Google Confirms Shortened Search Results Snippets

After expanding search results snippets last December, Google confirms it has shortened them. This means, work schedules utilized to increase meta descriptions for the longer Google search results snippets was wasted time – sniffle.

Snippets help show how an organic search result relates to a search query. A Google spokesperson was quoted as saying, “We recently made a change to provide more descriptive and useful snippets, to help people better understand how pages are relevant to their searches. This resulted in snippets becoming slightly longer, on average.” About 5 months after increasing the search results snippets, Google has decreased the length of them.

Danny Sullivan of Google said, “There is no fixed length for snippets. Length varies based on what our systems deem to be most useful.” Google has stated that writing meta descriptions will not change because of the search snippets so no need to expand their meta description tags. He added that Google will not state a new maximum length for the snippets because the snippets are generated dynamically.

Five months ago, active industry internet users noticed that snippets were longer than what had been displayed. RankRanger has been tracking these as well and according to its metric tools, snippet length has increased from 160 characters to about 230 characters on average.

RankRanger utilizes a 500K Dataset and the Google SERP Features Search Intelligence tool delivers trends and insights about Google features that improve the user experience in search engine results. It is a free research tool that can be used to target and evaluate the presence and trending of Knowledge Graphs, Ads, Images, Local Pack, News Pack, Related Search and Organic Results counts, plus special page indicators.

A tracker tool from RankRanger has the new length on average of the snippet field description on the desktop at about 160 characters and that’s down from about 300+ characters. Mobile characters for each snippet search result is now down to about 130 characters.

Now, the search snippets are shorter than in recent weeks on average while somewhat longer than before a change made last December. Still, there is no fixed length for snippets. The length varies based on what the systems consider to be most useful.

If you were taking a proactive approach to work – as we all should but don’t on the regular – and you already lengthened your meta descriptions you might be wondering if you should circle back to shorten them now. The advice Google is handing out is to not focus so much on these already altered descriptions as many of the snippets Google selects are already dynamic and not pulled from your meta descriptions. In fact, most of the snippets Google displays are not from the meta description but rather they are cut from the content on your web pages.

Google has once again made circus music the theme song running through the minds of industry leaders. Jumping through this hoop should be fairly easy… at least until they change it again… in a few months…perhaps.

Fair Marketing