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Google Increases Meta Description Length

Meta description comprises the key information placed on a web page. It is aimed to help users understand if such content would be interesting and useful for them. Nevertheless, most content managers use meta descriptions (or snippets) not only to let users know if their websites contain information they searched for, but also to entice them to click on their page link and get higher rank in search results list.

Previously Google snippet limit made 160 symbols. Recently it was announced to have increased to 230 characters:

“We recently made a change to provide more descriptive and useful snippets, to help people better understand how pages are relevant to their searches. This resulted in snippets becoming slightly longer, on average.”

What are the grounds of such alteration?

Google explains the change by the increased effectiveness of more informative snippets. Small meta description contained only those words or phrases, that are often typed in the search field. It was used more likely to make a person visit a website, but not to describe the core of this or that article, especially, if the content was commercial and could persuade the reader make a purchase.

The increased meta description length has probably its own pros and cons. On the one hand, it gives a better insight to an article and seems to be more helpful for a user. Besides, it provides more space for a content writer to use more catchy phrases and call to actions. But on the other hand, a person would not necessarily like to spend time reading through dozens of long snippets. In fact, he or she is more likely to look for the shortest ones containing the phrase they are searching for. Though this seems to be wrong and even more time-consuming, but so is our nature - we can’t stand wasting time doing things we consider unnecessary.

Do I need to change my previous page snippets and use longer ones from now forth?

It depends on your content type, your goals and own suggestions concerning the issue. Delivering too much key information in meta description you can relieve a user from the necessity to visit your page with no benefit for you. However, short snippets with no clear explanation of the content will probably be bypassed. So the best decision is presumably to try to find the golden middle making your meta descriptions both informative and catchy.

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