Not so long ago, Google unofficially changed the length of Meta description for the search engine results page. The length of the description was increased from the 155-170 characters to 300-320 characters in December 2017 in a presumed effort to give users more information on the search result.
It was ‘unofficial’ because there was no concrete official confirmation, except for the below tweet from Danny Sullivan from Google in December 2017:
The vagueness of ‘slightly longer’ shows out even in the Search Engine Results Page too, some believe the then-new length was in 260-275 range and some, 300-320. But the truth is that there is no exact range as Google is not too gung-ho on the length, all they care about is the user experience.
But that is not the case with us SEOs who take every opportunity to get better results in rankings. More character length implies more screen-real estate i.e. better opportunity to write longer descriptions that are useful and catch the attention to improve the CTR (Click-Through Rate).
But does it really work? Sometimes it may and sometimes it may not. Though Meta Descriptions are not part of the search algorithm, it surely makes an impact for the user.
Though the change was welcomed by most people, some of them were skeptical. I personally know folks who had to edit a large volume of descriptions, of course, it’s hard to ignore when tools like Screaming Frog, SEOquake & Yoast made the length a new norm.
But if you are the one who hasn’t changed them in haste, you’ve made the right decision.
Because, in a coarse shock, Google has decided to change the length, again!
Here’s the news from our Danny Sullivan:
Now when most of the SEOs have just completed writing the descriptions to the new length, now Google comes up with the other ‘New’!!
Why you do this, Google?
Short answer: Because they simply can. Google’s algorithm doesn’t necessarily count-in the meta description. Sometimes it even ignores your own description and picks it up from your content to display the user, all Google care is the making the presentation of the search result as useful as possible.
But the real question happens to be:
Why doesn’t Google give in the specific character count for Meta Descriptions?
That is because Google wants us to improve the quality of web page content rather than being obsessed with the length of the description.
Do you know that Google never gave in the character count, it was always the SEO publication who made the count as the norm. So we cannot expect Google to stick to something which they haven’t even said, can we?
Google, by its own admission, doesn’t always follow the written descriptions, sometimes it picks its own description from your webpage content. Though the length was said to be shortened now, one could always find a search result with more than 300+ character count. All these actions directly point towards to the fact the Google wants us to make the content as relevant and as polished as possible.
So, how do you solve the problem of Meta Description length?
Simple, you follow three simple rules as given by Danny Sullivan himself:
1.Make sure the content of the webpage is as relevant and informative as possible.
2. Don’t fret over the character count whether you are a beginner or a pro.
3. Focus on writing short and concise meta descriptions that accurately describe your web pages.
That folk, is what matters the most.
Simple isn’t it?