Google Adds Length to META Descriptions


Post by Hayley Wolfcale, Content Director

Google has started displaying longer META descriptions again, showing snippets between 200 and 300 characters instead of truncating after about 160. While this offers an opportunity to craft more descriptive and useful META descriptions – and allows Performics to change its best practices – there are some caveats to this change.

Best Practices

Old: Maximum of ~155 characters

New: Between 200-300 characters, depending on client needs and constraints

Although Google is displaying longer snippets, most of these are not the pages’ coded META descriptions (Moz.com). Google has and will continue to generate what it feels is the most relevant snippet for a query by pulling in pieces of the page’s content.

So why change?

META descriptions are not about rankings but rather clicks; they provide context and information to the user. Our other best practices have been (and will continue to be):

  • Starting META descriptions with a call to action: Shop, Find, Explore, Learn, etc.
  • Using the primary keyword early: studies show that users are more likely to click through if some or all of their search term is represented in the snippet
  • Including the brand name once: not all users notice URLs on the SERP so providing the brand name offers further context and transparency

Historically, keeping some META descriptions at or below 155 characters has been difficult due to long brand names and sometimes long keywords. 200-300 characters will help us continue to include these vital pieces without sacrificing other details and valuable information that a searcher might desire.

To learn more about Facebook’s elimination of ‘Dark Posts’, contact Performics today.


Hayley Wolfcale
Hayley Wolfcale
Hayley Wolfcale has an MA in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. She knits and dances around a fickle pair of cats in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago.

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