22 January 2018

Google Increases Size of Search Description Snippets

  • Google on a tablet
Robyn Hardman, SEO and digital marketing specialist, Alias, Cheltenham

Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed that when you search for something on Google, the search engine results are a little bigger than before.

Google recently confirmed that they have indeed upped the size of the average search result snippet, stating that they want to “provide more descriptive and useful snippets, to help people better understand how pages are relevant to their searches.”

As a result, the average description has leapt up from around 160 characters to 230 characters – a fairly sizeable increase indeed. It seems like a great opportunity to explain more about your business, doesn’t it? However, we don’t think that you should be tweaking those meta descriptions just yet.

Although meta descriptions are still a useful way of controlling what you want to say about your business in search, Google will often pull its own preferred snippets directly from your page, depending on the keyword that has triggered your site’s appearance. We’re firm believers of less is more, and more characters means more opportunity to ramble past the point or stuff the description full of keywords unnecessarily. Seeing as you can’t completely predict how Google will choose to represent your site – whether it will use your meta description in its entirety or text from the page itself – it’s better to keep your meta descriptions as clear and precise as possible.

This does, however, present a great opportunity to review the content that’s on each page of your website, ensure that it is still relevant and make sure it’s structured as efficiently as possible. The easier a page is for a potential user to read and navigate, the easier it is for a search engine to do the same.

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