Google decides to show on the search result that is pulled from your webpage is dependent on what the searcher’s query is and the content on your page.


According to Google, there isn’t a limit on how long a meta description should be, but the search engine itself will edit the portion itself as needed to fit within the acceptable range of the device’s width. On average, the meta title length is about 51 characters, and the average meta description is about 167.23 words. Here are some best practices on how meta titles and descriptions to improve Search Engine Optimisation for your webpage.


Best Practices

Title Tag

Title tags should be brief, but accurately describe what the content of the page is. Create a title that reads naturally and allows users to understand the topic of the page’s content. It is important to have a unique name for your title, instead of having the same titles as other webpages as Google might not be able to distinguish them as different entities. If the title tags are too long, Google will automatically shorten them to fit the resolution, but it might not allow the full meaning to be expressed properly. Keywords are one of the most important things to look out for, as high-value keywords can help to increase your visibility and ranking if done correctly. 


Meta Description

Google does not set a minimum or maximum value for the meta description, but it is recommended by Google that it is written long enough to be seen in search results, although the difference in screen resolution can affect how much is revealed in the meta description. It should have unique descriptions for each webpage, instead of having the same repeated text over and over again so as to prevent the web pages from getting penalised from Google. It can also help the user when they are trying to find a particular keyword from your website. It is important for the meta description to be an accurate summary of what the content in the webpage is. It should be no longer than 160 characters, which include spaces, and the keywords should be included naturally as part of the description.



Changes By Google

In this year, Google has made some significant changes to the allowed length of the meta titles and descriptions. By increasing the character space allocated in order to display more words in the search results, we are now able to include slightly more content in our meta titles and descriptions. Google has also increased the space for results showing after a search. Previously, the width in which meta titles and descriptions had to fit into was 500 pixels wide, which has now increased to 600 pixels wide. Going into the details of what exactly was changed for on page SEO in the length of meta titles and descriptions that are acceptable, here is what changed for desktop and mobile.


Desktop

The general rule of thumb for writing titles is to keep it to nothing more than 55-60 characters. Due to the increase in width of the reach results, titles can now increase to 70-71 characters, which is about another 1 or 2 words that could make a difference in your title. You can even add your brand name if you haven’t to improve your branding. However, regardless of the changes in length of the title, you should still monitor the difference between your old and new titles to see which works best for you.


Mobile

For mobile titles, the length for meta titles has increased significantly from 55-60 characters to 78 characters. This means that you can add about 2-3 more words in your description, which is slightly longer than the improvement for desktop by 7-8 characters. Meta descriptions were known to have lesser character leeway for mobile, with a maximum of 130 characters. But with the changes by Google, the length for meta descriptions has now increased to even 170 characters, which is way more than what is recommended for desktop. If your website traffic is higher on mobile than desktop, then you might want to place a little more attention to optimise your meta titles and descriptions for it.



Conclusion

These changes are interesting, especially since there is more character allowance in mobile search results than desktop. But these changes may not be a bad thing, since it can benefit those who are struggling with word count and need just a little more space to display their full title and descriptions. Search Engine Optimisation is not easy, but with the right targeting and tools, you will be able to generate higher leads to your page. Want to know more about how to improve your SEO for your website? You can contact us and we will help you!