It’s official: as of December 2017, Google extended the character limit of meta descriptions to about 300 characters.
The good news is: it’s a lot of extra real estate and hence a huge opportunity to improve SEO. Additionally, many popular SEO plugins, free and paid ones, have already updated their setup to help you manage updates of meta descriptions.
The bad news is that even if your business website is on a robust CMS and you have a user-friendly way to update meta descriptions, it is still a manual task, and it is also very time-consuming, which for many business owners means paying their SEO consultants or SEO agencies for many hours of additional work.
Before you panic, here is what you need to know about meta description changes and ways to save you money and time:
Google’s New Meta Descriptions’ Character Limit: All You Need to Know to Improve SEO
Junior level SEO talent, and even interns who have no SEO experience, can be of huge help to your organization when working on SEO projects like updates of meta titles or meta descriptions. Here are must-take strategic steps for a project engaging unexperienced team:
1. Set up Your Website Content Management System to Be User-friendly without Coding Skills
In most of my projects I use WordPress with Yoast SEO plugin (free or paid version) that makes it super easy to update content, including meta titles and descriptions. The plugin will even count characters and alert you when you are over the limit.
The most frequent issue I face with my clients and potential clients is that they don’t have a robust CMS or plugins either because they don’t know they can have it, or because they think that they can’t afford it. But what if I told you that a truly well optimized, user-friendly, and customized to your needs WordPress could be as affordable as $1,000? Eventually, I will shoot a video explaining why and how (and why most agencies and consultants do not tell you that), but for now, if you don’t have an easy to update site and would like to learn about affordable options to set one up, contact me.
2. Provide In-depth Training to Your Team
It doesn’t matter if your interns or junior level team members don’t know SEO at all. If you thoroughly train them on best practices of meta description update, they will be able to produce results. After all, meta description update is one of the easiest on-page optimization tasks in SEO. However, it’s also important that your team members understand your business, products or services, and your key goals. Make sure to include it into the training.
3. Ensure Efficient Project Management
Working with interns or junior level talent has one disadvantage: you can’t hand it off and forget it. You have to overlook the project (or have an experienced SEO strategist take charge), establish effective team communication, correct mistakes, and help your team learn in the process. Project management is a skill and it requires dedication, but it’s so worth it when you see the traffic and conversions coming in from improved SEO.
What if You Don’t Update Meta Descriptions?
Luckily, taking no action on this Google change should not result in any negative impact. In fact, Moz recommends meta description length of 50 – 300 characters, so your old meta descriptions should do just fine. But why would you leave money on the table and not take advantage of all the extra real estate, if you now have a way to execute quickly and cost-effectively?
If you are not sure how to segment your content to identify most important pages and posts to update for maximum SEO wins, or you do not know how to set up your technology to be user-friendly, schedule a free strategy call with me. Sometimes 30 minutes of your time can change a lot.