Google Adopts Wider Results Column, Longer Meta Titles Digital Marketing News


Google’s search results page design has undergone a minor design change, which will have interesting implications for digital marketers. As of this month results have been delivered in a wider column, which supports longer meta titles and meta descriptions than previous iterations.

Organic Google Search listings now display meta titles of up to 70 characters in length, and *in some cases* meta descriptions of up to 100 characters per line.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the Google results page design, before and after this month’s change.

Google Adopts Wider Results Column, Longer Meta Titles

It’s hardly a radical difference, and it’s likely that many users simply won’t realise a redesign has taken place. The search results column, which used to be around 500px in width, is now up to 600px.

The most important outcomes of the move may lie in the character count rather than the appearance of search results. Webmasters will now have more room to play with when it comes to selling their webpages in meta descriptions – and there’ll also be more space for search engine optimisation within title tags.

From Google’s perspective, more title tag data crawled must translate into greater uniqueness in every web page – and in turn, the potential for better search results.

Action it!

The changes to Google’s results page design don’t necessarily demand immediate attention – but they do represent an opportunity to squeeze a little more juice out of your organic search marketing. At the very least, they should be noted ahead of your next round of changes to web content.

When you do act upon this issue, you’ll need to lengthen your title tags according to the new upper limit of 70/71 characters. You may also find yourself with 50-60 extra letters to play with in your meta descriptions.

Extending your meta descriptions is a worthwhile endeavour, as those extra characters will allow you to describe your content and services more accurately. Concision is a virtue, but if you’re struggling for valuable points to make about your business within a limit of 200 characters, your product may require some attention. Some meta descriptions are still going to be chopped off around the 140/150 character mark, so make sure your final fifty characters are useful but non-essential.

Exploiting the increased character limit for title tags is an especially smart bet, as the content of your title tag is one of the most important factors in determining your website’s Google search rankings. Whether you intend to add a keyword, further explain your proposition to the customer or add a brand mention, you now have a little more space to help you get your message across.

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