Yes, shorter Meta descriptions are back! In December 2017, Google increased the Meta description length to 300-320 characters. As marketers, we could only imagine what (if any) impact this change would have on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I wrote about the change in February 2018. Well, it was fun while it lasted. As of mid-May several companies including Moz and Yoast noticed that Google had reverted to the traditional 155-160 Meta description length.
Google confirmed this in a tweet on May 14th, 2018:
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.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) May 14, 2018
Shorter Meta Descriptions Are Back
As marketers, this is problematic if we changed our client’s Meta descriptions to 300 characters. I’ve included some examples of Meta descriptions with 300+ characters as well as the traditional 155-160 characters:
As a reminder, Meta descriptions do not play a role in search ranking. However, they do play a role in what searchers see in the Google search results. This may have an impact on your click-through-rate (CTR).
So what should you do with this change? Continue to write descriptive titles and create good content. Write unique descriptions that highlight benefits for each page along with a call-to-action.
Construction Optimize Best Practices
1. Differentiate the descriptions for different pages
2. Write compelling content (keywords) to increase page visits. Avoid keyword stuffing.
3. Create call to actions/Benefits and urgency
Although Google is getting better at auto-generating snippets, Construction Optimize makes it a best practice to write our descriptions for our clients. Writing Meta descriptions requires a bit of technical prowess mixed with user experience. We can start by returning to the basics.