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POV: Google shortens search results snippets

Updated: Apr 11, 2019

Google reverts to 160 character meta descriptions

What’s happened?

In December 2017, Google announced that the ideal length of search results snippets (meta descriptions) would be increased from 160 to 230 characters. However, as first reported by Search Engine Land, Google has now confirmed that it has returned to the original meta description length of 160.

Show me, show me!

RankRanger shows the average description length to be currently around 162.74 characters, whereas previously it was showing as above 300.

It is now recommended to have a meta description around 160 characters and relevant to the content on the website page.

How does this impact brands?

If a website has already extended title tags and meta descriptions, Google advises not to worry. Often, Google chooses the meta data to display based on the content of the web page. Therefore, a shorter versus longer meta description should not impact rankings.

Precision's thoughts

It is recommended to always follow SEO best practices. As Google says, if a brand already changed its website meta data to be longer, that is A-OK. If a brand is completing optimizations currently, it would be recommended to keep the meta descriptions to a length of around 160. However, as always, content is king- brands should focus on having great onsite content.


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