Google's Danny Sullivan Defends Reducing Length Of Search Snippets

May 15, 2018 - 8:01 am 24 by

Google Defender

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Yesterday we reported that Google cut down the search snippets length by about half just a few months (December) increasing it to 320 characters. Google's Danny Sullivan confirmed this change on Twitter for us saying:

Our search snippets are now shorter on average than in recent weeks, though slightly longer than before a change we made last December. There is no fixed length for snippets. Length varies based on what our systems deem to be most useful.

This started a fire storm of angry tweets from the SEO community around the change. You can imagine, in December SEOs began changing their meta descriptions to double their length in an effort to improve their click through rate from the Google search results. So now, they need to go through them all again. Of course, this might mean more billable work for SEOs but for in-house SEOs, it can be a headache.

Google' responded to that, that Google never told SEOs to make changes to their meta descriptions, in fact, they told them to not worry about it.

Google told us nothing fundamentally changed with their suggestions around writing meta descriptions.

Google won't share a new maximum length for the snippets, because (1) they are dynamic and (2) they don't want SEOs and webmasters to focus on these numbers:

Then Danny has to go off and explain that even though he works at Google, he offered the same advice when he did not work at Google:

Some feel having a number, max and min, snippet length is helpful, and Google currently does not:

But if Google did give specific advice, then what?

Google will hear and listen to your feedback and discuss it with the team:

It is just amazing how many responses Danny posted yesterday on Twitter about the snippet change. He has been patient and very responsive and answered the same questions over and over again. I'd lose patience really quick.

Anyway, I rarely write any meta descriptions, I do agree, your content on your page should form them and you should focus on the content users see. If you have time, sure, write meta descriptions, but I rather write more and new content than write meta descriptions.

Forum discussion at Twitter.


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