Well, it turns out that your meta descriptions now need to be shorter. I know, I know – just a few short months ago, you were informed that the meta descriptions could be longer and now, here we are letting you know that they need to be shortened. Why all of the confusion? Google has changed its mind, once again. And in the virtual world, when Google changes its mind about anything, we have no choice but to adjust accordingly. Allow me to explain what Google has changed in regards to meta descriptions and what the repercussions might be.
What has Google Changed?
Even though the year started with Google displaying snippets including long meta descriptions (320 characters), we are now back to the old length of between 150 and 170 characters. For instance, a few weeks back, we released the results of our research which included experimenting with short and long meta descriptions on Yoast.com. It was found that all of the long meta descriptions added to articles on Yoast.com, which were visible earlier, have now been replaced with shorter ones.
Google’s Danny Sullivan goes on to explain via Twitter, “Our search snippets are now shorter on average than in recent weeks, though slightly longer than before a change we made last December. There is no fixed length for snippets. Length varies based on what our systems deem to be most useful.”
Even though Sullivan does not specify exactly what the length of the new meta descriptions will be, he does inform us that the length will be shorter, but variable. Research conducted by Moz shows that the majority of meta descriptions are approximately the same length as they were prior to Google making the decision to increase the amount of available characters.
Here’s What We Found when We Searched “Final Expense Insurance for Seniors”
Out of the 10 organic SERPs returned on the first page, five of them had truncated metadata. Certainly, this isn’t the end of the world for bloggers but it’s not a good thing either. We suggest that you take a look at what Yoast, Moz, and SearchEngineLand are saying. Here are some articles we suggest you review:
What Does This Mean for You?
It means that if your meta descriptions are longer than 155 characters, it is highly advisable that you shorten them, at least on your most important content or articles. While in most cases, Google won’t display your long meta descriptions, you don’t really want them to cut off your meta descriptions in the middle of a sentence either.
My advice to you is to rewrite your meta descriptions so that they fit with Google’s new rule. When writing or rewriting your meta descriptions, start with the most relevant information first. This will ensure that should the rules change again, your most important information will not be cut off.