How to Optimize Your New Meta Title and Meta Description Length – 2018 Google Update

How to optimize your new title tag and meta description length - 2018 updateGood news for SEO copywriters and all online business owners! Since Google has recently updated the meta description length and title tag length, we have more space to create compelling content that gets the clicks to our websites.

In the past, there was a lot of controversy about using the meta description. Some argued that it was useless, since Google quit using it to establish ranking. They did that because of the ones who were trying to game the system by keyword stuffing the meta description. However, savvy SEO copywriters have realized that the meta description is valuable real estate. It’s the bait that hooks the reader when they’re searching for answers to their question. But let’s back up for just a minute and explain what the meta description and title tags are…

When you want to find or learn something, more often than not you’ll Google it, since Google is the most familiar and most popular search engine. As soon as you type in, or voice, your query  Google supplies pages of possible sites for you to visit. If you’re like most people, if it’s not on Page 1, you’ll refine your query and try again. These Google pages are referred to as SERP or search engine results pages. A page often looks like this:

meta description length is now 300 characters

In the image above one of the Title Tags is: “Meta Description | Moz”

And under the url is the meta description: “Optimal length. Meta descriptions can be any length….”

Normally you’ll see ads at the top or to the side, because that’s how Google makes money. This is the driving force behind Google’s algorithm…to make money. However, to make money they want to create a great user experience for the reader. (UX is the abbreviation meaning “user experience”) If you don’t ever find what you’re looking for, you’re going to quit looking and go wash dishes or play with the dog. But if you find what you’re looking for you’ll probably stay online and do something else so that will expose you to more ads.

Up until December 2017, you were allowed a maximum of 156-160 characters, which was enough to create compelling copy that would make the reader want to read your article. But now we have around 300 characters for the meta description and 70 characters for the title tag. Woo hoo! This is a golden opportunity for you to really showcase your article.

How to optimize your 300 character meta description length

As I mentioned at the outset, many Google searches are now being done by voice query. My friends are holding their phones up to their mouths and saying, “okay Google what is ….?”

Do you use voice queries too?

Most voice queries are done in question form – “What is…? Where is…? Who is…? What’s happened to …? Where can I buy…” Think about how the reader is thinking when you’re writing. This will help you create the best meta description. My simple formula for optimizing your meta description is:

Who – Who will find this information useful? This should be your ideal prospect or client. So if you’re reaching out to SEO copywriters, begin your meta description with – “SEO copywriters are thrilled that…”

What – What is the main topic of this article? Continuing the above example… “SEO copywriters are thrilled about Google updating the length of the meta description to 300 characters and the title tag to 70 characters”

Where – Where can they use this information? Continuing the example… “SEO copywriters are thrilled about Google updating the length of the meta description to 300 characters and the title tag to 70 characters. It gives opportunities to write content that is keyword rich and compels the reader to click on your article.”

How – How is this information going to make your client’s life better? Continuing the example…”SEO copywriters are thrilled about Google updating the length of the meta description to 300 characters and the title tag to 70 characters. It gives opportunities to write content that is keyword rich and compels the reader to click on your article. This improves your popularity, which Google sees as a reason to move you up in the ranking.”

When – When can your prospect/client use this information? Continuing the example…”SEO copywriters are thrilled about Google updating the length of the meta description to 300 characters and the title tag to 70 characters. It gives opportunities to write content that is keyword rich and compels the reader to click on your article. This improves your popularity, which Google sees as a reason to move you up in the ranking. Start implementing this now to improve your ranking.

Why – Why should your client care about this information? Continuing the example…”SEO copywriters are thrilled about Google updating the length of the meta description to 300 characters and the title tag to 70 characters. It gives opportunities to write content that is keyword rich and compels the reader to click on your article. This improves your popularity, which Google sees as a reason to move you up in the ranking. Start implementing this now to improve your ranking to get more clients and make more money.”

“Michelle, that example is over the 300 meta description character limit”. I’m so glad you noticed. (If you don’t know how to check for the number of characters, go to the toolbar in your document. Highlight the portion of text you want counted and click on the Tools Tab and find Word Count. Click on that and you’ll see options like word count, character count with or without spaces. You want to look at the number after character count with spaces.

Answering the questions – who, what, where, how, when, why – gives you a rough draft that you can fine tune. Always keep your ideal reader in mind as you answer each question.

And do keyword research to find a phrase that is actually being searched for. For my example, after doing keyword research, I’m using the keyword phrase: “meta description length”. After tweaking it a number of times, I’m going to use this for my 300 character meta description:

“SEO copywriters and online business owners – ProWebCopy shows you how to optimize Google’s new title tag and meta description length. Learn to write keyword-rich compelling meta descriptions that grab your readers’ attention. You’ll become their go-to resource and Google may reward you with better ranking, which means more clients and cash in the bank.”

Did you notice I even worked some of my own branding in there? Yep, there’s plenty of room to toot your own horn, too.

Does this mean you should go back and re-write all of your meta descriptions to update to the 300 character limit? We don’t know how long Google will allow this increase, so it doesn’t make sense to do it yet unless… you haven’t optimized your article and blog posts for specific keywords that people are using right now.  I’d definitely keep watch on this and if this trend holds, by all means it would be worth it to go back and update your descriptions.

It’s important to note that sometimes Google ignores your meta descriptions and pulls in a paragraph they think is more relevant. So another point for making this description the  best paragraph about your article.

From this point forward, you should be taking advantage of this opportunity to optimize all future title tags and meta descriptions to the new character lengths. Remember that this meta description length does you no good if your content doesn’t get people to click on your link. So make it captivating. Make it compelling. Make it irresistible.

On the tech side, most websites use Content Management Systems (CMS) that allow you to easily insert your meta descriptions. For instance, sites like Wix or SquareSpace have SEO capabilities built into them. If you use WordPress, which I recommend, you can install  plugins like Yoast SEO to make it easy.

If you’re unsure about how to include the meta description on your website, contact me with the subject line: “Where’s my meta description?” Tell me what system you’re using and I’ll give you 30 minutes of my time for free to help you get comfortable with the process.

 

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