As announced by Google, they have rolled out two new result page improvements. The one we will focus on today is their LONGER SNIPPETS improvement.
Typically, when you search in Google, your results page will return a Title with about a line and a half description from which you will make the decision if this is a click worthy site or not. The words utilized in your search query are bolded to accentuate the relevancy of the results to you and in most cases have been pulled from your meta description.
Google felt like queries with more than three words deserved more of a snippet explanation. A longer description in these cases will allow enough information for you to determine whether or not this is the site you want to explore. The increase in the number of lines in the snippet allows for more text and shows more of the words you queried in the context of the page.
Try it out! Make sure to use a long, detailed query.
What does this mean for you and your SEO campaign? As searchers are getting more savvy and typing in exactly what they are looking for, their expectations are also increasing. They expect that their results will furnish sites that are relevant and accurate to their query. It is hard to jam all of this into a meta description. And if Google is providing longer snippets, where are they pulling it from? Your site content.
Here’s my take on it. As this “feature” gets utilized more and more, the meta description tag will lose more of its power, putting the emphasis back on the content of the site. Did it ever leave? No … not really. But meta descriptions are still being used and viewed as the line(s) that will entice the searcher to click on your site within the results. If the snippets are getting longer and being pulled from the site content, this all changes.
Secondly, if snippets are being pulled from site content, it just reiterates how important it is for Google to be able to not only read your body text, but for it to translate well when placed within a snippet.