How Long Should Your Meta Description Be? (2018 Edition)

Posted by Dr-Pete

Summary: The end of November saw a spike in the average length of SERP snippets. Across 10K keywords (90K results), we found a definite increase but many oddities, such as video snippets. Our data suggests that many snippets are exceeding 300 characters, and going into 2018 we recommend a new meta description limit of 300 characters.

Back in spring of 2015, we reported that Google search snippets seemed to be breaking the 155-character limit, but our data suggested that these cases were fairly rare. At the end of November, RankRanger’s tools reported a sizable jump in the average search snippet length (to around 230 characters). Anecdotally, we’re seeing many long snippets in the wild, such as this 386-character one on a search for “non compete agreement”:

Search Engine Land was able to get confirmation from Google of a change in how they handle snippets, but we don’t have a lot of details. Is it time to revisit our guidelines on meta descriptions limits heading into 2018? We dug into our daily 10,000-keyword tracking data to find out…

The trouble with averages

In our 10K tracking data for December 15th, which consisted of 89,909 page-one organic … Read the rest

December 19, 2017  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

Your Daily SEO Fix: The Keyword Research Edition

Posted by FeliciaCrawford

Back in 2015, we had an epiphany. Every day, via every channel, you — our readers, subscribers, community members, and social followers — would ask us really good questions. (You’re an incredibly intelligent, friendly, inquisitive bunch, you know that? It’s humbling.) A lot of those questions were about how to accomplish your SEO goals, and it got us thinking.

Moz is an educational resource, it’s true, but we also offer a suite of tools (both free and paid) that can help you achieve those goals. Why not provide a space for those two things to converge? And thus, the idea of the Daily SEO Fix was born: quick 1–3 minute videos shared throughout the week that feature Mozzers describing how to solve problems using the tools we know best.

It’s two years later now, and both our tools and our industry have evolved. Time to revisit this idea, no?

Today’s series of Daily SEO Fixes feature our keyword research tool, Keyword Explorer. Perhaps you’ve heard us mention it a couple times — we sure like it, and we think it could help you, too. And you don’t have to be a subscriber to check this … Read the rest

March 9, 2017  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

Title Tag Length Guidelines: 2016 Edition

Posted by Dr-Pete

[Estimated read time: 5 minutes]

For the past couple of weeks, Google has been testing a major change to the width of the left-hand column, expanding containers from 512 pixels to 600 (a 17% increase). Along with this change, Google has increased the available length of result titles:

This naturally begs the question — how many characters can we fit into a display title now? When Google redesigned SERPs in 2014, I recommended a limit of 55 characters. Does a 17% bigger container mean we’ve got 9 more characters to work with?

Not so fast, my friend…

This is where things get messy. It’d be great if we could just count the characters and be done with it, but things are never quite that easy. We’ve got three complications to consider:

(1) Character widths vary

Google uses the Arial font for result titles, and Arial is proportional. In other words, different characters occupy different amounts of space. A lower- case ‘l’ is going to occupy much less space than an upper-case ‘W’. The total width is measured in pixels, not characters, and the maximum amount you can fit in that space depends on what you’re trying … Read the rest

May 31, 2016  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

The Incredible Shrinking SERP – 2015 Edition

Posted by Dr-Pete

In the beginning, there were 10 results, and it was good. Then, came expanded site-links and Google’s 
7-result SERP. Around the middle of 2014, we started to hear reports of SERPs with odd numbers of organic results – 9, 8, 6, 5, and even 4 page-1 results. At first, these were sporadic and hard to replicate, but they quietly expanded. This is a recent 4-result SERP for “autism speaks”:

By some counts, there are as many as 16 non-paid links on this page (not counting images), but by traditional SEO standards, there are only 4 true organic positions for which you can compete. So, what’s going on here? Is it just random, or is there a method to Google’s madness?

It’s all in the news

For a couple of months, I just assumed these strange result counts were some kind of glitch. Then I noticed an unusual pattern. Last October, Google rolled out the 
“In The News” Update. This update expanded news results to many new sources, but it also seemed to change the pattern of when news results appear. This is 28 days of data from MozCast’s Feature Graph (10K queries):

The presence of News results … Read the rest

April 9, 2015  Tags: , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments

Technical Site Audit Checklist: 2015 Edition

Posted by GeoffKenyon

Back in 2011, I wrote a technical site audit checklist, and while it was thorough, there have been a lot of additions to what is encompassed in a site audit. I have gone through and updated that old checklist for 2015. Some of the biggest changes were the addition of sections for mobile, international, and site speed.

This checklist should help you put together a thorough site audit and determine what is holding back the organic performance of your site. At the end of your audit, don’t write a document that says what’s wrong with the website. Instead, create a document that says what needs to be done. Then explain why these actions need to be taken and why they are important. What I’ve found to really helpful is to provide a prioritized list along with your document of all the actions that you would like them to implement. This list can be handed off to a dev or content team to be implemented easily. These teams can refer to your more thorough document as needed.


Quick overview

Check BoxCheck indexed pages  
  • Do a site: search.
  • How many pages are returned? (This can be way off so don’t put too
  • Read the rest

January 19, 2015  Tags: , , , , ,   Posted in: SEO / Traffic / Marketing  No Comments



TechNetSource on Facebook




TechNetSource » Edition