We may be in the holiday season, but the folks at Google are certainly not on holiday. In just the last week Google announced 4 significant changes to their search engine results pages (SERPs.)
1) Longer search listing snippets/descriptions
The snippet or description of a search listing the text shown below the URL. Previously, snippets were about 160 characters. Now the average snippet is 230 characters, almost a 50% increase. You can see an example below.
Google often gets this snippet from the meta description tag, so you may want to edit the meta description tags of your website pages and add some extra info. Though keeping things short and sweet isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.
The next 3 changes involve Google adding more content above the search results…
2) More content inside Featured Snippets
Google often pulls content from one of the websites in the search results and displays it above the search results. Featured snippets used to be just text but now they may also include images and related searches. Here are some examples from Google:
3) Expanded Knowledge Panel
Knowledge panels are similar to Featured Snippets in that they attempt to give you information about the topic you are searching for without having to click on the search results and go to another website. Google has expanded the knowledge panel to include related searches with the heading “People Also Searched for”
4) Even more related topics
now while you’re researching a particular topic on Google—like soccer players for next year’s World Cup—and you search for Neymar followed by a search for Messi, you’ll see suggestions for related topics in the same vein at the top of the search results page so you can continue to discover other athletes during your search session.
If there’s anything SEO’s can be assured of, it’s that things will change tomorrow, that things will change next week. -Rand Fishkin
While the first change – longer search listing snippets – provides an opportunity for website owners, the other 3 changes are an expansion of Google’s content on the search results pages. As more text, images and related searches Google are put above the search results, it pushes the organic search results even further down the screen. As a result, organic search listings will probably get fewer clicks, making it even more important to do good search engine optimization to get your website the highest position you can in the search results.
If you’d like to talk with someone about your church SEO or SEO for your Christian business, school or ministry, contact us for a free consultation.