Character limits are often the bane of any SEO or social media marketers. Trying to come up with a compelling headline or an adequate description of a company that fits in the allotted space can be problematic, especially if you content contains names or proper nouns. While character limits aren’t going away, according to reports, Google may soon be allowing for longer headlines in Google Search snippets and longer posts in Google My Business.
Last week, RankRanger‘s tracking tools showed that the average length of page titles in search results has increased from 55 characters to 83 characters on average (at the time of this writing). This would increase the amount of space for headlines by about 25 percent. Unfortunately, Google hasn’t commented on this change yet, so the uptick seen last week could be the result of a temporary test.
While there is a good chance the Google will implement a change like this in time (if they have ability to show longer headline text without affecting click through rates and ad revenues, they will probably do so), website owners shouldn’t immediately jump at the opportunity to extend their headlines. Until Google makes an official announcement or confirmation, there’s a chance that things can revert to the way they were, and then all of the headlines would be too long.
In a similar piece of news, Google is changing the length of posts on Google My Business. According to media reports, Google has changed the length of posts published via Google My Business to 1,500 characters. This changes from the previous version where the length of Google My Business posts was based on words, not characters.
Google also used to require a minimum of 100 words per post, up to a maximum of 300 words. Now, the minimum words requirement has been removed, but changing from the limit to characters instead of words can lead to posts that are shorter than they were before.
According to an article from Search Engine Journal, “In most cases, users will find that the maximum length for posts has been shortened, as 1,500 characters are approximately the equivalent of 250 words.”
Whether or not the posts are longer will depend on the types of words chosen. Unless the writer is able to keep their words under five characters each, most users will be hard pressed to stretch 1,500 characters into 300 words or more. So in the end, this could lead to short Google My Business posts, but the lengths will be more consistent since they will be limited by character rather than by the number of words.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Though users normally want to have as much space as possible for a post, it’s important to remember that posts on social media, which includes Google My Business in this case, people want quick and easy-to-digest information. If a post for Google My Business seems like it would be longer than 300 words, that content is probably best used as an article on the website and then use the post to draw people to that link .
Google is a company on the move, and it’s important to keep up with the latest changes to get the most out of Google’s many services. For more news about social media changes, check out this article on Twitter’s latest test to embed ads into timelines.