Meta Description Update: Switching Back to Shorter Snippets

June 19, 2018

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If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you might remember a post we made at the beginning of the year about Google officially increasing the length of its meta descriptions.

At the time, digital marketing experts from every niche were speculating about the profound effect it could have on SEO results. Now, Google has slashed the character back down to what it originally was, leaving many digital marketers curious about what’s next.

In this blog post, we’re sharing what the SEO and marketing community knows about the switch back to shorter snippets, and how you can stay ahead of these seemingly constant changes implemented by Google.

How Search Results

Appear Differently (Again)

Today, we’re here to report that in the last three or four months, meta description length has shortened again. As experts from Yoast have pointed out, the longer, 320 character-long snippets have largely shrunk back to the previous norm of 150-170 characters. Not only can you notice the switch-back as you’re Googling, but also Google employee Danny Sullivan confirmed the change wasn’t all in people’s heads.
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How This Could Impact Your Website

As we mentioned in January, the change to longer meta descriptions risked decreasing click-through-rates (CTRs). With more descriptive snippets, users didn’t always need to click on the results to get the information they were looking for. Now, there’s a change CTRs could increase again. Shorter snippets could have a positive impact on your web traffic. If you are writing high-quality meta descriptions, it can make a difference for your website.

If you just changed all of your meta descriptions to be longer, it might seem daunting to go back and restore them all to their previous lengths. Thankfully, it’s quicker and easier to shorten the snippets than it is to lengthen them. Also, if you have a WordPress website, the plugin Yoast is on top of making sure their SEO tools are up to speed with the changing trends.

What To Do

The most important thing to think about as you review the state of your meta descriptions is that the first line is as concise as possible. In some cases,Google search results are still showing longer snippets.

Maybe you do want to re-write all of your snippets to be shorter, so that all of your long meta descriptions aren’t awkwardly cut off mid-sentence. The key is to make them sound natural (and not artificially stuffed with keywords).

To Sum It Up

Although Google has not spelled out in black and white why it’s shortening snippets again, Google ultimately has user experience as its priority. It’s important to be proactive as Google flips back and forth between meta description lengths and other SEO factors.

After all, every SEO factor counts, even if it may seem inconsequential. Most importantly, although they do not impact your site’s organic search rankings directly, meta descriptions can help your website stand out (and ultimately, your business succeed).

Chainlink Can Help

As SEO experts, our team here at Chainlink is all about helping your business become an industry leader by increasing your organic website traffic and online presence.

We are a technology-first, action-oriented agency who can provide valuable insights into your customer behavior using our proprietary platform, the Chainlink Marketing Platform.

Reach out to us below to learn more about how we can help your business grow online. We’d love to chat and give you a free consultation.

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