On May 12th Google shortened the length of meta description snippets that appear in the SERPs. Danny Sullivan of Google wrote, “Our search snippets are now shorter on average than in recent weeks.” He added that they are now “… slightly longer than before a change we made last December.”
Sullivan said, “There is no fixed length for snippets. Length varies based on what our systems deem to be most useful.” He went on to say that Google will not state a new maximum length for meta description snippets because the snippets are generated dynamically.
RankRanger has a tracker tool that pulls the average length of meta descriptions in the SERPs and it puts the new average length at about 160 characters (down from 320 characters). The new average meta description length on mobile devices is about 130 characters.
Google’s advice is to not focus too much on these, as many of the snippets Google chooses are dynamic anyway and not pulled from your meta descriptions. In fact, a recent study conducted by Yoast showed most of the snippets Google shows are not from the meta description, but rather they are from the content on your web pages.
We’ve updated our Google SERP Preview Tool to reflect the new average meta description length. Be sure to take advantage of our tool to ensure your meta description snippets don’t get cut off in the SERPs.
Learn more here.