//Google now shortens search result snippets after initially expanding them in December 2017

Google now shortens search result snippets after initially expanding them in December 2017

In December of 2017, we were given a heads up that Google had initially changed the way it displayed snippets that showed up in search results.

Yep, we were excited:

For those who might be raising their eyebrows on what a snippet is, let me just quickly refresh your memory.

Definition of a Snippet

A snippet is the description that Google shows of your given page, normally placed under the URL in an organic search result.

It’s pretty helpful when it comes to tying your website to a related search query. So that people actually find your website much faster!

Now, at the time, Google had opted to increase the snippet length from 160 to 320 characters.

And frankly speaking, we were all buzzing!

Finally, you could now put more substance in your snippets for a higher ranking, right?


Turns out that after only five months of the new update, Google has now rolled back on the said update, and decided to decrease the length of the snippets.

In fact, Google even informed the public last December to not change the length of their Meta descriptions, as this would not automatically result in longer snippets.

Confused? No worries. Here’s how it works:

Despite initially increasing the length of snippets, Google insisted that the fundamentals of creating a description tag had not been altered or changed whatsoever.

So whether your snippet lengthened or not, this all came down to how searchers queried the contents of your page.

So there was no need for publishers to scramble around and suddenly start expanding their Meta description tags because they felt that the ones they currently had were not good enough.

Rollback of the Update

Sorry to say folks, but looks like it was a waste of time.

In fact, if you take a look at the current length of your snippets, I’m pretty sure that it’s become much shorter in recent weeks.

Moreover, Danny Sullivan of Google wrote, “There is no fixed length for snippets. Length varies based on what our systems deem to be more useful.”

He further added, “Google will not state a new maximum length for the snippets because the snippets are generated dynamically.”

However, monitoring the recent turn of events in the last couple of weeks, it appears the new average length of the snippet for desktop queries has been skimmed down to around 160 characters, a big difference from the update’s initial 320 characters.

While that of mobile queries has been skimmed down to roughly 130 characters.

The Big Question

So I know what you’re thinking:

Now that you already lengthened your Meta description to accommodate the new update, should you go back and shorten it again?

The answer is:

Not really. In fact, it’s probably wise not to focus too much on these nitty gritty particulars because you might mess up your ranking all together!

Besides, Google itself has on numerous occasions informed us that it uses a dynamic system to generate your snippet, and does not factor in your Meta description that much when generating it.

What really matters is content. Most specifically, the content that is currently present on your web pages.

So my two cents:

Focus more on quality content there than spending hours on your Meta description.

Thar being said, if you’d like to learn more about crafting the perfect Meta description, contact 4Spot Marketing today. You can email us at [email protected]rketing.com or call us at 702-721-9763. We offer a free consultation to determine what approach will serve your company best.

By |2018-05-30T14:29:15+00:00May 31st, 2018|General Information|0 Comments

About the Author:

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.