Google’s Recent SERP Changes and Tests: Everything You Need to Know

Google is always making constant changes to improve user experience, especially for speed, usefulness and functionality. In case you haven’t noticed recently, Google appears to be implementing changes and is running multiple tests.

Title Tag – Recently, Google appears to be increasing the length for the title tags and titles can go up to approximately 70-78 characters to search result pages. Before, the maximum length of title tag was from 55 – 60 characters (including spaces). A recent Google conference said that they will also be extending the length for Ads in mobile search results because it increased CTR by 20%.

title tag

This title tag has 74 characters

Meta Descriptions – Google has increased meta descriptions to about 100 characters per line which is about 268-270 character in total. It is based on width as a “W” takes up more space than an “I”. You will also see three lines of description instead of the usual two.

meta

In this case, this Meta description has a total of 281 characters excluding (…)

Space of Google SERP – It has also been reported that organic search results have been extended to 600 pixels wide from the old 500 pixels thereby extending the length of meta titles and descriptions. Though, there seems to be a variation between devices. Keep in mind that pixels, not characters, are the measurement that Google actually uses for search results and title length.

Mobile – These changes were also seen on mobile. Titles appears to have 7-8 characters more than the desktop titles with mobile title tags displaying across two lines instead of one line on desktop. But again, the results appear to be different with devices being used.

Notice the difference between mobile and desktop results:

space

Local 3-Packs Listings – This pack that has a new version that shows local results in main search. It has widened with detailed business information of the local business.

Link colors – Google has been carrying out A/B tests on different link colors by turning hyperlinks in search results to black instead of the iconic blue, much to the dismay of some people who have encountered it.

At the time of this writing, it is not yet certain if these changes will be permanent but Google’s John Mueller confirmed that it is an experiment. It’s probably too early to start changing your SEO approach and making major changes until it is official. If you are going to try it out, observing and conducting an A/B test would be ideal. You should probably be monitoring traffic and click-through rate (CTR) of old titles and versus the longer ones to see a negative or positive impact on your SEO.