Google is constantly updating and evolving. Once upon a time, the length limit for title tags and meta descriptions was measured in characters, and so using Excel or a text editor to ensure compliance was easy. Nowadays, this all happens by pixel length – which really complicates the situation! The meta title is listed in one font size, the meta description in another, the URL in another – it’s enough to make your head spin. That’s where our SERP simulator comes in.
Using the SERP Simulator
With this tool, you can get a preview of what your search results will look like on the Google desktop SERP. It automatically calculates pixel width in real time and updates the title tag and meta description with the (…) at the same point where Google will in a normal browser window. It can also process your URL and convert slashes to “>” in the same way that Google does, so you can see how the whole thing comes together. This is incredibly valuable for SEO, because a high quality appearance in the search results will greatly increase your click-through rate (CTR) – leading to more organic traffic and (hopefully) conversions. Here’s how we’d recommend getting started:
Make sure you have your target keyword (or keywords) in-hand and a draft of the page’s content. This will help you make meta data that will perform best both in terms of rankings and click-through rates. Start by crafting a title tag – it should be short and snappy and ideally should start with your primary keyword. If our client “ACME Corp” was making a page to sell steel widgets and gizmos, a reasonable example of a title tag could be: “Steel Widgets & Gizmos | ACME Corp”. The thing you really want to avoid is having the title tag be too long, so that Google displays it with a “…” at the end. That’ll hurt your click-through rate, so make sure you plug your title tags into this tool and shorten them until that goes away. The same thing applies to your meta description. You’ve got a bit more space here, so you can write a sentence or two that will appear in the snippet. For our ACME example, it could be “ACME Corp sells only the highest quality steel widgets and steel gizmos, and ships internationally even on short notice. Click to explore our catalogue.” This description includes the each relevant keyword (which the search engine will display in bold on the SERP) and ends with a call-to-action (CTA) – another great way to increase your click-through rate.
SEO Tips and Other Tools
If you’re new to SEO and would like some more SEO tips, make sure to check out our company blog. In addition to our SERP simulator, we’ve also created several other SEO tools that you can find in our resources section – like apps that will let you check your title tags and meta descriptions in bulk!