In 2014, Google changed search results meta title length and description length to speak to pixel lengths and approximate character length based on the width of characters.
Did Google Change Meta Title Length Using Characters or Pixels for Meta Titles?
The answer right now is – we don’t know. In mid May 2016, Google updated how it shows meta titles in search results. Previously, it would show up to around 60 characters (exactly 512 pixels) and then truncate and text after this. The various meta titles we’ve checked and other industry journals seem to show up to 70 characters (or what looks like 576 pixels long) on desktop and up to 78 characters on mobile devices.
In 2014, Google changed how they show meta titles in search results from a specific character length for meta titles to pixel length of 512 pixels. All reports of the update have spoken to character length in this new change. And the various meta titles we’ve checked seem to show from desktop results that it’s 70 characters in length, yet they fall somewhere around 576 pixels in length as well.
What About Google Meta Description Lengths?
Even though the length of the meta description has grown to 100 characters in the first description line, it looks as if currently, the actual meta description length is still in the range of 158-160 characters for now. Will Google make this update as well to increase the size of the meta description to 200 characters…or even add a 3rd line as some have seen in Google’s A/B Tests?
What Should Site Owners and SEOs Do To Update Their Meta Titles?
- Don’t Panic – This is not a reason to freak out. Plan your approach and create a strategy behind what content should be in this new available space. Don’t throw keywords in there to take advantage of this space. Keep your meta titles with 1-2 keywords for each page, yet ensure that you’re keeping branding, messaging, and user experience in mind. Remember, in some cases, shorter meta tags are preferred by Google and users.
- Keep your meta titles accurate. Engage your audience using language that will increase click thru rates. Don’t worry about filling as much space as possible – focus on giving users what they’re looking for.
- Know your site – and your titles. Be familiar with what pages are ranking on the first results page of Google, especially those pages that generate traffic and leads. If your titles are generating clicks that drive business, think about ways to increase this – not just fill up space.