Tom Williams details the latest SEO news, including Google’s character extension for search results snippets.

Character Extension For Google Search Results Snippets

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The maximum character length for search results snippets has been extended to 320 characters.

A member of the Google team confirmed to Barry Schwartz:

We recently made a change to provide more descriptive and useful snippets, to help people better understand how pages are relevant to their searches. This resulted in snippets becoming slightly longer, on average.

Google’s Danny Sullivan also commented about this on Twitter:

@dannysullivan – Yes. It’s not your imagination. Our snippets on Google have gotten slightly longer. And agree with @rustybrick – don’t go expanding your meta description tags. It’s a more dynamic process.

It appears Google is informing webmasters not to make any changes to their current meta descriptions. Longer snippets are, according to Danny, a more dynamic process.

New Additions To Featured Snippets

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Google has made some more changes to featured snippets – by means of new features.

Here’s what you can expect:

  • More images and related searches inside selected featured snippets
  • Related content within these featured snippets
  • Related people

Ultimately, these additions are a way for Google to keep improving its user experience and providing new ways for its users to seamlessly reach their target audiences and interact.

Google Wants To Know Voice Search Filtering Preferences

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According to Google’s John Mueller, the search engine giant wants to find out what SEOs and webmasters would do with voice search queries in Search Console.

John took to Twitter:

I hear folks asking about voice search data in Search Console often. Can you elaborate on what you want to see there? What’s an example of such a query that would be useful?

If we don’t inform Google of our preferences, there is a chance we may not get these filters within the Search Analytics report in Search Console.

Google Gathers Few Organic Results By Testing Mobile Search Interface

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According to Barry Schwartz:

Justin Briggs has been in this Google test bucket where he is seeing Google mobile search results with very few organic results, mostly two organic listings, sometimes up to five but never more.

Also, there doesn’t appear to be a “next page” button. Instead, users can click “see more results”.

Barry Schwartz reckons this isn’t surprising, given that Google is always looking to test and improve elements of its user interface.

Best Answer Carousel In Google Search Results Snippets

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Apparently, Google is displaying a “best answer” box with other answers underneath search results snippets.

This is most common within results for Stack Exchange, as there are multiple answers to the forum post questions.

But what does this look like?

There is a carousel of Google’s answers, with the “best” answer first. Users can swipe or click through the answers to find what is most relevant to them at that moment.

Although Google wants users to locate their answers without having to click through, webmasters would rather this as it monetises the page content.

Whiteboard Friday – Implications of Longer Snippets for SEO

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There’s been a lot of chatter about snippets lately, including in last week’s Whiteboard Friday with everyone’s favourite Wizard of Moz – Rand Fishkin.

Rand discussed the new character limits for both snippets and meta descriptions, commenting on how these new limits are a big change for Google and SEOs.

Watch the latest episode to find out how these changes can impact SEO strategies.

 

More SEO News and Advice

Read last week’s SEO News Roundup: Google Warns Webmasters Against Misleading Event Markup.

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About the author:

Tom joined ClickThrough in 2011. Since then, he has developed an expertise in the technical side of search engine optimisation. He’s Google Analytics-qualified, and in his current role as digital and technical Executive, carries out monthly SEO activities and provides technical consultancy for several of the company’s largest accounts.